Movers & Shakers - Profile
When Lex Gillette was eight years old, he lost his eyesight. As he adjusted to his new normal as someone who was completely blind, he found strength through family, friends—and track and field. Now, he is a decorated Paralympic athlete. Gillette is also excelling in another arena: keynote speaking.
Extraordinary Events President Andrea Michaels has taken a leading role in shaping the special events industry as we know it, but in a segment defined by the stories it imparts to attendees, she has a few of her own to share.
Meet Jess Tyler, vice president of events for Marijuana Business Daily (MJBizDaily). She was hired to lead the company’s live-event effort, which includes three anchor programs: MJBizConNEXT, MJBizConINTL and MJBizCon. Meetings Today spoke with Tyler for more details on what goes into planning a large-scale marijuana industry event, including any special considerations.
While Cvent is the leading industry data and RFP platform for planners and suppliers, it is also a major producer of meetings. According to Rachel Andrews, director of meetings and events at Cvent, planning for the event tech giant is a source of constant change, whether stitching together its annual Cvent CONNECT conference, integrating staffs and resources after one of its many acquisitions or any number of other internal or client events.
While women have an outsized representation in the hospitality industry—especially in the role of meeting planners—the number of females in upper management and c-suite roles continues to lag behind those of men. Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, is a hotel, CVB and meetings industry veteran who took a hammer to the glass ceiling years ago.
With a background in financial analytics, one could argue that Mulberry Development Principal & CEO Michael Buono was as equipped as anyone to weather the economic collapse of 2008 that tore through the construction and real estate industry like a Category 5 hurricane.
One thing is undeniable: The close-shave timing of his entry into the hospitality development business couldn’t have been worse. “The word on the street was we were the last project that was funded [as a lender] in Manhattan by HSBC before the financial meltdown took place,” Buono said of his Ace Hotel New York project. “What I saw was fear and lots of instability because the market just imploded.”
The expert of record for all things meetings tech for more than 20 years, Corbin Ball—owner of Corbin Ball & Co.—has ingrained himself in the meetings industry on a global level. An inveterate traveler—he spends about a third of his time on the road every year—Ball recently received the highest honor in the industry after being inducted into the Events Industry Council’s (EIC) Hall of Leaders.
At the helm of a lifestyle boutique hotel brand that is poised for a sizeable growth spurt in by 2020, Dream Hotel Group CEO Jay Stein literally worked his way up from the kitchen, craving to cook up inspiration to start some type of career.
Being the female leader of a travel company featuring an all-woman team of six travel counselors, London-based Crossing Travel CEO Sangeeta Sadarangani is quite aware of the challenges women face when traveling for business.
John H. Richardson, general manager of 320 Guest Ranch near Big Sky, Montana, lives and breathes the hotel life, with a father that worked for Sage Hospitality, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton. “When I tell people I’ve moved around a lot they ask if my dad was in the military and I say, ‘No, he was in the hotel business,” he quipped.