SPIN: Senior Planners Industry Network named Rod Abraham, a veteran industry leader and consultant, as its new executive director. Abraham replaces Mike Vennerstrom, CMP, who served as interim executive director since January, replacing Sara Vanderbilt, who previously held the position.
SPIN, founded by Shawna Suckow in 2008, has grown to 3,000+ senior planner members who have at least 10 years’ experience. According to Suckow, “SPIN is ready to move to the next level of growth and value to both our planner members and supplier partners. I know Rod has the industry experience, reputation, relationships and business savvy to help us do that.”
“I am excited, energized and anxious to get started,” Abraham said. “I look forward to working with Shawna, her team and the many volunteer leaders whose commitment has achieved an impressive foundation for future growth [for SPIN, its planner members and the suppliers who work with us].”
As a charter member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Abraham served as a two-time Chair of the MPI Foundation board of trustees and as a member of the MPI international board of directors. He also received industry honors, including MPI's first-ever Appreciation Award, and was named MPI’s International Planner of the Year and a trustee of the Society of Incentive Travel Executives Foundation.
A former association executive, Abraham left his senior vice president position to pioneer outsourced meeting management services. He is also the founder and former chief executive of PMPN, the Professional Meeting Planners Network (now PlannerNet). Named one of the meeting industry's “25 Most Influential [People],” Abraham has been an advisor to industry groups and has served in numerous leadership positions locally, nationally and internationally. He continues his longtime passion of helping entrepreneurs succeed.
On a local level, Abraham's service has included president of the MPI Greater Philadelphia Chapter and president of the Delaware Valley Society of Association Executives. He also chaired the Durham Convention Center Authority. He was named “Planner of the Year” by his Philadelphia-based MPI peers.
A sought-after thought leader, Abraham has helped lead several industry standards-setting initiatives and has served on advisory boards of Disney, Omni, Sonesta and Westin, the International Association of Conference Centers and Certain Software. He has also worked as a guest lecturer at Drexel University, University Nevada-Las Vegas, Virginia Tech, East Carolina University and UNC-Charlotte.