Educational Sessions 2022-11-14T21:13:45-04:00

Educational Sessions

Core Competency-Centered Sessions Help You Get the Right Knowledge

Educational sessions are organized around the nine core competencies of the CGMP, including education/programming, facilities and services, logistics, financial and contract management, technology, leadership, ethics, protocol and travel.

You can earn at contact hours toward your Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) designation and Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification by attending educational sessions. Additional hours can be earned by registering for pre-conference sessions. Contact us with questions.

2023 Educational Sessions are being set now! Here’s a sample of sessions held in 2022.

Technology, Data Privacy, and Cyber Security

Data security used to require armed guards, closed-circuit cameras, and locked file cabinets or safes. Safeguarding and protecting private data has become one of the most talked about and complex topics on most news circuits, in Congress, and during happy hour. In addition to being a government problem, each year there are thousands of conferences that host from 5k to 40k people within a 3 to 5 days period. Learn about laws and regulations that a conference planner should know about, questions they should be asking before hiring an IT vendor and how to protect participants from unauthorized or malicious attacks

Royce Allen, Speaker, Royce Consulting Services


Event Changes Since COVID
Today’s event industry inspires transformation at every level. Explore new strategies for creating purpose-driven design, innovation and creativity. Recent challenges have pushed us to be resilient plus create new business models. Join me for an entertaining and visionary look at how we design, build and define the new trends for travel and events.

Debra Burton Brown, Owner, Companybydesign


Moving to Mastery: The Guide to Hosting Government VIPs, Customers and Clients

Senior executives at all levels host guests and conduct business over meals. This is true for government hosts as well as industry hosts and many times, these events are held at local venues and restaurants. Hosts must be deft at determining what the goal of the meeting is and selecting the right venue. Knowing when to discuss business to better develop long-lasting relationships is a key dynamic that can take years to learn. Learn the nuances to be a better host for every meeting you host.

Misty Cook, Concierge on Call


Win with FedRooms

Join us for a fun and interactive opportunity to learn more about FedRooms! Content will include a per diem overview, FedRooms program information, benefits to the traveler including amenities and rate guarantees, information about when and how to book FedRooms rates and the risks of booking with a third party.

Kindall Farwell, FedRooms


Brand Like a Rock Star

Keynote Speaker Steve Jones will close the conference with an energizing presentation, “Brand Like a Rock Star.” He will be sharing lessons organizations of any size can learn from the legends of rock n’ roll. Music industry veteran Steve Jones takes you backstage to show you how the core strategies of AC/DC, Bob Marley, U2, Fleetwood Mac, and Run DMC can help you create a stronger, leaner and more successful business or organization.

Steve Jones, Stingray Radio


The Pivot: Cultivating An Agile Workforce in Times of Change

This session is intended to help you, and your organization, think more critically about the future workforce, mentally and emotionally manage change and provide you a blueprint for how to leverage your people power. It’s time to rethink how, where, and why we all work. It’s time to think differently about the potential of your people, and what they need to be more productive, and create more value. Eric Hoffer sums it up best, “In times of change, the learners will inherit the earth, while the learned will live in a world that no longer exists.” This presentation is essential for leaders of organizations to understand the role of EQ, how to lead a multi-generational workforce and gain strategies on leading during change.

Dr. Kelvin McCree, Laser Focus Leadership Solutions LLC


Profiling Your Events For Safety & Security

While terrorism can always be a potential threat to gatherings, the encounters, confrontations, or crime experienced offsite can be just as detrimental to the overall event. In this session, you’ll find out what meeting and event planners can do to better profile their events to enhance attendee safety, onsite and offsite. Learn what can be done to mitigate potential confrontations with other individuals or crowds they may encounter while attending. Finally, you’ll find out how safety procedures can best be documented for due diligence purposes.

Jeff McKissack, Defense by Design


What’s New in SAM.gov

An understanding of government procurement systems is essential to planning and producing a successful government meeting.  Business entities wishing to be awarded group or contract business from a government agency must have an active registration in the System for Award Management (SAM).  This presentation will discuss the System for Award Management (SAM) and recent system updates as well as its impact on venue and vendor selections and steps planners and suppliers can take to make the sourcing process easier and more efficient for everyone.

Chris McLaughlin, CGMP, Sonesta International Hotels Corporation


The Best of Both Worlds: How to Create a Hybrid Event that Looks and Sounds Great

This session shares some of best ways work with the audio / visual company and staff to make sure your goals are met, things run smoothly, and the event is a success—all with less stress. We’ll look at all the things that can go wrong and how to prepare for them. We’ll explore clever and creative ways to do more for less. Obviously, “Men in Black” doesn’t mean AV staff is made up of all males which is why we’ll look at the best ways to communicate with all types of “people in black.”

Lee Silber, LeeSilber.com


Unpacking Child Sex Trafficking: Red Flags, Indicators, and Action-oriented Reporting Practices

The hospitality industry has a unique opportunity to detect, report and prevent child sex trafficking. This session aims to maximize that opportunity by unpacking this complex and multifaceted topic through exploring myths and misconceptions while increasing knowledge of red flags, indicators and the trauma associated with this crime. Case examples from reports made to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and video interviews of experts informing efforts through their lived experience will help to build a comprehensive foundation on the issue of child sex trafficking. With this increased understanding attendees are better equipped and empowered to detect, make a report and potentially provide the information that will result in the recovery of a child.

Staca Shehan, VP/Analytical Services Division, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children


It’s Game Time! Chapter Leadership Lessons from a Former Pro Female Football Player

Words have profound power; they can lift someone up or tear someone down. Jan Spence shares how pursuing her life-long dream of playing professional football led to the unexpected opportunity to affect change through encouraging words and simple actions. Applying her “Cheer Leadership®” approach as a Chapter Leader builds stronger connections, increases volunteer engagement and loyalty, and fosters collaboration and innovation. She will share insights on what works and what doesn’t for effective chapter growth. The invaluable lessons shared in this high-energy, interactive session transform volunteer relations and create more synergy among leadership and the people they recruit and retain.

Jan Spence, CSP, Jan Spence & Associates


Twenty Twenty Too?! Navigating the Return to Meetings in 2022 – An Update on Contracting with Government Groups

In this session, you will learn where the state of government meeting exists in 2022 and where meetings in general exist. The session will provide pointers on best practices with negotiating terms for government contracts, how to avoid potential pitfalls, what you should include in your RFPs and what the future year will look like.

Brett Sterenson, Owner, Hotel Lobbyists


Eating at a Meeting: From RFP to Service

Selecting the appropriate location for your government meeting is a multifaceted decision, including what food and beverage will be served. Using the SGMP Core Competencies as the basis, we will look at where, why and how food and beverage should be discussed, planned and implemented from the RFP to the actual service. We will address questions about food and beverage such as: Do we owe a legal duty of care? What information should be on our RFP? What questions should we ask on the site inspection? Do we have to accommodate dietary needs into the menus and how best to do it? What information should be on the BEO? How can we reduce food waste? This session will address F&B and allergens from beginning to end.

Tracy Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CHC, Founder of thrive! meetings & events, and the Eating at a Meeting podcast


The Path to Creating Sustainable Events Starts Here

When it comes to designing events, the choices meeting planners and their partners make are vital to the well-being of people, profit and the planet – the triple bottom line. Sustainable design requires much more than calculating your carbon footprint. It lies in making smart and responsible decisions throughout the planning process to maximize budgets, minimize waste and enhance experiences. Join author, podcaster, speaker and trainer Tracy Stuckrath for an eye-opening look at the ways your events can make a difference. Explore efforts to implement environmentally friendly initiatives, discover go-green activities to incorporate on-site, and prioritize food sustainability by learning strategies to prevent food waste. You’ll leave with an understanding of the impact and importance of sustainability on attendee satisfaction and event success.

Tracy Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CHC, Founder of thrive! meetings & events, and the Eating at a Meeting podcast


Change Is Not a 4-Letter Word

Did you ever think you’d be nostalgic for 2019? It’s no wonder we all long for a return to normalcy (whatever that means!) after these past two years of upheaval. There’s never been such a condensed period of change in our lifetime, and it’s been heaped upon us nonstop. When we can’t get off the crazy rollercoaster, humans enter the well-known fightor-flight-or-freeze mode. Well, Covid has been a rollercoaster more challenging than most of us have ever experienced, and the outcome is uncertain. What many don’t realize is that humans don’t deal well with constant uncertainty. That means we’re all under more stress than we realize. The good news is that change does not have to equal challenge! It can be truly great if we can get into the right headspace, and harness our circumstances.

Shawna Suckow, CSP, CVP, CMP


Your Best Year Starts Today

Let’s face it, the world is full of social and political upheaval, the effects of the pandemic, and other issues that are anything but inspiring these days. We’ve all been through a lot, and we’re exhausted. How about we take a break from that for a hot minute? Let’s open this conference with some good news, some great conversations, and some commitments to our future success. Sound good? Join Shawna Suckow as she kicks off the conference and discusses the theme and goals of the hosts. She’ll then lead us in small-group discussions where you’re guaranteed to get new inspiration, share some of your own brilliance, discuss current challenges, have a few laughs, and walk away with new connections. You’ll also create action steps and accountability to put your best conference takeaways to work in the upcoming year. She’ll then close the conference with a self-assessment to ensure that every day throughout the next year is the best it can be under your own circumstances. Put your conference investment to work – don’t miss this!

Shawna Suckow, CSP, CVP, CMP


The Butterfly Effect: Leading With Resiliency

Resiliency is not a nice skill to have; it is a must-have for leaders. In a world of changing businesses, bosses, rules, and pandemics, the basic principles of resilience are critical for operating in a whirlwind of change. When you eventually emerge from your cocoon, what changes will you face? What changes will you develop or support? Will you have the courage to tap into your well of resiliency? Will your eyes be wide open to a fresh perspective? Will you be willing and able to help others to endure the rigors of the butterfly effect? You will walk away with a plan of action from this session.

Michele Wierzgac, MSEd, CMM, MicheleandCo.com


Ripped from the Headlines: Ethics Lessons to Make Sure You Don’t Land on the Front Page

Learn what you need to know about ethics to avoid conflicts of interest that could land you in hot water or create misunderstandings. This session will help you recognize conflicts of interest before they become an issue. Replace gift-giving traps and troubles with gift-giving possibilities and potentials.

Chris Young, Senior Public Sector Consultant, Accenture


We Agreed to Do What?!: How to Transition a Major Event into a Lasting Legacy

With every major event, there comes a time when the euphoria of becoming the host recedes, replaced by the stark reality that we have to pull off something big with everyone watching. In plain English it ain’t all it is cracked up to be… and often the challenge lies not with the actual event but with everything – and everyone – surrounding it. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people descend upon us. Different cultures mix. Different needs arise. Different constituencies compete. Yet all the while, every visitor, every potential business partner, every possible investor, everyone who has a social media account and can talk about us… everyone makes and shares conclusions based on how we perform.

Chris Young, Senior Public Sector Consultant, Accenture


Diversity Equity and Inclusion Panel Discussion

Learn from panelists how to create more diversity, equity and inclusion in all of the meetings and events that you plan.

Nicole Roames, Senior Meeting Planner, Strategic Analysis, Inc. (MODERATOR)
Nicole Bergstrom, Senior Director of Accessibility, Hilton
Sharon Delvisco, Training Instructor, Team Dynamics LLC
Dr. Kelvin McCree, Owner, Laser Focus Leadership Solutions LLC


Panel Discussion: Getting Back to Business, Government Planner and Supplier Relationships

During this session, our panelists will discuss the current work environment and delve into the question, “Is the Pandemic Changing the Planner-Supplier Relationship?” Our discussion will identify the current challenges government meeting planners and suppliers face and how we work effectively and collaboratively to find solutions in these changing times. Please join us for an interactive planner and supplier discussion!

Wayne Callis, CGMP, Government & Military Sales Manager, VisitNorfolk (MODERATOR)
Christina Saragnese, CGMP, Senior Manager, Government & Military, Hilton Worldwide Sales
Wendy Whitaker, Sales Manager, Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive
Shannon Jenkins (Gallagher), MBA, MA, CGMP, National Association Sales Director, Visit Buffalo Niagara


Photos courtesy of Christie’s Photographic Solutions.