Keynote Speakers 2020-04-10T11:32:53-04:00

NEC Keynote Speakers

Be Inspired and Learn from Industry Experts

Our keynote addresses will inspire and share trends that government meeting professionals need to know.

Opening Keynote: Doug Lansky – Creating the World’s Best Destination

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
8:00 am – 10:00 am

Travel, like almost all industries, is in a constant state of transition. That means no matter how much success your destination has achieved, the strategy that worked yesterday to get you there is unlikely to carry you to the place you’d like to be. The most successful destinations are constantly looking to adapt to the impending changes and even stay two or three steps ahead.

Doug Lansky will teach meeting professionals, hotels, tour companies, attractions, and destinations how to think about tourism (and the way we market it) in an entirely new way so stakeholders can spot unseen issues and uncover the solutions.

With this opening keynote, you will learn:

  • A new understanding of what “successful tourism” means;
  • How to determine new KPIs to measure success, and what the roadblocks are to getting there;
  • New ideas in product development and customer services that will help you stand out among the rest

Doug Lansky is a tourism development thought leader who advises destinations and tourism companies around the world — from Singapore to Aruba, Google Travel to Amadeus – on strategic branding, marketing issues, visitor experience, industry trends and sustainability. Doug has a background as a travel journalist, author and editor with 20 years of experience writing for publications that range from National Geographic Traveler to The Guardian to Lonely Planet to Skift and traveling to more than 100 countries.



Closing Keynote: Michele Rigby Assad – Breaking Cover: My Secret Life in the CIA

Thursday, May 21, 2020
3:15 – 4:15 pm

Telling (true) stories from her CIA career, Michele Rigby Assad reveals how the application of our authentic selves in operations is what makes the difference between mediocrity and wild success. What makes you different, what makes you stand out, is what enables you to succeed!

Michele joined the CIA in January 2002 and along with her husband Joseph, spent 10 years working as an undercover, intelligence officer. Specializing in counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence, Michele worked in Iraq and other secret locations in the Middle East. To date, Michele has lived in 6 countries in the Near East and traveled to 50 others.

Michele is an author, public speaker, and security consultant. Her first book was released in 2018 and is called Breaking Cover.

Michele holds a master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a political science degree from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She and her husband, Joseph, live in Central Florida.