Speakers 2018-11-19T13:04:56+00:00

NEC Speakers

Check out our line-up of engaging and interactive speakers at this year’s NEC. Learn from speakers who are experts in their respective fields, including education/programming, facilities and services, logistics, financial and contract management, technology, leadership, ethics, protocol, and travel.  Learn more about keynote speakers, educational sessions, and why to attend.


John Ayo

John Ayo is a professional speaker, naturopath and author. He was a successful sales rep for IBM for 19 years, then moved into sales training internationally for IBM for 12 years. As a result, he wrote a book called Travel Balance, that helps people stay energized, healthy and balanced while traveling. He has taught more than 4,000 people in 26 countries about his secrets to better health on the road (and back at home) with fabulous reviews! View his website.


John Breil

Detroit native, John Breil, is a guy with a well-worn passport and the international business experience and insight to provide sought-after management coaching. John specializes in leadership and executive coaching across cultures and works with managers and supervisors in a variety of industries including: manufacturing, finance, healthcare, and non-profit. He has coined the phrase, “You have A-L-O-T (Always Listen Observe and Think) when going Global.” When he’s not golfing with wife and business partner, Lynne, he is following the University of Michigan football team. Go Blue! View his website.


Lynne Breil

Lynne Breil, CSP, is a “Manners Maven” and has been dubbed “the Joan Rivers of business etiquette.” Her audiences laugh as much as they learn! She is founder of The Professional Edge, Inc. and a professor of communications at York College of Pennsylvania. She’s is the author of two etiquette books: Share a Meal. Close a Deal. Business Dining from A-Z. (2015) and Best in Class: Etiquette and People Skills in Business (2018). A former Miss America Semi-Finalist, Lynne speaks about business communication, presentation skills, and leadership presence. She’s a trained concert pianist and an avid golfer. View her website.


Traci Brown

What do Lance Armstrong, Stormy Daniels and Vladimir Putin have in common? Traci Brown has revealed their secrets to the world. NBC, CBS and Fox have asked this body language expert to reveal secrets hidden in plain sight. And she can help you and your team reveal the secrets your clients are keeping from you that are impacting your bottom line. Traci is the author of How to Detect Lies, Fraud and Identity Theft. She’s is a graduate of the University of Colorado, a three-time US Collegiate Cycling Champion and former member of Team USA. View her website.


Sharon Delvisco

Sharon Delvisco has more than 30 years of experience planning meetings, conferences, facilitating retreats, providing training and education. She is currently employed as an Event Planning Associate and Training & Education Coordinator for Team Dynamics, LLC in Louisiana. She has received the Mentorship Award, the Humanitarian Award and the Education Award from the American Association of Intellectual Disabilities Louisiana Chapter. She also received the Professional Advocate Award from the Advocacy Center in Louisiana. She has one son, a great sense of humor and is pursuing her doctorate degree. View her website.


John Foster

John S. Foster, Esq., CHME, is an attorney, speaker, author, and legal counsel whose firm Foster, Jensen & Gulley specializes in the legal aspects of meetings and conventions, trade shows and events, and association management. He has been an associate or general counsel for more than 400 national and regional associations and companies since 1986 and has been named nine times as one of the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry by MeetingNews. John is the author of the soon to be published book, Hotel & Facility Contracts: A Field Guide for Meeting Professionals.


Steven Foster

Steven G. Foster, CMP, is Managing Partner of Foster+Fathom, a Leadership Training and TRIBE-Building Group in Dallas, Texas. An award-winning speaker and writer, he is an advocate for giving back to the communities where we live, work and meet. Steven collaborates with corporate, association and non-profit organizations to build high-performance teams and has been named one of the most influential people in the Meetings and Events Industry. He completed a 15,000-mile solo motorcycle ride around the perimeter of the United States in 2013 in support of the Boot Campaign, a national veterans organization where he serves as an Ambassador and Advisory Board Member. View his website.


Erin Gargan

Erin Gargan is an award-winning entrepreneur, Amazon best-selling author, and digital persuasion expert. She sold her first two companies, Jump Digital Media and PMS.com before the age of 30. In 2010, she founded Socialite Agency, a social media firm whose clients include The Oscars, ABC/Disney, VISA, Target, Siemens, Hitachi and others. She is the author of Digital Persuasion: Sell Smarter in the Modern Marketplace. Erin helps sales, marketing and event professionals attract attention and increase influence by becoming more effective digital communicators. View her website.


Ruth Gregg

Ruth L. Gregg, MPS, CMP, CIS, has more than 20 years of diverse meetings experience. She has worked with non-profits, governmental agencies, and corporate organizations on creating events for engineers, researchers, military staff, sales staffs, and VIPs. She has her Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security from the Pennsylvania State University World Campus and has created Emergency Preparedness Plans for both small and large scale meetings and events taking place throughout the United States and Europe. View her website.


Dr. Rebecca Heiss

Dr. Rebecca Heiss brings the best of business, biology and brain science together during her talks that make for an enlightening journey into how the mind works. A professional speaker, Rebecca helps groups identify and overcome behaviors that act as barriers to their optimal performance on both an individual and organization-wide basis. After earning a PhD with research designated as “transformative” by the National Science Foundation, Rebecca held multiple appointments in academia and helped to found a paradigm-shifting school. Described as a creative thought leader, she delivered a TEDx on a portion of her work and has built her career helping others break through their biological “blind spots.” View her website.


Dr. Tyrone Holmes

Dr. Tyrone Holmes is a professional speaker and coach who has spent over two decades teaching thousands of people to build powerful relationships in diverse settings. He teaches participants to reduce the “noise” in their lives, to effectively communicate their messages, and to connect with diverse audiences and groups. Dr. Holmes is a former faculty member at both Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University and is the creator of Building Powerful CONNECTIONS®. His most recent book, Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage: 70 Tips to Improve Communication, is a tool that can be used to build powerful connections in diverse organizations. View his website.


Lindsay Kirchinger

Information Coming Soon. View her website.


Edward Leigh

Edward Leigh, MA, is a national expert on workplace communication and presentation skills. He focuses on creating productive workplace environments through team building and powerful communication skills. He presents high-energy and informative programs for government organizations, corporations, associations, healthcare centers and universities. His expertise makes him an in-demand media guest with appearances on many national television shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Network, The Today Show, MSNBC News, The Learning Channel and the Discovery Channel. He has written hundreds of articles and is the author of the upcoming book, Engaging Your Employees. View his website.


Jen Mac

Jen Mac has been a speaker for more than 10 years, and it is her mission to improve lives, businesses and families one event at a time. Using her own personal experiences to teach important life lessons, she speaks on the pillars of self-improvement including health, wealth, relationships, and spirituality. She helps audience members recognize triggers that may be holding them back, how the law of attraction works, and why core beliefs once changed can empower individuals to succeed in their work and personal lives. Her business, The Enrichment Academy, offers speaking events, workshops, retreats and one-on-one coaching to inspire individuals to reach for more peace, freedom and love. View her website.


Susan Morrell

Event producer, Suzanne Morrell, MBA, International Conference Officer with the Major Events and Conferences Staff at the State Department, founder of STM|enterprises, and D.C. Event Food Waste Coalition, has been creating events for over three decades. Suzanne works with event teams on event concept, design, food and beverage management, venue and site selection, contract negotiation, and logistics. Suzanne brings together changemakers to reshape how we approach events to combat hunger and reduce food waste at events. She is a member of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic’s U.S. Food Waste Summit subcommittee on supporting food donation systems. View her website.


Laurie Nickson

Laurie A. Nickson, CMP, is a Specialist in the Office of Great Start, MI Department of Education, and Director of Professional Programs, MI Association for the Education of Young Children. She has served on the Michigan Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals Board since 2011 and is the current President. Laurie received the MiSGMP Planner of the Year Award in 2011 and was inducted into Michigan Meeting and Events Hall of Fame as the 2014 Best Meeting Professional. To date, she has developed four interactive court case presentations that address issues faced by meeting professionals. View her website.


Phil Rappoport

Phil Rappoport is Vice President for Sales & Marketing for AgendaPop, a mobile conference app which has been featured at meetings around the world since 2012. Phil is active in the meetings industry, serving as an adjunct faculty for SGMP’s NATCAP Chapter, on the board of directors for MPI Potomac and was the marketing co-chair of the PCMA Capital Chapter. His background spans broadcasting, the Internet, and user-friendly technology. He has held management roles at Tribune Radio, Fox Television, Sony Corporation, and AOL, when—in the 1990s—he became the Internet’s first online promotion executive and got dozens of celebrities to voice the famous “You’ve Got Mail” phrase. View his website.


Jeff Slutsky

With a background in both advertising and public relations, Jeff Slutsky had an opportunity to practice what he preached when he became part owner of a night club and later a health club. With the marketing dollars now coming out of his own pocket, he soon began to discover and develop result-oriented, low-cost tactics to build sales. Jeff is the founder of Street Fighter Marketing which specializes in teaching businesses how to market, promote, and increase sales on a shoe-string budget. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, on CNN and is the author of 10 books including Street Fighter Marketing Solutions. View his website.


Brett Sterenson

Brett Sterenson brings 20 years of supplier side experience both from the hotel side and the last 11 years as a small business owner. His firm, Hotel Lobbyists, a conference site selection firm based in Washington, D.C., has placed nearly 1,900 meetings with room revenue exceeding $28 million. Brett has been a member of SGMP for 17 years with five years on the National Capital Chapter Board, three years on the Gilmer Institute of Learning, and four years on the SGMP National Board of Directors. Previously, Brett worked in government sales for Millennium Hotels and Resorts and Kimpton Hotels. Brett speaks regularly at meetings industry chapter and national events. He is married with a five year old son and three year old daughter. View his website.


Tracy Stuckrath

Tracy Stuckrath has been a meeting professional for 26 years and is the Founder and Chief Connecting Officer of THRIVE! Meetings & Events. After being diagnosed with food allergies, she became an author, speaker, trainer and consultant who works with individuals and organizations worldwide to create safer and more inclusive food and beverage environments. She has presented to audiences on five continents and believes that food and beverage provide a powerful opportunity to engage audiences on multiple levels, including risk, well-being, culture and the bottom line. She is a Meetings Industry Change Maker, Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry, Meetings Industry Trendsetter, Meeting Pro to Watch and a Les Dames d’Escoffier. View her website.


Gerry van Rossum

Dr. Gerry Van Rossum is the founder of Smith-van Rossum and Associates, LLC, a business advisory services and management consulting firm with clients representing micro businesses, start-up companies, manufacturing companies, non-profit corporations, marketing firms and service industries. He is an assistant professor and the Human Resource Management Department Chair at Marygrove College in Detroit Michigan where he teaches courses in values, business ethics, managerial finance, entrepreneurship and business simulations. Dr. Van Rossum has also taught courses on social justice, comparative religions and the history of Christian thought. View his website.


Lynne Wellish

Lynne Wellish, CMP, CHSE, CHO, is an award winning speaker, consultant, and hospitality educator. Lynne’s true passion is coaching and mentoring people in the meetings industry, and she is known for her zany style and sense of humor. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in Hospitality Management and an adjunct faculty member at Scottsdale Community College in the Hospitality College, Lynne has more than 30 years in the hospitality industry in a variety of positions. She is the recipient of the AZMPI Chapter’s Mentor of the Year Award and Ed Scannell Leadership Award for lifetime achievement. Lynne also received the Arizona Society of Association Executive Membership award for designing and executing the AZMPI Volunteer-a-thon. View her website.


Bob Wendover

Bob Wendover teaches professionals how to improve their workplace decision-making. The award-winning author of Figure It Out! and nine other books, he has served on the faculty of the University of Phoenix, as a special advisor to the American Productivity and Quality Center, and on a number of corporate studies on workforce trends. He has conducted more than 1,500 paid speaking engagements for audiences from 50 to 5,000. His government clients have included more than a dozen federal agencies and numerous state and local agencies. He is a founding member of Colorado’s Meetings Industry Council and past chair of the National Meetings Industry Council. View his website.

Photo courtesy of Christie’s Photographic Solutions.