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 SGMP’s National Education Conference: keynote speakers, educational sessions, and why to attend.
2023 Educational Sessions are being set now! Here’s a sample of speakers who presented in 2022.
Royce L. Allen, Speaker and CEO, Royce Consulting Services, has experience in cybersecurity for 25 plus years, with more than 15 years speaking on several technical topics surrounding IT Security and Digital Transformation. Her specialty areas are Data Privacy, Compliance, Cloud, Zero Trust, , DevSecOps, Machine Learning and Security Engineering. She’s led many teams on the development of Information Assurance and Cybersecurity analytics, deploying more than 150+ analytics capabilities and tools using cloud and traditional technologies. These tools enabled cyber missions and countered threats throughout the IC, DoD, and federal agencies. She is recognized as an authority on technology implementation and organizational transformation. She has been teaching, lecturing, and consulting, and is known for innovative approaches to leadership and diversity in technology. Royce Allen holds a master’s degree in Security and Organizational Management from Webster University in St Louis, MO and a Bachelor of Science, Networking and Information Systems from Strayer University in Alexandria, VA.
Nicole Bergstrom is a prominent accessibility professional and workplace culture transformation leader. She is a disability advocate and champions workplace inclusion using accessible technology as a key driver for success and innovation. As the Senior Director of Accessibility, she has built, matured and positioned Hilton’s Accessibility Center of Excellence as a strategic component to fuel continued growth and evolve Hilton as a company of choice for people with disabilities. Using her role as Lead of Hilton’s internal employee resource group called Abilities, she instills organizational empathy and elevates awareness on the intersection of digital accessibility, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace. Prior to joining Hilton, Nicole consulted with numerous organizations to initiate accessibility strategies and programs including DocuSign, National Student Clearinghouse, the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, and more. She holds a Bachelor’s in Spanish and Sociology and Anthropology and Master’s in Telecommunications. She is a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies and holds a Certificate in Advanced Professional Development in Assistive Technology Applications.
Debra Burton Brown
A professional executive coach, instructional designer, speaker and facilitator, Debra Brown is a nationally recognized learning consultant in today’s marketplace. She specializes in working with high-performance executives, entrepreneurs, students, and teams to leverage their natural learning skills and maximize their learning potential. She has been invited as a guest on hundreds of radio and television stations across the United States, Canada, and Guam. As a leading consultant in the fields of communication, conflict resolution and executive development, Ms. Brown has had the honor of working with celebrities, CEOs, senior management, and front-line employees. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary in the field of Psychology and a secondary emphasis in English. In 2017, Debra completed her certification in Workplace Learning and Performance (CPTD) with the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Additionally, through the LERN organization and the University of South Dakota, she completed two certifications: Certified Online Instructor (COi) and Certified Blended Learning Instructor (CBI). She holds a Coaching Certification from the Life Coaching Institute in California.
Wayne Callis, CGMP
Wayne Callis oversees the Government and Military group business for VisitNorfolk and is a Certified Government Meeting Professional. He has been in the hospitality industry for over 25 years. He served two terms as treasurer and on various committees for the SGMP Old Dominion Chapter and is an active member of both the SGMP National Capital and SGMP Old Dominion Chapters. Wayne was awarded the Sam Gilmer Supplier of the Year Award at the 2021 SGMP NEC. He also serves on the Executive Board of the Hampton Roads Navy League.
Misty Cook is the CEO of Clarity Consulting. This consulting firm specializes in helping retired General/Flag Officers and senior leaders step out of the military and into the board room. A retired Marine Officer, she held positions as the Deputy Director of Protocol for the Commandant of the Marine Corps & Project Lead for the U.S. Marine Corps Special Projects Directorate. Misty has executed numerous events for foreign dignitaries, state and federal representatives, and industry leaders across the U.S. and abroad. Misty is a speaker and an expert in military protocol, event planning and dining etiquette.
Sharon Delvisco has more than 30 years of experience. She has supported people with disabilities, their families, and the agencies that provide services to live in the community. “Separate is not equal” is the guiding principle for all her work and advocacy efforts in the human services field. Sharon is an advisor for the Louisiana People First Northshore Chapter self-advocacy group. She has experience organizing, facilitating, and developing training for people with disabilities, their families and the agencies that provide community-based services. She has planned conferences and events, facilitated board retreats, developed and provided a variety of trainings. She has a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of New Orleans, Master’s degree in social work from Southern University at New Orleans, and her doctorate in Social Work Innovation from USC School of Social Work. Sharon is employed as a Training and Education Coordinator with Team Dynamics, LLC.
Kindall Farwell is the Director for the U.S. Government Hotel Program, FedRooms®, which is managed by CW Government Travel. This business was awarded to CW Government Travel in 2004 and was subsequently re-awarded to CW Government Travel in 2009, 2015 and 2019. Ms. Farwell is responsible for overall FedRooms program management. She is also responsible for hotel, travel agency, GDS and self-booking tool relationships, negotiations and website development.
Shannon Jenkins, CGMP
Shannon Jenkins is a National Association Sales Director with Visit Buffalo Niagara. Shannon has over 19 years of hospitality experience with a background working for Hilton, Hyatt, Wyndham and Marriott. Shannon has been working in the government market for 7 years and sits on the board of directors for the SGMP NATCAP chapter. Shannon’s passion for the government market stems from her Father’s military background as a marine. She earned her CGMP in 2016 and holds a BA in marketing from Towson University and a Dual Master’s degree from the University of Maryland University College. In her free time, Shannon enjoys spending time with her pups Bella and Bentlee!
Steve Jones is the author of Brand Like a Rock Star and Start You Up. He is based in Toronto, Canada, where he oversees brands and content for Stingray Radio, a global music, media and technology company.
Dr. Kelvin McCree
Dr. Kelvin McCree is a globally recognized thought leader, author and international speaker on change management, mental agility and cultivating an agile workforce. His work is focused on helping teams to thrive in the midst of disruption. His groundbreaking new book The Pivot: Leading The Future of Work provides organizations and businesses the trends, trajectories, challenges and opportunities in the changing workforce. Dr. McCree is a well sought-after speaker and has shared the speaking stage with Shark Tanks, Daymond John and Hall of Fame Speakers, Les Brown and Simon T. Bailey. Dr. McCree holds a Master of Executive Leadership and a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership; certifications in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Inclusive Leadership; and multiple Advanced Executive Coaching Certifications recognized by the International Coaching Federation.
There are three rooms we all wish to avoid: (1) the Emergency Room, (2) the News Room, and (3) the Court Room. For more than three decades, Jeff McKissack has been helping individuals, companies, and institutions do that with a very unique approach to risk and reputation management. This has made Jeff a sought-after speaker and trainer for conferences and conventions as well as onsite employee training events alike as he understands liabilities related to negligence and reputational risks as well as the due diligence documentation trail advised to mitigate both. Jeff best sums up his message and mission by saying, “My goal is to help you spot trouble ‘before’ trouble spots you,” and in today’s world, that is a much-needed message indeed.
Christopher McLaughlin, CGMP
Chris McLaughlin, CGMP, has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry and is the Director of Global Sales, Government & Military for Sonesta Hotels. In this role, he is responsible for developing and executing systemwide strategies across 13 brands comprised of more than 1,200 hotels. Chris currently serves as 2nd vice president on the SGMP National Board of Directors. He has been a devoted member of SGMP since the year 2000 and earned his CGMP designation in 2009. Prior to his current leadership position with SGMP, he served as National Treasurer for two terms (2017 to 2021) and was Treasurer of SGMP National Capital Chapter from 2013 to 2015. Notably, Chris was named the 2020 Sam Gilmer Supplier of the Year.
Nicole Roames, CMP, CGMP, DES
Nicole Roames, CMP, CGMP, DES, is a Senior Meeting Planner with Strategic Analysis, Inc. Nicole has over 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Prior to becoming a government contract planner, she planned events for non-profit associations. Nicole is the President of the SGMP National Capital Chapter and currently serves as a member of the national membership committee. She has previously chaired the award-winning NATCAP programming and communications committees. She earned her CGMP in 2017, CMP in 2019 and DES in 2020 and holds a BA in Communications from Florida International University. Nicole has been honored multiple times by volunteer organizations for outstanding volunteer work and was named the 2019 Employee of the Year for Federal Conference, where she worked for 5 years before joining SA.
Christina Saragnese, CGMP
As a Senior Manager for Hilton Worldwide Sales, Christina Saragnese oversees the relationships between government agencies and Hilton’s 4000+ US-based Hotels. As an advocate for the government and military segment, she helps educate hotel stakeholders on not only the value of government business but how to navigate the nuances of proper protocols and procedures. She finds special purpose in working alongside organizations supporting veterans and continuing education and enjoys getting to share this passion as the Community Outreach Committee Chair for the SGMP NatCap Chapter where she is also the current 2nd VP. Christina is a University of South Carolina Gamecock Alumni and currently resides with her United States Marine fiancé outside Camp Pendleton in Southern California with their pup Gus.
Staca Shehan joined NCMEC in 1999 and is the Vice President of the Analytical Services Division. In 2011, Staca spearheaded the creation of a dedicated Child Sex Trafficking Team that provides support to law enforcement agencies who are working to identify and recover children victimized through sex trafficking and successfully prosecute those individuals involved in trafficking children. In 2017, she was selected as one of 21 representative members on the National Advisory Committee on Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States. The Committee advises the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General on practical and general policies concerning improvements to the Nation’s response to the sex trafficking of children and youth in the United States. Staca has also written several articles on behalf of NCMEC regarding child sex trafficking and children missing from care.
Lee Silber is a 31-year meeting and event veteran and has been in the trenches of the business as a planner, host, emcee, keynote and breakout speaker, musician, sponsor, and attendee. In 2019, Lee founded Remote Worker Resource and became a proponent of hybrid meetings—hosting many of his own. Silber lives in San Diego, California.
Jan Spence, CSP
After a hospitality sales career with Millennium Hotels and Resorts in Boston and Kimpton Hotels in Washington, Brett Sterenson founded his site-selection firm Hotel Lobbyists in 2007 in an interest to serve all of his clients’ needs, near or far, big or small. After the acquisition of another intermediary in 2021, Hotel Lobbyists now places nearly 400 meetings annually, in all 50 states, and on five continents. Brett has been a member of SGMP for more than 20 years, serving on both local and national boards for nearly twelve years. In 2010, he was awarded the SGMP’s highest honor, the Sam Gilmer Supplier of the Year Award. Brett continues to stay active with SGMP and frequently speaks at industry events.
Tracy Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CHC
Dietary Needs Expert. Meetings Industry Changemaker. Certified Special Events Professional. Tracy Stuckrath works with organizations and meeting planners worldwide to create safe, sustainable, and inclusive F&B events that deliver experiences where everyone feels valued. Every guest matters. Every meal matters. Founder of thrive! meetings & events, and the Eating at a Meeting podcast, Tracy has had a 30+year career as an event professional. After being diagnosed with a food allergy, she changed the trajectory of her career in 2009 to help clients establish best practices, mitigate risk, improve experiences, and increase profit with the food and beverage they serve. She has produced 125 podcast episodes, co-authored two books, published over 100 articles and is recognized as a meetings and event industry leader, including Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry and a Top 500 Event Professionals in North America.
Shawna Suckow, CSP, CVP, CMP
Shawna Suckow, CSP, CVP, CMP, is a speaker with some serious knowledge of the meetings industry. Before becoming a professional speaker in 2012, she was a global meeting & incentive planner. She’s the best-selling author of five books, with her latest release, The Roaring Twenties, recognized by Forbes as a top marketing book for 2022. She’s spoken on five continents in 17 countries, helping audiences across all industries to achieve more in business and in life. In 2020, Shawna was named an Iconic Woman by the global Women’s Economic Forum.
Michele Wierzgac, MSEd, CMM
Michele Wierzgac, MSEd, CMM, is a leadership expert, keynote speaker and author of the forthcoming book, Ass Kicking Women: How They Leverage Their Informal Networks for Success. With her high-energy presentations, Michele conveys sound leadership solutions and promotes audience engagement and on-your-feet participation. She promises her audience that they will leave her solution-driven keynotes and workshops with at least one life-transforming leadership tool. In her spare time, Michelle is a Rider Coach for Harley-Davidson’s Motorcycle Riding Academy. She has a master’s degree in Educational Administration and Leadership from Illinois State University, where she also earned an undergraduate degree in Physical Education and Athletic Coaching while playing volleyball on an NCAA scholarship.
Wendy Whitaker, CGMP
Wendy Whitaker, CGMP, is Sales Manager for the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive for the past six years, specializing in the government market. Her passions include working in partnership to support the success of meeting planners.
Chris Young is a sought-after keynote speaker and trainer, featured presenter, and subject-matter expert in leadership and organizational dynamics, international protocol, cross-cultural literacy, negotiations and global business etiquette. His past clients have included Fortune 500 companies; major universities; national, state, and municipal governments; chambers of commerce and economic development agencies; professional associations; and global sporting events. For seven years, he led Protocol & Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association (PDI-POA), the worldwide professional organization for those in those related fields as its elected president. Mr. Young’s career also includes service as the Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Executive Director of a training arm of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research; Executive Director of The Protocol School of Washington; and Chief of Protocol and Director of International Affairs for the State of Georgia.
Header photo courtesy of Christie’s Photographic Solutions.