Speakers 2019-06-18T11:19:17-04:00

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.


Gaurav Bhalla

Gaurav Bhalla, Ph.D., is a globally acclaimed “thinker-doer, present-ainer” in leadership, strategy, marketing, and innovation. A provocative, charismatic and entertaining speaker, he delivers insight-packed audience experiences that take organizations, teams and individuals on transformational journeys toward greater professional success and personal fulfillment. Author and advocate of Soulful Leadership™, he won a global award for his achievements as a speaker and trainer in 2016. What makes Gaurav unique are his growth mindset, his diversity of thought and experience, his passion for action and his WHY – his purpose – that values the humanity of people more than their executive brilliance. This speaker is presenting at the CGMP Summit on Monday, June 24, 2019.


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.


Kevin Coffey

Detective Kevin Coffey is one of the leading meeting and travel risk experts in the country. He is a personal safety coach, author and instructor at the University of Southern California’s Safe Communities Institute and a highly decorated and now retired detective from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). It’s his investigative work with the LAPD and founding of the Airport’s Crimes Investigation Detail at the Los Angeles International Airport, Hotels, and Car Rental Agencies that launched Kevin’s passion to educate the meeting and travel industry in risk reduction. He now conducts educational seminars for both meeting and event planners/suppliers as well as business and travelers and meeting attendees for meeting and travel associations. Kevin also consults and works with organizations in creating their meeting risk policies and checklists. Detective Kevin Coffey is regularly featured on CNN, ABC’s 20/20, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Travel Channel, and Oprah. View his website.


Emory Craig

Emory Craig is the Cofounder and Partner at Digital Bodies, a consulting group and popular website for news and analysis of immersive technologies. Digital Bodies helps business, government, nonprofits and educational organizations understand and implement Augmented and Virtual Reality. As a futurist and writer, he is fascinated by the ways VR will transform human experience and concerned by the potential ethical challenges. An innovative leader in new media developments, he focuses on the ways we can leverage VR and the organizational strategies and global vision we will need to live in the future where experiences are available on demand. View his 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. This speaker is also presenting at the CGMP Summit on Monday, June 24, 2019.


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.


Cheryl Gordon

Cheryl Gordon is the Senior National Director of Government Sales with the B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group. Cheryl has an accomplished background in the hospitality industry defined by her wealth of experience, client relationships and exceptional sales skills. In addition to her role in the hospitality field, Cheryl has recently served 2 terms on the Board of Directors for SGMP NATCAP as Director and 2nd Vice President chairing the Special Events Committee. Cheryl’s hospitality career spans 30 years with her most recent focus of the past 15 years primarily in the government market segment. Cheryl attended American University and currently resides in Arlington, VA. Cheryl has her certification as a Certified Government Meeting Professional. This speaker is also presenting at the Business Etiquette and Protocol Bootcamp on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.


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. This speaker is also presenting at the CGMP Summit on Monday, June 24, 2019.


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.


Gary Hernbroth

Gary Hernbroth is an engaging, impactful professional speaker and business trainer inspiring audiences and clients to achieve greater success. Various clients have nicknamed Gary their “strength and conditioning coach” based on the measurable and effective results he has helped create for them. After 18 years in the hospitality and meetings business in hotel sales and operations management, Gary founded Training for Winners in 1995. He partners with clients from varied industries such as national and regional associations, hospitality businesses (including hotels, resorts, convention facilities, meeting professionals, and CVBs/DMOs), small businesses, high tech firms and Fortune 500 companies. He has drawn high praise for his previous SGMP presentations. He is a graduate of The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University and also currently serves as a member of its Alumni Board of Directors. View his website. This speaker is presenting at the CGMP Summit on Monday, June 24, 2019.


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

Appointed in 2013, Lindsay Kirchinger serves as Michigan’s Chief of Protocol. In this position, Lindsay handles a variety of protocol and international business issues for the state. She is the first point of contact with the diplomatic community both in Michigan and worldwide and is responsible for addressing the needs, concerns, diplomatic and otherwise, of this group. Lindsay’s responsibilities entail planning foreign trips for the Governor and other state officials and assisting with arrangements for visits by heads of state and other dignitaries when state government is involved. Lindsay is Michigan’s resource for protocol, international and cultural issues, interacts with legislators, department directors, top corporate and industry executives, U.S. and foreign leaders, and university and local government officials on a regular basis. Lindsay has more than 15 years of domestic and international business experience. She is a Certified Meeting Professional and holds her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan. 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.


Suzanne Morrell

Event producer, Suzanne Morrell, MBA, has been creating events for over three decades. She is founder of STM|enterprises, Events2030.org, and D.C. Event Food Waste Coalition, and an International Conference Officer with the Major Events and Conferences Staff at the State Department. 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 reduce food waste, increase sustainability and combat local hunger. 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 and a regional consultant in advance of the United National Environmental Assembly. 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.


Chris Rowley

Chris Rowley is the Executive Director of the Mt. Pleasant Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and current president of the Michigan Association of CVB’s. She has served as President for Meeting Professionals International, Michigan Chapter and has been a SGMP Michigan member for 15 years. In her community, she is a member of the Mt. Pleasant Jaycees, serves on the Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival planning committee and Art Walk Central committee. She is a wife and mother to a 10-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter.


Kathleen Ryan

Kathleen Ryan is the customer engagement team lead for the Washington, D.C., region and is responsible for planning and executing senior customer meetings and demos, special events and exhibits for Boeing’s Space, Defense & Security businesses. Kathleen is a retired Air Force Officer and a former chief of protocol for the Department of the Air Force, supporting both the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force. She was also aide-de-camp to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As a small business owner, she was an associate of the Protocol School of Washington, where she collaborated on the development of their protocol officer training course. Working with Harlan Lee & Associates, she conducted protocol training for the Missile Defense Agency and Defence Intelligence Agency. She is a Certified Government Meeting Professional and is a founding board member of Protocol & Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association. This speaker is also presenting at the Business Etiquette and Protocol Bootcamp on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.


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. This speaker is also presenting at the CGMP Summit on Monday, June 24, 2019.


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.


Anita Yearwood

Anita Yearwood, CMP, CGMP, is director of stewardship event at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the lead event planner for strategic, creative, university-wide and other donor stewardship events. She previously worked at VCU’s Institute for Contemporary ARt, where she was responsible for planning the ICA’s fundraising events and opening celebrations. Anita has nearly 15 years of strategic event planning experience with government, nonprofit, and higher education institutions. She has earned top credentials int he industry as a CMP and CGMP. In 2015, she was reconigzed as a “40 Under 40” honoree by Connect Magazine. She was recognized as an SGMP Top Young Professional in 2018. Anita holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications (2006) and a master’s degree in public administration (2014), both from VCU. Additionally, she earned a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from VCU and a certificate in meeting and event planning from the University of Virginia. This speaker is also presenting at the Planner Bootcamp on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

Photo courtesy of Christie’s Photographic Solutions.