Women in Events Industry

An Ode to 40 Women Influencers In the Events Industry

Juhi Purswani
March 8, 2020

This International Women’s Day, we would like to raise a toast to the empowerment and diversity in our events industry. 

In this blog, we are representing the industry’s brightest minds that are renowned for their own contributions and the work they are doing. They may be event tech enthusiasts, event planners, event speakers, but all of them are influencers for event enthusiasts and followers.

They have successfully built a career, boosted confidence and embraced the highs and lows of their jobs!

women in events industry - IWD 2020

In honor of International Women’s Day celebration, here are a few women influencers we’d love to put some spotlight on:

  1. Dahlia El Gazzar: Her knowledge and passion for technology are impeccable. With more than a decade of experience as a professional speaker, Dahlia launched her own events agency DAHLIA+.
  2. Tahira Endean: She has been a part of this immense events industry for a little more than 2 decades. She is currently the Head of Events with SITE Global. Previously for 20+ years, she has been an instructor of Special Event Planning and Sustainable Event Operations.
  3. Rachel Wimberly: Another passionate and amazing women leader in the events industry! Rachel in her wide career of journalism and events has mastered Trade Shows. She is currently the EVP of business development at the Tarsus Group. 
    For about 10 years she fulfilled her role as a President and Editor-in-chief of TSNN commendably. She is also a board member of the Association of Women in Events (AWE) and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events.
  4. Helen Moon: Most of you would recognize Helen as the founder of EventWell HQ. Helen’s marketing and events career span of over 20 years. She is passionate about events and values the power of live events and cares about how event makers create and deliver. 
    She truly loves her job! She has been voted one of the top 100 movers and shakers in the UK Event Industry 2016 and a top 10 Event Industry social media influencer.
  5. Liz Caruso: Liz King Caruso is an Event Specialist, Consultant & Speaker who is passionate about impactful, successful & fun events. Liz launched Liz King Events. She was quickly recognized as a thought leader amongst her peers after voraciously sharing content on event best practices. 
    Liz has been featured in Successful Meetings list of 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry, Connect Magazine’s list of 40 Under 40 Up-and-Coming Event Planners, and Meetings and Conventions list of Top Influential Female Leaders in the Events Industry.
  6. Judi Holler: Judi is a prolific public speaker and event emcee. She’s a past president of Meeting Professionals International, Chicago and has been named as one of the 40 under 40 in the meetings industry by Connect magazine in 2015. She offers value knowledge of productivity, public speaking, and personal branding tips.
  7. Kate Patay: Kate brings 20+ years of rich experience in business travel, tourism and event marketing strategy. Kate runs “Patay Consulting” as Chief Strategy Officer. Patay Consulting helps businesses and individuals discover and amplify their authentic brand and image. She is an international speaker & consultant, SEARCH Foundation Chairwoman, and Lecturer at The International School of Hospitality in Las Vegas.
  8. Carrie Abernathy: Carrie Abernathy is the president of the Association for Women in Events, an events industry speaker and thought leader. She is dedicated to provide a valuable vendor and attendee experience at events and to always provide the best customer service to colleagues/stakeholders as well as external customers.
  9. Christy Lamagna: Christy is a woman of wonderful passions making her life more interesting, fulfilling and fun. She has been a part of this huge industry for now more than 25 years and has been a part of its great revolution and evolution. 
    She is the founder of Strategic Meeting and Events which produces mid to large scale corporate events. Christy is a nationally recognized, award-winning strategic planner and entrepreneur, writes for multiple industry publications, speaks at conferences worldwide, has a private coaching practice and has taught strategic planning at the university level.
  10. Sasha Souza: Sasha Souza is a successful event industry influencer, an international event planner, an avid speaker, and a TV personality. She was a featured event planner on “Whose Wedding is it Anyway???”​, “Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen”​, “20/20”​, “I Want Your Job”​, and CBS “Sunday Morning”​. Sasha Souza is a featured celebrity speaker at Event Solutions Conference, The Special Event Show, Wedding MBA, ILEA, NACE and WIPA Meetings across the US and Canada, the ARA Rental Show, WPIC Conference, the Association of Bridal Consultants National Conference and many others.
  11. Kristin Banta: Kristi is a world-renowned Event & Wedding Planner and TV personality in ‘The Wedding Party’ on Bravo TV. Kristin focusses on creating unforgettable celebrations while bringing a fresh perspective to the mix. She is passionate about helping her clients find their own voice for their wedding day.
    Her events are as unique and diversified as her clientele, which ranges from Fortune 500’s to multi-platinum recording artists. She has been named 2014, 2015 and 2016 “Event Planner of the Year” by Event Solutions, 2016 Best Private Event by The Special Event, 2016 Best Wedding and Best Decor Finalist by The Special Event and a 2013 and 2015 National BizBash Event Style Awards Finalist.
  12. Marie Claire Andrews: Presently the President of Association for Women in Events, Marie is known for getting things done, making things happen and for my tenacity to see ambitious ideas from conception to reality. She’s a business and tech leader who also was the founder of Event Tech Tribe and also of the Showgizmo event app.
  13. Jenn Artura: Jenn is the Head of Global Events for Veritas Technologies LLC & Vice President, Association for Women in Events. Awarded as one of the top 100 women who inspire and innovate in 2018 by Smart Meetings Magazine.
    Jenn is a woman who managed multiple roles in events industry: Event Executive/Progressive Business Leader/Experiential Designer/Producer/Creative Strategist/Passionate Storyteller/Culture Builder/Sales Evangelist/Brand Ambassador/ Event Marketer/Engagement Master. She’s maniacal about every detail of the attendee experience and hence focuses on what attendees need to Know, Feel & Do!
  14. Kiki Fox: Kiki is a passionate woman who’s a member of IAEE, MPI, and PCMA. She has worked on both the conference side and vendor side of the industry, which made it easy for her to understand the requirements of her clients and hence helped them in strategic problem-solving.
    Her passion is to connect with a client and provide them a solution that improves their experience. She’s also the co-founder and the 2018 President of the Association for Women in Events (AWE).
  15. Irina Graf: Irina is the founder and publisher of the MICE blog. She is a multilingual event management professional and blogger with experience in the events, hospitality, and tourism sector. 
    Her blog targets corporate event planners through topics ranging from event coverage, reviews of MICE destinations, venues, interviews with professionals and more. Additionally, Irina runs a weekly Twitter chat #EventPlannersTalk about event management topics.
  16. Pauline Kwasniak: Pauline is an experienced and multilingual business professional, working with various businesses and industries on their business development, PR and marketing strategy. She is experienced in new business launches across various sectors. Pauline also consults business owners and clients. 
    Her experience in community building and international experiences is commendable. She has been featured in as Top thirty under 30 years of age in Ireland- By Sunday Business Post in 2018, and as Irish Young Best Entrepreneur — county finalist in 2019.
  17. Carina Bauer: Her entry into the events industry was in the year 2002. Since then she’s been the face of IMEX as we know it to date. She joined in as the Marketing and Operations Director for IMEX in Frankfurt as part of the original launch team for the exhibition.
    Following the expansion of the IMEX into America in 2009, she was appointed CEO of the wherein Carina was responsible to manage all aspects of the business.
    Throughout her career, Carina has been an active member of the events industry. She was Chair of the Marketing Committee for MPI’s European Meetings & Events Conference, London (2008), has served on the Board of the MPI UK Chapter, the MPI International Multicultural Committee and on PCMA’s Global and Advocacy Taskforces. She is currently President-Elect for the SITE International Foundation and serves on the AEO Council.
  18. Mariska Kesteloo: Mariska Kesteloo is a founder of the Word of MICE which she established in the year of 2017. Previously, she used to work as a freelancer in the MICE industry and came up with the ideas of Word of MICE. Mariska Kesteloo is a renowned public speaker, President of MPI in Belgium. MPI has a global community of 60,000 meetings and event professionals including more than 17,000 engaged members worldwide.
    Founder, President, and public speaker; with more than 15 years of working experience in tourism and the MICE sector, she’s an authority in the industry. Her company connects the MICE industry with the right social media influencer, to tell the story of the suppliers in an authentic and fun way within the right target audience.
  19. Roisin O’brolchain: She’s an enthusiastic and ambitious event technology and implementation specialist. With her analytical and process-oriented mindset her ability to think critically and quick problem-solving in a fast-paced environment is praiseworthy.
    She’s a technology and social media enthusiast and passionate about using technology to enhance both the users and the customer/client experience. Previously named as a panel speaker at Event Tech Live 2016 and a judge for Event Technology Awards 2017, Roisin is currently the Director of Global Technology Implementation & Management at CWT Meetings and Events.
  20. Cat Rainey: Cat is the Head of Events, MICE and Group Travel at Travel Counsellors and Founder of The Professional Retreat. She’s an experienced professional who is self-driven, proactive and ambitious. Someone who thrives within a team and relishes the opportunity to lead others combining passion and knowledge.
  21. Kristi Casey Sanders: Kristi is the Senior Director of Community Engagement with MPI. With more than 15 years of marketing strategy, senior leadership and business development experience, she has a broad base of knowledge that benefits executive and cross-functional teams as they seek to maximize revenue, accelerate the pace of innovation and manage disruptive change. 
    She’s an established thought leader on the topics of technology, leadership, event design, audience engagement, social media, digital strategy. Kristi has educated audiences in Latin America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America face-to-face and virtually on the topics she excels at.
  22. Tara Thomas: She’s the chief marketer and co-founder of The Meeting Pool. 
  23. Kizzy Allott: She’s the Business Manager with Event Industry News. Working in the events arena for little less than a decade now she has also managed the Event Technology Awards and been the event coordinator as well. 
  24. Kiki L’italien: As CEO and Host for Association Chat, an online community and media platform for the association industry, KiKi L’Italien reaches over 31k industry professionals. Members connect with the Association Chat community throughout the week to help each other solve challenges and to pool resources in order to do the important work they do.
  25. Stefania Conti-Vecci: She works as a meeting organizer, consultant, speaker and coach closely with professionals around the world providing strategies on how to organize, innovate and promote more effectively their business and their events.
    An expert on meeting design and technology integration and particularly on applying the most innovative solutions to every stage of the business process, Stefania also speaks at international conferences, trade shows, universities. She also writes books, articles and she is a blogger and a video-podcaster.
  26. Sue Pelletier: As lead editor for ConferenceDirect’s MeetingMentor magazine and e-newsletters, Sue provides senior-level meeting professionals and conference organizers with the intelligence they need to strategically manage their events. She has also previously worked with MeetingsNet as an editor/blogger. 
  27. Elizabeth Glau: Elizabeth Glau has been recognized by BizBash as 1 of the top 500 people in events and Connect Association on the 40 under 40 in 2017. Her work in the field of engagement technology has been featured in publications ranging from The Meeting Professional to The San Diego Union Tribune.
    She has spoken for PCMA, Convention Industry Council, © Systems and many others. As a co-host of the Making a Marketer podcast until 2019, Elizabeth elevated the marketing profession by highlighting the challenges and solutions from the industry’s brightest.
  28. Yasmin Love: Yasmin is a producer of live entertainment and events from the UK. 
  29. Allissa Hurley: Allissa is a B2B marketer with 20+ years of experience specializing in events, digital marketing and creative services. She is passionate about technology, marketing and event strategy. She specializes in Event Technology, Digital Marketing, Project Management, Marketing Communications, Meeting and Event Management, Strategic Meetings Management, Incentive Travel, Event Marketing and Production, Social Media, Sponsorship Management and Activation, Virtual Events, Account Management.
  30. Robyn Davis: Master of trade shows. For the past 10 years, she’s been helping B2B professionals squeeze more value out of their trade show participation by teaching them the strategies that work in this unique sales/marketing environment. 
    She provides strategic training and consulting services to companies that exhibit at trade shows, primarily in North America that they invest in exhibiting even more worthwhile and to do so in a way that can be measured/tracked.
  31. Becki Cross: Becki is Managing Director of Events Northern Ltd — a conference and event management company. She almost has a decade long experience of event management experience. Conferences, exhibitions and B2B events.
    Currently, her main focus is to launch her own event ideas rather than just corporate and client-led projects. PlannerFest is the first of these passion projects and launched in July 2019.
    Previously she was Deputy Editor for EventMB which is a renowned resource for event planners.
  32. Lysa Price: Lysa helps in consulting and managing events for multiple clients. She’s an event production expert creating experiences that help create the value of a brand. Her expertise also includes Creating events and conferences that are brain-friendly using neuroscience and mindfulness techniques.
  33. Michelle Bruno: Michelle is a writer, blogger, and technology journalist. She develops content and content strategies for event-industry companies at her company Bruno Group Signature Services. CMP and CEM certified and a former supplier and conference planner/trade show manager, Michelle has a unique perspective of the live-event industry, blogging about it in event-industry publications. She has been a judge at the Event Tech Awards and IBTM’s Technology and Innovation Watch.
  34. Marissa Pick: Marissa is currently the founder of Marissa Pick Consulting. She has been named as one of the #Nifty50 Top Twitter Female Writers for 2013, ranked as within Onalytica’s B2B Marketing: Top 200 Brands and Influencers list, and shortlisted as a finalist for the Rising Star Award within the 2014 British Media Awards.
  35. Annette Naif: For 25+ years, Annette has been helping clients plan events combining her expertise in strategic negotiating, on-site management and crisis management skills.
    For her, the key is to deliver a flawless, distinctive and superior personalized experience.
    Whether planning an adventure for two, gala, coaching sales event, fundraiser, executive retreat, corporate training, she utilizes the talents of the best vendors and venues in the business to produce and create upscale, seamless events worldwide.
  36. Melissa Michel: Melissa rocks the knowledge when it comes to trade shows. She offers 20+ years of experience in the Trade Show Industry. Her services includes Trade Show and Event Consultant, Event Social Media Management, and Training/Coaching.
  37. Kerstin Wünsch: She is the Editor-in-chief, tw tagungswirtschaft and Co-Founder of She Means Business.
  38. Jessie States: Jessie States, CMP, CMM, is the Director of the MPI Academy for Meeting Professionals International, where she leads and advances MPI’s professional development strategy, developing and managing MPI’s portfolio of educational products delivered through all channels, including live and digital events, educational experiences, professional certificate programs and through educational partnerships.
    Jessie received the 2018 Pacesetter Award from the Events Industry Council and in 2017, she earned a place on the list of 25 Most Influential People in Meetings and Events (Successful Meetings magazine) and the title Trendsetter (Meetings Today magazine).
  39. Nicole Bowman: She is the Vice President, Marketing & Communications with IAEE. Nicole is responsible for developing and managing the marketing functions of IAEE, its subsidiaries, staff and governing structure. She helps in creating and executing the comprehensive strategic marketing plan for all IAEE initiatives including chapter relations, membership, councils and advocacy initiatives.
  40. Dale Hudson: Dale is Knowledge and Events Director at IMEX Group. IMEX has been an amazing company that molded her nature and gave the opportunity to take risks, try out new projects and really help to make changes within the events industry.

Diversifying the industry, bridging the gender gap and inspiring the next generation to succeed is what the events industry must keep working on. Happy International Women’s Day to all the wonderful women out there!

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Juhi Purswani

Juhi Purswani is a major in Information Technology. Currently a Content Developer in Hubilo, she is a passionate writer and loves to research and explore new and unique topics. Working in an event-tech company, she is getting accustomed to the technological revolutions that are taking place in the event management industry. Fond of Dan Brown books, she is an avid reader of fiction. In her relaxation moments, she pens down her thoughts in the form of poems and quotes. You can follow her on twitter on @19_juhi.

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