New Member Featured Profile: February 2017
MPI Georgia welcomes LaToya Southern who is the Meeting & Events Manager at Arby’s Restaurant Group where she manages conferences, as well as the annual and internal monthly meetings for the corporate office. She also provides meeting support to other internal departments. LaToya has acquired key professional advice during her career: Be a part of the solution, treating everyone with the same level of respect, and keeping lines of communication open even during the off-season.
LaToya is a wife and mother of two boys and her family supports various volunteer programs with the Arby’s Foundation at the top of the list. In her spare time she is a runner, dancer, reader, and loves to visit new museums, festivals, and events around the metro-Atlanta area with her family and friends. Work will soon take her to Nashville, TN; however, a vacation to Aruba is on the calendar, and hopefully a trip to Maldives – her dream destination.
New Member Featured Profile: January 2017
Jude is celebrating a great first year as a HelmsBriscoe Associate and we’re pleased to introduce her as a new member of the Georgia Chapter. She partners with busy meeting planners by sourcing the perfect venue for their next meeting, and thrives on the energy that networking brings to life.
Although Jude is new to MPI, she’s a true veteran in the convention industry. For years she worked as an independent floor manager… with far too many shows and cities to count. More recently, Jude focused on working with meeting and exposition planners in design and implementation for crowd management and security programs.
Jude has been involved for several years with IAEE and PCMA. Her favorite part of the meetings industry is the connectedness and lasting friendships that are developed through participating in challenging endeavors with trusted colleagues and clients. In fact, her current business associate was a repeat client going back many years.
Thanks, Jude, for emphasizing the successful outcomes of networking, industry associations, and long-term business relationships.
New Member Featured Profile: November 2016
MPI Georgia is excited to welcome Katie Block, National Sales Manager for Caesars Entertainment under the Portfolio Brand of Hotels. Her current accounts are based in the southeast including Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, as well as Pennsylvania. Even though she is a new chapter member, she connected with our organization through previous and current colleagues, and has participated in several events over the past five years. As a best practice, Katie remains involved and connected with the industry. She also recognizes the importance of keeping it personal and makes an effort to remember the interests and hobbies of those she meets. By the way, if Katie has called you at 5 a.m. local time, it was definitely a rookie mistake and a lesson in checking the zip code and time zone before picking up the phone.
After her next business trip to Las Vegas, she will be visiting her cousin in Hawaii. (Any chance of a Caesar’s on the Big Island?) Katie’s dream vacation has an international flair. She would love to see Nepal and maybe climb Everest Base Camp. Katie’s adventurous spirit fits hand-in-hand with her words of advice, “never stop learning and always be open to alternate ways of doing something.”
Editorial Note from Megan: Katie, we rocked it out at IMEX 2015 on the VISTA rooftop bar at Caesars Palace watching a celebrity tennis match with Elton John, Billie Jean, and Navratilova. Sponsorship works – very memorable event.
New Member Featured Profile: September 2016
MPI Georgia Chapter welcomes Philip Gamon, Sales Manager for Hilton Atlanta. Philip currently books meetings for Corporate and Association groups based out of the Northeast and Midwest as well as International clients. He also handles Military/Government, Education, Pharma, and Financial accounts. With his recent move to Atlanta, he has found that working in the hospitality industry and joining MPI Georgia have been great ways to meet people. Philip also extends a shout-out to Casey Peterson also was a major influence.
As a Millennial, Philip feels that transition and change is inevitable. In fact, his shared best practice centers on thinking outside the box and reinventing oneself to grow. “If you come in everyday being the same person and you don’t challenge yourself, you won’t grow as a person.” Philip is enjoying his time in Atlanta and can’t see himself leaving anytime soon at least not until New Year’s when he plans to watch the Ball Drop in Times Square. And maybe the luck of the New Year will find him watching the Detroit Lions play in the Super bowl.
“It’s a pipe dream.”
New Member Featured Profile: August 2016
Say hello to Nathan Horne with SongDivision
Nathan is a recent transplant to Atlanta and a former active member of the MPI Greater New York chapter after having spent the prior seven years working in New York City. Since 2010, he has been a part of the global sales team at SongDivision, a company that helps organizations connect to and communicate with their target audiences using the power of music. They design interactive experiences for global meetings and events including general session openers & closers, team building, experiential marketing, and gala entertainment. As for best practices, Nathan suggests developing an intimate relationship with your Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) and following-up with your clients through hand-written thank you cards.
His colleagues would describe him as organized, direct, and a below average golfer.
Music has been a part of Nathan’s professional career since graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston. Prior to the meetings and events industry, he was a talent agent representing several top tier jazz artists touring across the globe. When he’s not working, he can be found hanging out with his wife and two children… eating toast, planning a dream vacation to Scandinavia, denouncing the use of Times New Roman, and watching Seinfeld reruns. When Nathan was a kid, his father used to say, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Now as an adult, he feels it is “a clever turn of phrase that took years to sink in [and is] an important concept if we want to continue to grow and learn as adults.”
New Member Featured Profile: July 2016
MPI Georgia Chapter welcomes Betsy from Georgia State University’s Perimeter College who joined us while enrolled as a student in UGA’s Event and Meeting Management program. In her current position, she is at times the grease and at other times the wheel. As a coordinator, Betsy fosters smooth operations within her team as they “roll along the office and college logistics and operations trail.” Based on her work experience, Betsy cautions about agreeing to do too much in a short time frame; however, she also recommends as a best practice reviewing the next day prior to closing the current day. “It helps me to refresh my "to-do" list.”
Betsy has traveling on the horizon as her upcoming family reunion will be held in Savannah’s historic district. She also dreams of vacationing in the locale with a mountains at her back and a hypnotizing body of water is in front of her. San Francisco, CA and Hiawassee, GA are two places that call her name.
A piece of advice Betsy will never forget: “Don't take any wooden nickels. Choose who/what you will serve. Be a light. Look for the light.”
New Member Featured Profile: April 2016
MPI Georgia Chapter welcomes Jennifer who comes to us from the Athens Tech Foundation. The Athens Tech Foundation is a mission driven non-profit organization that partners with Athens Technical College and with the community to build the workforce of today and for the future. With her B.A. in Business Marketing and Management from the University of North Georgia, Jennifer continued her professional development by enrolling in the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education Event and Meeting Management Certificate Program. While enrolled in this program, several meeting industry professionals introduced her to Georgia MPI.
She is passionate about development work and finding out what makes people want to give. She states, “some do not even know that they want to give and being able to help them realize that every gift whether it be the gift of influence, gift of inspiration, or gift of support in monetary form can do so much to help the lives of our students and staff of Athens Technical College.” Outside of her professional world, she enjoys coaching a little league team, supporting her local chamber of commerce, and traveling. Her next destination will be a location filled with history.
“When I travel, I want to go somewhere I have never been before and experience the culture and history that the destination has to offer. I learn new and exciting things when I travel and try to incorporate what I learn into event ideas.”
New Member Featured Profile: January 2016
MPI Georgia welcomes Danielle who comes to us from the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort on the island of Curacao in the Dutch Caribbean. She currently manages Group Sales for the Southeast and Southwest territories along with weddings. Prior to assuming her current role in July 2015, she spent the last four years with VailResorts representing properties in Jamaica (Half Moon), St. Lucia (The Landings), Costa Rica, Miami, the Bahamas (Bimini), and the Dominican Republic. Her coworkers see her as the “local authority of the Caribbean” with her incredible knowledge base.
A traveler at heart, Danielle dreams of renting a catamaran and visiting several Caribbean beaches throughout the islands. In fact, her next vacation is already planned for Curacao. More than 20 families will be joining Danielle and her husband with their two children for a week-long adventure. She travels because it is important to her believing that “experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.”
Danielle’s advice for living a fulfilling life, “if it’s important to you, you make the time.”
New Member Featured Profile: December 2015
Submitted by Ginger Garner, CMP, The College Board
Sara is a sales manager covering the Georgia corporate market at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. She graduated from Georgia Southern University with a BS in Hotel & Restaurant Management and a minor in Business Administration. After graduation, she began her career in hospitality at the Georgia Tech; however, she left after two years in search of additional experience at a different property. Just shy of a year, she returned to the Hotel and Conference Center in a sales role. What a great fit because she truly loves her job focus and the people with whom she works.
As an avid and spontaneous traveler, she often does not plan her trips in advance but instead sets annual resolution for herself to visit a set number of cities. In 2015, she exceeded her goal of 12 cities actually traveling to 17 including Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami and Vancouver. In the coming year, her sights are set on more international destinations and hopefully Greece will make the list as it is her dream vacation.
New Member Featured Profile: October 2015
Submitted by Ginger Garner, CMP, The College Board
Eileen Roehl of Murfree Group connected Chris with MPI GA as they were both members of the Dunwoody Toastmasters Club. When Chris decided to make a career change in 2013, Eileen invited him to attend an event where he made numerous network contacts.
As an avid tennis player, Chris applies the following mantra to both work and tennis matches: “one point at a time.” His coworkers would best describe him as hard working, persistent, and adorable. Let’s hope he can share these characteristics with the world as his dream vacation is to circumnavigate the world and visit unique and exotic locales.
New Member Featured Profiles: September 2015
Working for Savanah Lodging, Jan leads a talented team representing two hotels in the Savannah Historical District – Hampton Inn by Hilton and Holiday Inn Express. Prior to joining the Savannah Lodging team, she was in the broadcast news industry for 34 years, most recently as a news director for the local CBS station, She has a BA in Journalism/Broadcasting from the University of Maine.
Sabria joins the MPI Georgia chapter with 10 years of luxury hospitality experience in New York, Boston, and most recently Washington D.C.
New Member Featured Profiles: August 2015
Kim Zane Dodson
Anna Corley, CMP
Anna comes to the MPI Georgia chapter having spent four years planning meetings with the Ernst & Young Atlanta office, concentrating on their Florida market. She organizes events held in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and Boca Raton. She will be heading to Palm Springs, California to support one of the firm’s largest and most prestigious events, the EY Strategic Growth Forum®, consisting of over 2,000 entrepreneurs of Fortune 500 companies gathered for a week of learning with seminars featuring celebrity entrepreneurs.
Thank you to our newest volunteer, and July 2015 featured new member, Ginger Garner, CMP, Lead Meeting Planner at The College Board. Ginger was introduced as a new member last quarter and has now taken on the role of columnist for our New Member featured section. Talk about a volunteer success story! We appreciate you, Ginger.
New Member Featured Profiles: July 2015
Todd Deas has over 20 years of experience as a marketing communications professional serving small to mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies in the telecommunications, technology, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and financial industries. His expertise has driven business and consumer marketing programs, as well as launched new products and services for major corporations.
Virginia "Ginger" Garner, CMP
Ginger manages national conferences and regional workshops for the Middle States and New England regions of the College Board, a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. The College Board has been her professional home for almost 14 years. She has a B.A. in Sociology from Georgia State University and is currently pursuing her masters in hospitality administration from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Welcome to our New Members as well as some familiar friends who have recently renewed their membership.Please look for the New Member ribbons at upcoming events so you can say hello to these hoteliers, CVB representatives, students, suppliers, and planners.
New Member Featured Profiles: June 2015