In a year punctuated with change and unpredictability, the MEET National Town Hall will wrap up the conference with a stellar line-up of industry experts who will reflect on the topics discussed throughout MEET National, and also delve into the industry’s hottest issues while sharing a peek into the future of the meetings industry.
Moderated by industry veteran and professional moderator/speaker Mike Lyons, the diverse group of distinguished panelists will address subjects such as the new shared economy (with a focus on companies that are disrupting the norms of group business such as Airbnb and Uber), technology, Meetings Mean Business, the impact of the Presidential election, safety & security, and other pressing matters which beg the question “what will it mean to me” and “what will this do to the industry I work in.”
The session will be very interactive, allowing audience members to pose questions via an ARS program in real time. Be sure to mark this conference finale on your schedule.
Panelists include: Roger Dow, President & CEO, U.S. Travel Association | Kevin Hinton, CEO, Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) | Jack Ferguson, Former President & CEO of Philadelphia CVB | Tammy Kockaya, CMP, CMM, Director, Events & Meetings KPMG, and President-Elect – MPI, Potomac Chapter |
Michael Lyons is a Professional Speaker, Actor, Consultant and highly respected veteran of the meetings/travel industry. Prior to going out on his own in 2014, he served as Exhibition Director of the MICE trade show IBTM America, organized by Reed Exhibitions. Mike’s diverse background, spanning 40+ years, includes senior level posts with some of the industry’s best known names. Besides Reed, he has worked for Carlson Wagonlit Travel, EGR International, and was the co-founder and CEO of GEP Philly, a leading DMC in Philadelphia. Over the years Lyons has been an active participant in hospitality industry organizations including PCMA, MPI, GBTA, ISES, HSMAI, SITE and ADMEI. He served on the Board of the Philadelphia CVB from 2004-2012 and on their Marketing and International committees. During those years he was also a member of the Advisory Board of Visit Philadelphia and a two-term VP in the Philly chapter of MPI. As a professional actor, he has numerous credits in major films, television shows and TV commercials. Credits include speaking parts in “The Sixth Sense”, “All My Children”, “Veep” (HBO), “What Would You Do”, “Arrest & Trial”, and Speaker of the House on the popular Netflix series “House of Cards”, among others. As a speaker, he has given talks to numerous groups in the U.S. and abroad on a variety of subjects with a focus on how to enhance your Personal Brand and pursue your passion. For more information on Mike, please go to: www.michaeljlyons.com
Tammy Kockaya, CMP, CMM joined KPMG LLP in 2011 and serves as the Director, Events & Meetings, Atlantic Region. KPMG LLP is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International. With more than 30,000 people, including more than 1,900 partners, KPMG LLP is a leader among professional services firms and provides audit, tax, and advisory services from close to 90 offices covering clients in all 50 states. In this role, Ms. Kockaya leads a team of 12 who are responsible for the production, management, and execution of nearly 450 annual market development and local office events across the Atlantic region and in key markets (Atlanta, Charlotte, Florida, Philadelphia, Washington, DC) with a spend of over $4.5M annually.
Prior to joining KPMG, Ms. Kockaya was Associate Director, Contracting with CEB in Rosslyn, Virginia. Ms. Kockaya joined CEB in 2000 as Chief of Staff, Member Services before joining the Meetings Department as a Meeting Manager in 2001. During her nearly 11-year service at CEB, Ms. Kockaya planned and executed over 60 executive education programs a year, led or participated in numerous department and firm initiatives, was a part of the team which launched the Waterview Conference Center, and served as a team lead and personnel manager in the department.
Ms. Kockaya joined Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Potomac Chapter in 2008 and has been a member of the board of directors since 2010. She is currently the President-Elect for the Potomac Chapter and has served as the Vice President Finance, Vice President Education, Board Director for Leadership, and Board Director for Special Interest Groups. Ms. Kockaya was recognized with the MPI, Potomac Chapter President’s Award in 2013. She has presented to chapter leaders during both the Chapter Business Summit, Chapter Leaders Forum, and has been featured in The Meeting Professional. Since 2014 Ms. Kockaya has served as the Chapter Liaison for the MPI Global Foundation Board of Trustees and is a member of the Chapter and Member Advisory Council.
Prior to joining CEB, Ms. Kockaya worked for three years in the student affairs division of the University of Maryland, College Park and has a Master of Science degree from Western Illinois University in College Student Personnel. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Albion College. Ms. Kockaya holds the designation of Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and has achieved the Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM).
Ms. Kockaya lives in Fairfax, Virginia with her husband, Ali, and their daughter, Olivia (8).
Jack Ferguson, Principal of JPF SOLUTIONS, LLC, provides hospitality consulting to a wide range of businesses and organizations.
Ferguson has more than four decades of experience in the hospitality industry and is known for his energized, can-do leadership style. Ferguson’s vision is centered on three areas: enhancing the customer experience and their desire to purchase, maximizing local, national, and global marketing communications through technology, and educating a workforce on how to increase market share and return on investment.
In January 2016, Ferguson retired as President & CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) after five years leading the company. He previously served as its executive vice president from 2003 until 2010. The PHLCVB is the sales and marketing arm for the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the 14th largest in the country. During Ferguson’s tenure, over $13 billion in future convention business was booked for Philadelphia. The PHLCVB is also responsible for the marketing function as the official global tourism promotion agency for the City of Philadelphia. Under Ferguson’s leadership, Philadelphia experienced positive growth in overseas visitors, moving from the 21st most visited city in the U.S. to the 13th most visited city, including the World Meeting of Families and the Papal visit of Pope Francis in September 2015. Prior to his retirement, Philadelphia became the first WORLD HERITAGE CITY in the United States.
Ferguson served as senior vice president and partner of LearnSystem.com, which delivered web-based training and evaluation in the hospitality industry to improve individual job performance and customer service skills.
Ferguson’s career included leading a national and international sales staff of 2,200 at Promus Hotel Corporation across all brands including Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and Hampton Inns/Suites. He was responsible for the distribution function during his 14 years within the organization impacting the revenue growth of the corporation from $300 million to $5 billion.
Ferguson has held key executive sales and operational management positions with Westin Hotels & Resorts
and Adam’s Mark Hotels & Resorts. Currently, Ferguson serves on advisory boards and committees for Global Philadelphia’s WORLD HERITAGE
CITY, Temple University’s School of Tourism & Hospitality Management, and Widener University’s School of Hospitality. As an industry leader, Ferguson addresses numerous regional, national and international industry groups regarding experiences and trends within the industry. A native Philadelphian, Ferguson received degrees in hotel administration from the University of Nevada,
Las Vegas (UNLV) and Paul Smith’s College in New York. He has continued his executive education
at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. Ferguson and his wife, Jo, reside in Upper Gwynedd, PA. They have three children and three grandchildren.
Kevin leads SITE’s staff team of 15 in supporting their nearly 2000 members worldwide with responsibility for the strategic and operational management of the association as well as the SITE Foundation. He reports to the President of the International Board of Directors. Prior to joining SITE, Kevin served as Executive Vice President in charge of the global sales strategy for Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI). Before ALHI acquired it in January 2011, Kevin was CEO of hinton+grusich, a 20-person national sales organization representing hotels and convention bureaus across North America. Kevin’s career in the hotel business began at the Chicago Hilton & Towers where he worked in various management positions. Kevin also served as Chairman of the International Board of Directors for Meeting Professionals International (MPI) in 2012 and 2013, having served on MPI’s Board for 5 years, and as President of MPI’s Chicago Area Chapter in 2007 and 2008. Kevin holds a Bachelor’s Degree (B.S.) in Finance and German from Marquette University, as well as a Master’s Degree (MBA) from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He lives in Evanston, IL with his wife Claudia and their daughters, Amber and Sophia.
Greg Staley serves as senior vice president of communications for the U.S. Travel Association, which he joined in November 2012, and manages the organization’s external and industry-focused messaging.
Prior to joining U.S. Travel in this capacity, Staley led marketing and communications at DestinationDC, the official convention and tourism corporation for Washington, DC, where he was vicepresident and developed communications, advertising and digital marketing programs that promotedthe nation’s capital for leisure and business travel.
In a previous role at U.S. Travel, he was the association’s senior director of industry communications. Staley, a native Texan, moved to Washington, D.C. in 2006 after serving more than10 years in communications, marketing and tourism sales functions at the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau. He has been active in the travel industry for 20 years, including involvement with the Dallas/FortWorth Area Tourism Council, where he chaired its media committee; Texas Tourism marketing committee; IPW (formerly International Pow Wow); and the Public Relations Society of America.
Staley holds a Master of Science degree in communications from Texas Christian University (TCU)and a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations from Abilene Christian University. He and his wifereside in Washington, D.C. with their daughter.