People in the News

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May 26, 2021
Hubb CEO Allie Magyar knows first-hand what it’s like to face gender discrimination and unconscious bias in the technology world. In the early days of the event software company, she remembers being consistently asked to explain how she wouldn’t fail rather than how she would succeed, an over-arching attitude made more apparent by the prevalence of male-led companies able to raise large sums of money while female-led companies struggled to get investors. While she never let the naysayers stop her from turning Hubb into a successful event management platform, she still experiences the… more
Matt Coyne Launches Twigged to Ease Registration Pains
May 19, 2021
Not long ago, Matt Coyne found himself registering for an event. There’s nothing remarkable about that for the U.K.-based industry veteran. It was a show Coyne has attended for 15 consecutive years, and yet here he was basically starting from scratch signing up for a show. Again, this is a relatively common, if aggravating, occurrence among all event attendees. Yet the timing was right that starting over for the 15th time at one event struck a nerve. “I just wanted to register and be done,” he said. With the pandemic regrettably providing Coyne — well-regarded for his time at GES and ASP… more
May 18, 2021
Ask Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority, what inspired her to pursue a career in the hospitality and destination marketing industries and she’ll point to a high school waitressing job that taught her the art of taking care of people. “I’ve always had this A-type personality, so…I was always focused on taking orders correctly, ensuring hot food was served hot and cold food cold, but I also enjoyed helping people make memories whether they came in for a special birthday, graduation, vacation or night away from the kids,” she explains. “I knew the customer service… more
JUNO Continues Expansion as New Era of Events Emerge
May 14, 2021
JUNO, a leading software company distinguishing itself in the virtual/hybrid era, has brought LaDonna Whitaker on board as vice president of sales. The hire is the latest in a series of moves Juno is making to bolster its leadership as the events industry moves past the COVID-19 lockdown and into a new frontier of engagement. Whitaker arrives at JUNO from Virgin America, a company that rose in prominence under the guidance of her team. Among Whitmaker’s many impressive firsts in a career leading travel’s intersection with technology, Whitaker was the first sales associate hired for Experdia’… more
May 13, 2021
The hiring craze continues across the trade show and events industry, as organizations appoint new leadership, make promotions and grow their workforces. Could this be a sign of boom times ahead?  CampfireSocial Social network and ecommerce SaaS platform CampfireSocial has appointed 25-year industry veteran Steve Gebhart as Chief Information Officer. Gebhart will spearhead the company’s product strategy, technology development and innovation pipeline, and work closely with customers, end users and other members of the leadership team. Gebhart comes to CampfireSocial after consulting on the… more
May 04, 2021
Detroit’s TCF Center has landed a new general manager. On April 19, Larry Alexander, board chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority announced that Karen Totaro has been tapped by ASM Global to lead the convention center. In her new role, Totaro will be responsible for the overall management, promotion and operation of the facility, leading its team of professionals, building on key industry partnerships in the community and supporting the overall mission of the TCF Center and the DRCFA.  “Karen Totaro is the right person at the right time to take the TCF Center back to… more
Trade Show Journalist, Editor-in-chief Michael Hart Passes Away
Mar 30, 2021
Michael Hart, best known as the editor-in-chief for Tradeshow Week, died on March 12 at age 67, after a valiant, but tragic battle with cancer. "I am very sorry to hear of Michael's passing," said Rachel Wimberly, TSNN President and Tarsus, US, EVP of Business Development. "Michael was a passionate advocate of the trade show industry overall. He also was a meticulous editor, who I learned a tremendous amount from during our time working together at Tradeshow Week magazine."  Michael attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., graduating from Raymond College, and as a… more
AEM Veteran Michelle Sanford Passes Away from Cancer
Apr 23, 2021
Michelle Sanford, a mainstay with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers for more than 27 years, passed away on April 19 from cancer. She was 52 years old. Sanford rose the ranks from administrative assistant in 1993 to her most recent role of director of contract and vendor management, in which oversaw operations for AEM’s many trade shows, including CONEXPO-CON/AGG, The Utility Expo, AG Connect and World of Asphalt. Fittingly, Sanford became engaged at CONEXPO-CON/AGG — one of the largest trade shows in the world — in 2005. “For more than 20 years, Michelle was a bright asset to the… more
Tech Giants: Aventri CEO Jim Sharpe Shares Four Keys to Hybrid Events
Apr 21, 2021
One of the driving factors that led Jim Sharpe to become CEO of leading events platform Aventri was that he saw a chance to work within an industry about to undergo a technological revolution. That was in January 2020. “I didn’t appreciate what that meant,” said Sharpe, who had a grand total of six weeks to become acclimated with events before COVID-19 turned the world on its head. A newbie to the MICE industry, Sharpe was previously responsible for tech-enabled services at companies like Gerson Lehrman Group and Standard Purification. “More than anything, I leveraged my experience as a CEO… more
Apr 15, 2021
As hope returns to the event industry in the form of smaller trade shows and conventions beginning to resume, event-related organizations are making new hires, promoting team members and creating new positions as they prepare to expand their business. Take a look: Worldwide venue management and services company ASM Global has appointed live events and leisure industry veteran Ron Bension as its president and CEO. Bension brings more than four decades of experience to his new role, including at Live Nation as president of House of Blues Entertainment, as well as president and CEO roles across… more

Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: