Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 01 2015

First Half-Day Program is a Success

Jennifer Holt, CMP, GMC Communications Committee
Over 200 planners and suppliers attended the GMC’s Spring Educational Program and Luncheon on Thursday, March 19, at the Loews Chicago Hotel to learn about personal branding.

Conor Cunneen, IrishmanSpeaks, opened the day with his insightful and inspirational address showing us that everyone can adopt and adapt The Gift of G.A.B. (Goals, Attitude & Behavior) to create a brand experience. This happy Irishman combined wit and wisdom and left us with memorable implementable ideas to grow our personal, business or event brand. Key points included the need to have clear goals and a clear vision of what success looks like, and that your behavior creates your brand and what people say about you.

The keynote speaker was Sima Dahl, who founded Sway Factory to help sales leaders, independent agents, business owners and corporate staffs harness the power of social media to build brands and generate sales. Sima taught us about the 4 C’s of social branding – Community, Content, Conversation and Conversion. Sima focused on the power of personal branding to achieve greater career success by inspiring you to identify your strengths, declare your aspirations, and use intentional networking to pursue your passion. You can follow Sima on LinkedIn at Linked.in/simasays or on twitter at @simasays.


Leana Salamah, Senior Director for the National Restaurant Association, brought 17 years of experience to this month’s educational program and shared her role as the head of marketing, communications and programming for the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show and BAR at NRA Show. Leana discussed how she incorporates the attendees’ personal brands to build an event brand.



Billy Dec, Emmy Award Winning TV/Radio Contributor, Attorney at Law and CEO/Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, was our final speaker. He discussed personal branding and its impact on business branding. Billy shared how he has cultivated his own personal brand through entrepreneurship, promotion and philanthropy and parlayed that into a strong, successful and engaging brand for Rockit Ranch Productions and all of the venues it manages.

The event ended with a fun networking reception and member celebration.

Thank you to everyone who attended and to all of our sponsors for making the spring program a great success!

Sidebar: What the Attendees Thought

Some of the attendees shared their takeaways from the program. What were yours?

Conor Cunneen - Build Your Brand Through the Gift of GAB (Goals, Attitude, Behavior)
“Conor is a fantastic speaker and emcee! He kept all attendees’ attention throughout the educational event with his high-energy and comedic personality. Furthermore, Conor did a great job of incorporating spirited examples of exemplary brand experiences while providing insight on fortifying one’s own professional image.” – Michael Steffen, National Sales Manager, San Diego Tourism Authority

“Boy, those Irishmen can talk…but seriously – attitude is a choice and behavior is, too.” – Jeff Holcomb, Senior Convention Sales Manager, Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau

Sima Dahl - Personal Branding for Professional Success
“Sima’s presentation on personal branding IS A MUST for anyone seeking assistance with marketing and branding via social media outlets such as LinkedIn.” – Michael Steffen

“I immediately polished up my LinkedIn profile and will think more about what lasting impression I present to people.” – Jeff Holcomb

Leana Salamah – Using Your Attendees’ Personal Brands to Build Your Event Brand
“Whether it’s managing a convention or selling a destination – it’s selling a “setting” as an opportunity to create an experience.” – Jeff Holcomb

Billy Dec – Personal Branding and its Impact on Business Branding
“If you want to get something done, ask a busy person.” – Jeff Holcomb

“Enjoyed Billy Dec telling his personal life story. It was great to hear a young man who took his passions and enjoyment of people to build a career not even realizing he built a brand. Then realized he needed to “fine tune” his brand so went back to school to figure it out. Since then he has had many success stories, all while enjoying life with a smile on his face!” - Donna Bongiovanni, Director of Strategic Accounts, Americas, Hyatt


About the Author:

Jennifer Holt, CMP, is Sales Manager, Group, for Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino. She is a member of the GMC Communications Committee.

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