Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

May 13 2015

Panel and Pizza Party at Purdue Prepares Future Professionals

Jenna Blandi, Chair, and Molly Witges, CMP, Vice Chair, GMC Student Membership Committee

On April 22, a group of industry professionals joined about 50 hospitality students for an interactive panel and pizza party at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue officially created a PCMA student chapter in the fall of 2014 and has been active in GMC PCMA student events. The April event provided a great opportunity for students to ask questions, hear real-life stories from hospitality professionals, and get one-on-one advice in a more casual atmosphere. The students were also tasked with planning the event by securing the venue, photography, and catering, which provided valuable hands-on experience.

The panel represented many facets of the industry from convention bureau operations and sales, general services, third party meeting management, and association meeting planners. Although the event was only scheduled for two hours, it lasted an additional hour because of continued discussions with the students.

With this event’s success, the Student Membership Committee is working to create more regional spring programs targeting PCMA member schools in areas such as Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin, in addition to the Annual Fall Student Day held in Chicago each year.


A big thank you to our panelists Doug Bennett (Director of Sales/Central Division, Global Experience Specialists - GES); Lori Halterman (Corporate/Destination Sales Manager, Visit Indy); Leonard Hoops (President and CEO, Visit Indy); and Bill Martin (Strategic Sales Executive, Experient) for their help with this event.

About the Authors



Jenna Blandi is Meetings and Exhibits Coordinator at the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. She chairs GMC’s Student Membership Committee.


Molly Witges

Molly Witges, CMP is Senior Manager, Conference Services, at the American Dental Association. She is the Vice Chair of GMC’s Student Membership Committee.

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