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Sippin With Students
March 15, 2022 @ 4:00 pm– 5:30 pm PDT
You’re invited! Please join us on Tuesday, March 15th, at 4:00 pm PST, 5:00 pm Arizona Time for the PCMA Southwest & Pacific Chapter – Sippin with Students.
We look forward to seeing you!
Date: Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Time: 4:00 – 5:30pm PST, 5 – 6:30pm Arizona Time
What: Sippin with Students
Where: Zoom (Call-in details will be provided to you upon registration)
Contact for event: Karen Strgacich, Board Member, [email protected]
Meet Our Speakers
Moderator, Karen Strgacich
Director Hotel Sales
Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board
Karen currently works as a National Sales Director for LA Tourism where she works on the Hotel Sales team assisting with bringing meetings and conventions to the over 150 hotels in the Los Angeles area. Karen began her tenure in the industry 30 years ago. In that time she has had the pleasure of working for Hyatt, Sheraton, and Wyndham Hotels. Her destination marketing career started with the Long Beach CVB in 2003. Karen also spent some time on the meeting planner side of the industry during her position as an Area Vice President with HelmsBriscoe in Los Angeles.
Karen has raised two children as a single mother as she navigated her hospitality career, and she spends her free time blogging for single mom sites. Along with her writing partner, she is about to become a published author producing a book on this subject.
A hotel junkie at heart, AJ Arnett gravitated toward a career in hospitality with her first front desk job at the Barton Hills Country Club and Resort. Before joining Visit Phoenix, AJ worked with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in the Dallas and Chicago markets. This year, AJ will celebrate her 10th anniversary with Visit Phoenix. AJ has worn many hats in her time with Visit Phoenix, most recently as Director of National Accounts on the citywide team selling downtown Phoenix hotels and the convention center. In 2018, AJ worked with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee to coordinate the requirements of the hotel package as part of our bid to win the 2023 Super Bowl. She worked in a similar fashion with the Arizona hotel community to execute the College Football Playoff in 2016 and the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2017.
In her spare time, AJ loves to hike the Sonoran Desert trails with her pups Willie Jean and Waylon J.
Gila River Resorts and Casinos
The perfect hybrid of operations and sales, Ryan Moyer’s career in hospitality spans over 37 years. The blend began in operations for one of the largest resorts in the Valley, Arizona Grand. Ryan led the front office team of a 500-room property, through renovations, water park mayhem and many stays from Mr. Mike Tyson for over 13 years. He expanded his potency when he joined the sales team with Gila River Resorts & Casinos. Ryan fills Wild Horse Pass with group convention business by cultivating relationships with key prospects and opportunities.
Outside of the office, Ryan enjoys cheering for the Buckeyes, BBQing and Beers.
Event Sales Manager
Nick’s primary responsibility as an Event Sales Manager at SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park is to sell their various venues on campus for all private events. Ranging from intimate to expansive experiences, the Private Events team is tasked with filling the calendar beyond the standard sporting events and concerts with a central goal of zero dark days!
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Nick moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to attend Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and graduated with a degree in Business Administration (Finance). Armed with a passion for sports and live entertainment, he began his career with his first opportunity in the industry with AEG and joined their Inside Sales Program at the STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE. Nick was responsible for selling Lakers’ suites to Disney on Ice to L.A. LIVE’s flagpole events. Nick quickly developed his sales skills and showcased his ability to successfully pitch the extensive product portfolio at his disposal.
Nick went on to accept the Event Sales position on the L.A. LIVE Events team, a team responsible for putting on some of LA’s most distinguished events such as the GRAMMYs and NBA All-Star Weekend.
Nick has spent the last four years immersing himself in the events industry and prides himself on learning & selling at the highest level. He is passionate about building long-term relationships and consistently delivering an elevated experience for his clients – he believes that starts and ends with your attitude and work-ethic.
Michelle Ocampo, CMP, DES
Senior Conference Planner
2022 PCMA SWP President
Vice President/General Manager
Jay Thomas currently serves as the VP/General Manager for Booking and Talent at Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. He’s been at that position since it’s opening in 2001. Prior to that, he opened and was the Director of Operations for 3 years at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
He began his career at the University of Texas as the Asst. Cultural Arts Coordinator back in 1982. In 1986 he accepted the positions of Open-Air Theatre Manager at San Diego State University where he built and was named the General Manager of the 13,000 seat Cox Arena.
Mr. Thomas has presented more than 3,000 athletic events, concerts, special events and television productions during his career. Most notably, the last 20 Oscars ceremonies, the very first American Idol finale shows, Grammy’s, Latin Grammy’s, Tyler Perry, and Broadway plays.
When asked what his favorite show is? He responds, “The next one”. Jay Thomas as named one of the “Heroes of Hollywood” by the Hollywood Chamber in 2019. He resides in Leona Valley, California with his wife, two children and many, many animals.