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Webinar: Case Study: Assessing Your Event’s Best Option

April 7, 2020 @ 1:00 pm2:00 pm CDT


The future of events is changing rapidly, and a decision needs to be made for upcoming 2020 events. Akshar Patel of Asian American Hotel Owners Association and Shannon Watson of Rotary International have both experienced a disruption to their 2020 events due to COVID-19. Join them as they discuss the considerations made when deciding on how to move forward with their respective meetings and the final decision for each of their organizations.

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Speaker: Akshar Patel
Akshar Patel is the vice president of conventions at AAHOA where he is responsible for the planning and executive of the AAHOA Convention and Trade Show, the largest gathering of hotel owners and vendors in the country. The 2019 convention in San Diego, Calif. drew over 8,100 attendees and is the largest event in the association’s 30-year history.

Prior to his role directing the convention and trade show, Akshar served as AAHOA’s senior director of events where he oversaw the planning and management of nearly 200 events consisting of regional meetings, townhalls, and education workshops on an annual basis.

Before joining AAHOA in 2015, Akshar worked in events management including a leadership role at the historic Intercontinental The Willard Washington D.C. He currently serves as an advisory board member on the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, the Fort Worth Customer Advisory Board, and Shepard Exposition Services. In 2019, Connect Association Magazine named Akshar one of its 40 Under 40 events industry professionals. Akshar holds a degree in marketing from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Speaker: Shannon Watson
Shannon has worked in in meetings & expositions for more than 20 years. She worked for the Association of Fundraising Professionals from 1998-2007, and the Solar Energy Industries Association from 2007-2015 as its Director of Meetings & Education. She joined the staff of Rotary International in March 2015, and is responsible for all conception, strategy, planning and implementation of Rotary International’s events. She served as membership co-chair of the Association of Meeting Professionals in 2003-2004 and served as chair of the Meetings and Expositions Council for the American Society of Association Executives from 2006-2007.

Education and Certifications: B.A. in English and Speech Communications from the University of Richmond, Richmond, VA. Graduated with Highest Honors from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY. Certified Meeting Professional since 2000, Certified Association Executive since 2010

Fun Fact: Shannon’s professional background includes paying gigs as: pastry chef, poker tournament director, costume designer, and actor.



April 7, 2020
1:00 pm– 2:00 pm
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