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2020 Changemakers

15 innovators making a difference in a fast-changing meetings environment

MeetingsNet’s annual Changemaker list recognizes outstanding meetings professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways.

This has been a year of extraordinary disruptions for meeting and incentive travel planners, and of course hotels, destination management companies, and other industry suppliers. And so, as our call for nominations for the 2020 Changemakers went out to readers in April at the peak of the coronavirus, we wondered what would come back to us. It’s hard to make positive change for your organization and your industry in a lockdown; were people  consumed with simply getting by? 

It didn’t take long to get our answer. Read on to be inspired by people making a difference in large and small ways: creatively supporting their employees through the crisis, executing a zero-food-waste event, building a new mental-health foundation, pivoting to digital (in a week!), bringing whole-person initiatives into the virtual environment, and much more. MeetingsNet salutes the innovators and leaders on our 2020 Changemakers list.

Alicia Aebersold
Chief Communications Officer, American Psychological Association

Faustine Chan
Business Innovation Manager, Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest

Colleen Creighton
Chief Executive Officer, American Association of Suicidology

David D’Eletto
Managing Partner, Meeting Alliance

Desiree Hamilton
Operations Manager, Global Events, Cisco 

Dale Hudson, CED 
Knowledge and Events Director , IMEX Group

Heather Mason 
CEO & Founder, Caspian Agency 

Deana Mitchell, CMP, DMCP
Founder, Realize Colorado, a Global DMC Partner

Kate Patay, CPCE
Chief Strategy Officer, Patay Consulting , Chair, SEARCH Foundation

Milton Rivera
Vice President of Global Business Development, American Express Meetings and Events, American Express Global Business Travel

Jackie Suggitt
Stakeholder Engagement Director, ReFED 

Ralph D. Weaver
Founding President & CEO, East West Connection

Nancy Blizzard White
Senior Meeting Manager, Planning, Wings Unlimited Inc.

Becky Williams, CMP
Assistant Director, Education and Meetings, Society of Surgical Oncology

Amy Zellmer, SMMC
Vice President Meetings + Incentives, Formerly of GMR Marketing LLC


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