top of page
Design Book


SWS23 Jumpstart Session
7:15-8:15 a.m.


How Does a Hotel Evaluate Your Business?
Shaun Yates, Director of Sales, Kalahari
How does a hotel determine the value of your event? What do you need to convey to them in this seller’s market to get a “yes” to your contract offer? Join Shaun Yates, Director of Sales with Kalahari Resorts in Round Rock, as he explains what the hotel is looking for, how potential business is evaluated, and what the hotel’s revenue management team looks at. You’ll leave with a better understanding of what you need to do to successfully place your event in the hotel of your choice. 
Download the presentation.

Sessions – 9:45-10:45 a.m.

Creativity on a Compressed Timeline
Heather Munnell, Director of Client Experience, VDA

The exponential rate of speed-to-market is putting pressure on creative event design—from sourcing, menus and event flow to activations, travel and accommodations. The compressed timeline puts a strain on our creativity. Join this direct and open discussion on how to combat these issues. Learner outcomes:

  • Strategize how to back into timeline needs for event design.

  • Communicate pathways to facilitate ideas more quickly and efficiently.

  • Identify the industry’s current hurdles and how to turn them into solutions.

    Download the presentation.


The Event Industry’s Latest Challenge: Finding Enough Labor
Corey Greenwood, Events & Exhibitor Services Manager, Austin Convention Center
Toni Lira, Texas Area Director of Sales, Hilton Worldwide Sales
Philip Prasek, Assistant Director of Client Relationships, Freeman Audio Visual 
George Rojas, Director of Staffing & Development, RK Group

Having survived Covid, the event industry is now facing another challenge: finding sufficient labor. Hotels, convention centers, audio visual companies, catering departments, general service contractors – all are scrambling to find sufficient workers to meet the pent-up demand from clients trying to put on conferences, meetings and expos. Meeting planners are also dealing with this issue, from finding enough staff for their own offices to exhibitors who can’t buy a booth in the expo because they don’t have enough sales reps. Come to this panel of industry veterans to share challenges and solutions with your fellow planners, find out about the things to watch out for as a planner, see how planners and suppliers can assist one another with the labor challenges, and learn how to address expectations for everyone involved in the process.


The Metaverse & Meetings: Defining a New Reality
Stephen Nold, Co-Founder & CEO, HubDM

The metaverse is the next iteration of the internet. According to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, “It is a virtual environment, where you can be present with people in virtual spaces . . . an embodied internet that you are inside of instead of just looking at.” Prepared or not, the metaverse is on a collision course with the events industry. With some industries such as gaming and entertainment, the metaverse is already changing the way people connect and interact on virtual platforms. In this presentation, technology expert Stephen Nold will define and describe what the metaverse is and what it is not, how it will impact face-to-face marketing, and how meeting planners and organizers need to prepare for the future. Audience take-aways include:


  • Defining and recognizing the metaverse

  • How the metaverse will impact the events community

  • Where the digital ecosystem will intersect with events and audiences

  • Creating immersive experiences

    Download the presentation.


Negotiating the Win-Win
Alice Shikina, Mediator, Negotiation Coach, Speaker, and Author

A negotiation is a strategic discussion that resolves an issue in a way that both parties find acceptable. People negotiate every day, often without realizing that’s what they are doing. Negotiations occur in organizations, governments, in sales and legal proceedings, and in personal situations such as marriage, parenting, and friendship. Alice Shikina will go over basic strategies and techniques for negotiators. She will explain why deep listening is critical to the process and how people can control their own and other’s reactions, since strong emotions can quickly derail a deal in the making. She brings interactivity to the session via role-play and observations on the give-and-take of the process. Participants will leave with a better sense of their own listening skills, recognize how to negotiate more strategically, and understand leverage and how to create it. Come away from your next negotiation knowing you achieved the best deal possible for your organization. 
Download the presentation.

Sessions – 11:00 a.m.-Noon

Communicate Like Duct Tape
Karen Cortell Reisman

Do you want to be more compelling in the way you communicate –  in person, virtually or digitally? In this humorous and content-filled program you’ll gain specific strategies to really get heard above the noise. (And there’s lots of noise.) Karen Cortell Reisman will explain how to communicate in a way that is memorable, and helps you gain traction with prospects, colleagues and clients. Come learn how to be stickier (like duct tape). Benefits/Objectives include:


  • Know how to say what you want to say.

  • Communicate using her proven Speak For Yourself® best practices.

  • Gain a step-by-step understanding of story telling principles.

    Download the presentation.


Why Your Destination’s CVB Should Always Be Your First Stop
Joe Bedsole, Director of the Austin-based office of the Arlington CVB
Lisa Grinstead, Sales Manager, Visit Lubbock
Ray Valles, Senior Convention Sales Manager, Destination El Paso

Planning meetings and events is a complex job with lots of moving parts. Most meeting planners would agree that working with a top-notch convention and visitors bureau (CVB) can have a big impact on the success of an event. Our panel of expert bureau representatives will explain why you’ll want to make your destination’s CVB your first stop. It’s a long list! Just a few of the many reasons you will want to reach out to them: they are your personal team of destination experts, your bridge to vendors in the area, a source of abundant ideas for offsite activities, and they provide access to promotional resources. And best of all, not only are their services free, many now have multiple opportunities to assist in offsetting costs with state or city grants. Come and learn the many ways large and small that a CVB can have a big impact on the success of your meeting. Download the presentation.

Negotiating T.A.C.T.I.C.A.L. Event Contracts
Heather Reid, Founder & CEO, Planner Protect, Inc. 

Since COVID-19 hit the global stage in March 2020, event contracts have been put under the microscope like never before. Now more than ever event contracts are fraught with laborious legal language and challenging clauses. Failing to understand and negotiate balanced and thorough event contracts can literally put your event in harm’s way. This session is designed to serve two purposes: first, to define and unpack the T.A.C.T.I.C.A.L.© contract clauses that have always been necessary to create balanced contracts; and second, to discuss the event contract lessons learned in the wake of COVID-19. 
Download the presentation.

Site Selection – The Questions You Didn’t Think To Ask
Liz Hundley, Department Chair, Meeting & Event Planning at Austin Community College 
Pictures are worth 1000 words, but site visits are worth more!  Standing in a space and imagining your event can bring out important questions.  Is the meeting room carpet going to be purple, gold and blue when you arrive in two years?  Is there any construction planned over your event dates? Are there union rules or venue-specific requirements you need to know about? Just how soundproof are the airwalls? Site inspections are more than just deciding whether or not you like the space. Successful site inspections — the ones chock full of thoughtful questions and specific requests — require that we ask questions and assess responses so that we come away with confidence in the venues we are considering. Join us to sharpen your checklist and share a few great site visit questions, so you don’t have to learn them the hard way.   


Download the presentation.    

Download the questions.

bottom of page