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Beth Ziesenis, Your Nerdy Best Friend 

Have you ever wondered if there IS an app for that? Our keynote speaker has the answer.  


Meet Your New Nerdy Best Friend... Beth Z: Author. Speaker. Nerd. Since her first Motorola RAZR flip phone, Beth has made a verb out of the word "nerd." She’s here to help you filter through thousands of apps, gadgets, widgets and doodads to find the perfect free and bargain technology tools for work and home. Although the only real trophy she ever won was for making perfect French fries at McDonald’s in high school, Beth Z has been featured on Best Speaker lists by several organizations who write best speaker lists. She has written a whole shelf of books on apps and has spoken to more than 100 thousand audience members just like you. And if you're puzzling over why she goes by "Beth Z"... it's because she only finds about three people a year who can pronounce her last name.


"Discover Your Technology Psychology"

Beth Ziesenis, Your Nerdy Best Friend 

8:30am - 9:30am

Kalahari Ballroom: Salons A-E 

When you discover a new tech tool, do you sign right up? Sit back and wait? Shake your head?


More than 130,000 new apps hit mobile platforms every month, and thousands of new startups target us with ads...all promising to be the best tech you've ever used. And the subconscious way you approach new tech can greatly impact the way you can leverage today's biggest advancements.


Join Beth Z, Your Nerdy Best Friend, to discover your Technology Psychology. You'll  take a self assessment to find out your Technology Psychology Persona to help you understand the benefits and limitations of your approach to new technology. You'll see the new tech world from other perspectives so you can understand why it's so tough to get everyone on the same digital page when it comes to tech solutions. 


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Joel Zeff, The TAO of Ta Da!  

Joel Zeff creates energy. His spontaneous humor and vital messages have thrilled audiences for almost 25 years. As a national workplace expert, speaker, author and humorist, Joel captivates audiences with a unique blend of hilarious improvisational comedy and essential ideas on work and life. He has shared his experience and insight on collaboration, leadership, change, communication, innovation, fun and passion at more than 2,500 events. His book, Make the Right Choice: Creating a Positive, Innovative and Productive Work Life is consistently listed as one of the top work/life balance books on Amazon. He has appeared on CNBC and featured in the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, The Kansas City Star, and many other media outlets. For more information, visit his web site at

"The TA DA of Teamwork: Succeeding During Change and Disruption"

Joel Zeff
12:15 – 1:30 pm

Kalahari Ballroom: Salons A-E 

We are all improvising. We face challenges, disruption, change, and obstacles without a script or rehearsal. To find success, we need to work together, build trust, and create

opportunity. During this session, Joel will discuss how the tenets of improvisation create

successful teams during change and disruption. Joel has spent the past 30 years

performing and teaching the lessons of improvisation. 


This interactive, engaging and hilarious session will focus on staying in the game; facing fear; building trust, and asking the important question, “How do I help the people around me be successful?” Joel will also bring his famous TA DA energy as he discusses the importance of opportunity, positive support, and active listening in collaboration. Yes, you will have fun and laugh during this session. You will also learn how to collaborate more successfully as a team, and navigate change. Are you ready for the TA DA?


This session will focus on:

1. Creating opportunity and positive support for your team.

2. Making the choice to “be in the moment.”

3. How to Stay in the Game when faced with challenges, change and disruption.

4. Thrive during change by making the choice to be prepared and open and flexible.

5. Fueling your passion and reducing stress.


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“2024 Event Technology Trends & Creating Immersive Experiences”

Janean Feller, Director of Accounts - ATX Event Systems

Anthony Mccoy, Director of Production - ATX Event Systems

Kick start your day by getting the creative juices flowing. We'll explore the latest trends in AV production and discover innovative ways to craft unforgettable experiences for your attendees. Dive into discussions on creating standout and memorable events, leveraging technology to enhance engagement, and brainstorming creative event concepts. Don't miss out on this opportunity to stay ahead in the dynamic landscape of event planning.

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“Everything You Need to Know About ChatGPT: The Hottest (and Scariest) Technology”


Beth Ziesenis, Your Nerdy Best Friend 

In late 2022, a plain little website shared a free “Research Preview” of ChatGPT, and the world as we know it changed forever.


ChatGPT can write whole essays from a simple text prompt, formulate 100 social media post ideas from a single sentence, create computer code with just a description and compose poetry and songs in any artist's style in milliseconds. It'll create a summary from a long legal document, recommend resources for research and, by the time you sign up for this session, maybe even make your bed and bring you coffee.


Join Your Nerdy Best Friend for an overview of everything you need to know about ChatGPT and its AI cousins but were afraid to ask. This session answers the questions...


  • Where did ChatGPT technology come from?

  • How does it work?

  • What can it do?

  • How can it help you do your job better?

  • Who does it hurt?

  • And, most importantly... How far can it go?

“What Goes Up—Inflation, Meetings, and Contracts”

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Dr. Tyra Warner, PhD, JD, CMP, College of Coastal Georgia

How can you effectively negotiate for and plan meetings today when you can’t realistically gauge future costs? Inflation has made the process of contracting for goods and services and planning meetings a challenge, both for planners and suppliers.  With costs for food, air, rooms, shipping, labor, and other expenses rising, hard choices are having to be made for meetings and meeting contracts.  Where contract specificity worked before, flexibility may be a better approach now.  How to negotiate and who to negotiate with may be different than in pre-pandemic days.  Both suppliers and planners are implementing new strategies to protect their bottom line in today’s uncertain economy. 

●  Discuss tactics for planning meetings within budget when cost escalation is a realistic concern.

●  Implement negotiation strategies that take inflation and fluctuations in supply chain and travel costs into consideration for both parties.

●  Evaluate contract language that allows for adjustments by one or the other party in response to supply and demand issues.

“Easy Ways Your Exhibitors and Sponsors Can Help You Increase Attendance”

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Robyn Davis, CPTD, CEM, Exhibitors WINH, LLC

Everyone wins when the right professionals attend your trade show, especially your exhibitors/sponsors... that's why attendee acquisition is the perfect initiative to get them even more engaged with your event and community!


So, instead of struggling through this process on your own (again), get the advice you need to boost your confidence and amplify your efforts (yes - even if your resources are limited).


Specifically, in this fast-paced, interactive session, you will learn from our favorite trade show trainer, Robyn at Exhibitors WINH, and collaborate with your peers to:


  • List a variety of easy ways your exhibitors/sponsors can help you identify, invite, and encourage the right professionals to attend your event

  • Compile quick tips and fresh ideas to (not only!) motivate your exhibitors/sponsors to contribute, but also empower them to maximize their related efforts

  • Prepare to implement your favorite takeaways with time for brainstorming and "practice"

  • Address other top-of-mind challenges and questions, noting relevant resources where appropriate

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“From the Call to the Stage: Implementing a Speaker Management System”

Donna Harbers, CMP, Texas Apartment Association 

You’ve been tasked with finding great speakers for your upcoming event. Where do you start? Should you do a Call for Presentations? Use a contract? How much do you need to communicate with the speakers leading up to the event? Join us in this informative session as we walk you through the critical steps to ensure a seamless journey from the initial search to a standing ovation-worthy presentation. From meticulous preparation to flawless execution, this session equips you with the tools and strategies to elevate your event to new heights.

“Handling Difficult Conversations”

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Alice Shikina, Shikina Mediation and Arbitration

Conflict in today's world is inevitable. Conflict is not necessarily a negative thing. It is a place where learning and problem-solving can occur, if the parties possess the skills to deftly handle and resolve conflict confidently. In Handling Difficult Conversations, negotiation coach and mediator, Alice Shikina, goes over the steps necessary in order to effectively handle sensitive conversations in the workplace. She will also touch upon how people should approach conflict resolution with aplomb and ease.


Participants will: 

1. Learn the steps to approaching difficult conversations

2. Understand WHY deep listening is so important

3. Learn how to use empathy in discussions

4. Learn how to effectively problem-solve

5. Realize the importance of patience in conflict resolution and difficult conversations

6. Understand how heightened emotions play a role in difficult conversations

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Angela Feinstein, CMP, HelmsBriscoe

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Amy Brown, Visit Fort Worth

“Building Partnerships for Success”


Angela Feinstein, CMP, HelmsBriscoe



Amy Brown, Visit Fort Worth 

Ronika Nash, CEM, Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE)

Owais Shaikh, Shepard Exposition Services

In today's interconnected world, collaboration is not just a buzzword; it's the key to achieving ambitious goals and making a real impact. Join us for an insightful panel discussion on the importance of collaboration and building partnerships for success.


Our panel of experts, thought leaders, and industry professionals will share their experiences and insights on how collaboration can drive innovation, foster growth, and lead to successful outcomes in various sectors. We will explore the power of partnerships in business, education, non-profits, and beyond, highlighting the transformative effects of working together towards a common goal.

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Ronika Nash, CEM

Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE)

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Owais Shaikh

Shepard Exposition Services

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Andrea Elizondo, CMP, CMM

 Association of Texas Professional Educators 

“The Anatomy of Event Management”

Andrea Elizondo, CMP, CMM, Association of Texas Professional Educators 

Meaghan Rhame, CMP, Texas Self Storage Association 

Embarking on a successful event management journey requires more than just creativity and enthusiasm; it demands a meticulous and strategic approach using project management basics and key documents to organize your staff, vendors, and yourself. 


This presentation will outline best practices event planners and managers can implement to successfully execute a well-rounded event including venue Request for Proposals, timelines, and function sheets. Join us to get on the right track to successfully execute your event and leave with sample documents and templates to implement today.


Meaghan Rhame, CMP
Texas Self Storage Association

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“How Do You Design Like a Designer on a Shoestring Budget?”

Cindy Y. Lo

RED VELVET | Strong Events 

Inflation is real. Executives aren't always the first to increase a budget while at the same time, they want your conference/tradeshow to look like the ones you see on Instagram and the professional industry magazines. Come meet and hear from Cindy Lo on what some of her tricks are to stretching that budget if you have the DIY mindset. This will be a fast-paced, jot down ideas and challenge Cindy type of session. And then roll up your sleeves if time permits, there will be a live exercise at the end to see if you learned some of the basic concepts on how to make something common look more expensive.

The Southwest Showcase steering committee has taken attendee and supplier feedback into consideration for planning the 2024 schedule. Plenty of time will be allotted for both formal breakouts as well as the kind of learning that comes from networking with our fellow planners and suppliers.



7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.         Registration: Registration F   


7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.         Coat/Bag Check: Registration K 


7:15 – 8:15 a.m.                 Jump Start Bonus Session: Salon F

                                                 Janean Feller, Director of Accounts, ATX Event Systems

                                                 Anthony McCoy, Director of Production, ATX Event Systems 

                                                "2024 Event Technology Trends & Creating Immersive Experiences"

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.                   Networking Breakfast


8:30 – 9:30 a.m.                   Opening Session with Keynote Speaker: Kalahari Ballroom, Salons A-E

                                                   Beth Ziesenis, Your Nerdy Best Friend

                                                  “Discover Your Technology Psychology” 


9:30 – 9:45 a.m.                   Networking Break 1


9:45 – 10:45 a.m.                 AM1 Concurrent Educational Sessions

Session 1: Salon F                              Beth Ziesenis, Your Nerdy Best Friend                              

                                                 “Everything You Need to Know About ChatGPT: The Hottest (and Scariest) Technology”


Session 2: Salon G                              Dr. Tyra Warner, PhD, JD, CMP, College of Coastal Georgia

                                                 “What Goes Up—Inflation, Meetings, and Contracts”


Session 3: Salon H                               Robyn Davis, CPTD, CEM, Exhibitors WINH, LLC                                               

                                                  "Easy Ways Exhibitors and Sponsors Can Help You Increase Attendance"


Session 4: Salon I                               Donna Harbers, CMP, Texas Apartment Association 

                                                  “From Call to the Stage: Implementing a Speaker Management System” 


10:45 – 11:00 a.m.               Networking Break 2    


11:00 a.m. – Noon              AM2 Concurrent Educational Sessions

Session 1: Salon F                                Alice Shikina, Shikina Mediation and Arbitration                            

                                                  "Handling Difficult Conversations"


Session 2: Salon G              Panel Discussion

                                                  Angela Feinstein, CMP, HelmsBriscoe 

                                                  Amy Brown, Visit Fort Worth 

                                                  Ronika Nash, CEM, Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE)
                                                  Owais Shaikh, Shepard Exposition Services                                                

                                                 “Building Partnerships for Success”


Session 3: Salon H                               Andrea Elizondo, CMP, CMM, Association of Texas Professional Educators 

                                                  Meaghan Rhame, CMP, Texas Self Storage Association 

                                                 “The Anatomy of Event Management”


Session 4: Salon I                               Cindy Y. Lo, RED VELVET | Strong Events

                                                  "How Do You Design Like a Designer on a Shoestring Budget?" 


Noon – 1:30 p.m.                Luncheon with Keynote Speaker

                                                  Joel Zeff, The Tao of Ta-Da                                                             

                                                 “The TA DA of Teamwork: Succeeding During Change & Disruption”


1:30 – 4:30 p.m.                   Trade Show: Kilimanjaro Ballroom (lower level) 


4:30 p.m.                                Post-Showcase Networking Receptions 


*subject to change

Certification Credits  - Southwest Showcase Attendees are eligible to earn five hours towards the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation, and five credit hours towards the CEM (Certified In Exhibition Management) designation.

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