Exploring Experiential Design, with Mallory Gott

The Room Block
The Room Block
Exploring Experiential Design, with Mallory Gott
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What is experiential design and how can it help the events and hospitality industry? In this episode of The Room Block I am joined by Mallory Gott, Owner and Creative Director of G + A, An Experiential Design Firm which helps transform clients such as restaurants, bars, and other boutique hospitality event and brand experiences through their feelings-led 4D Framework™.  Mal explains how experiential design helps your customers develop an emotional connection to your brands and businesses, as well as uncover solutions to challenges big and small. If you haven’t yet considered what you want it to feel like for your customers to experience your brand, then Mallory Gott is here to guide the way.

After years designing experiences […]

By |2022-05-25T00:17:25-05:00May 25, 2022|0 Comments

Introducing JTS Connect, with guest host Courtney Stanley

The Room Block
The Room Block
Introducing JTS Connect, with guest host Courtney Stanley
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In this role-reversal episode of The Room Block I’ve invited Courtney Stanley of Courtney Stanley Consulting, LLC to help me officially launch and share exciting updates about my new venture, JTS Connect, LLC. Courtney takes the reins as guest host to interview me for the full story behind JTS Connect, as well as chat about how meaningful conversations can change the world and why being your own boss is so challenging yet so rewarding at the same time. Tune in to learn about what I’ve been up to, and how Courtney has been a guiding light as I continue down my new path. 

Jen Salerno, CMP, DES is the owner of

By |2022-05-11T00:38:01-05:00May 11, 2022|0 Comments

Using Data Insights to Enhance Your Impact, with Steve Gabourel

The Room Block
The Room Block
Using Data Insights to Enhance Your Impact, with Steve Gabourel
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Are you using data in a way that drives maximum impact for your organization?

Most of us are aware that data is something to collect and analyze, and that it can guide us towards making the right decisions. To Steve Gabourel, Principal Investigator of SG Insights, however, data is a science and an art. After years of consulting for organizations that hold annual meetings he sees data as a way to communicate with and serve those who matter the most to your business – your community of employees, attendees, guests and members. After listening to this episode you’ll find that some of the biggest questions and challenges your organization faces can be solved by taking the first, […]

By |2022-05-11T00:40:30-05:00April 27, 2022|0 Comments

Game-Changing Hospitality Through Gratitude, with Neil DeGuia

The Room Block
The Room Block
Game-Changing Hospitality Through Gratitude, with Neil DeGuia
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Why is it important for a hotel general manager to practice gratitude? The recovery of our industry depends on it. Despite the many challenges that’ve plagued the hospitality industry over the last 2 years and into today, Neil DeGuia, Complex General Manager and Chief Enthusiast of the Hilton Garden Inn and Canopy by Hilton Chicago Central Loop greets each day with optimism, resilience, and confidence that he can guide his team through anything that comes their way. He can do this because he’s chosen to learn from and be thankful for every opportunity and challenge that he’s encountered. Supported by the team at Aimbridge Hospitality for the last 19 years, […]

By |2022-04-13T00:09:19-05:00April 13, 2022|0 Comments

Speaking Up to #StopAsianHate, with Jolene Jang

The Room Block
The Room Block
Speaking Up to #StopAsianHate, with Jolene Jang
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In this episode of The Room Block I am joined by Jolene Jang, Asian Inclusivity Expert and #StopAsianHate advocate. Jolene gives us a glimpse into current Asian American concerns and explains how Asian American lives are being affected by hate – as well as why this matters to the hospitality and events industry. In this honest and raw conversation, Jolene Jang speaks up for the many who can’t, or won’t speak for themselves, for reasons that you will hear about in this episode.  As hospitality workers, meeting and event organizers, and community builders who truly care about the experiences of our guests, colleagues and customers, listen in to hear how you can […]

By |2022-03-30T13:54:07-05:00March 30, 2022|0 Comments

Demystifying Women in Event Production, with Anca Trifan

The Room Block
The Room Block
Demystifying Women in Event Production, with Anca Trifan
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March is Women’s History Month, which is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. In this episode of The Room Block, I celebrate Anca Trifan, founder and CEO of Tree-fan Events, a woman-led boutique event planning and production agency. Anca is a podcast host, content creator and storyteller who builds lasting connections by unapologetically being herself – even if that means being a woman in a male-dominated field. Anca explains how she turned her dreams into reality and why she feels so strongly about being a cheerleader for every role that goes into making an event an outstanding experience for all. After you hear Anca’s story, you will see why […]

By |2022-03-01T22:44:11-06:00March 2, 2022|0 Comments

Engineering Your Most Engaging Event, with Mark Herschberg

The Room Block
The Room Block
Engineering Your Most Engaging Event, with Mark Herschberg
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What makes a live event worth your time and money to attend? Author, speaker and MIT instructor Mark Herschberg has been to his fair share of conferences and joins me in The Room Block to chat through the elements an in-person conference needs to provide the value attendees are looking for in today’s content-saturated, virtual world. From event design that drives networking to special touches above and beyond the usual swag, by the end of this episode you’ll walk away with some new tools for your next event, and maybe even your next must-read book or keynote speaker. 

Mark Herschberg is the author of The Career Toolkit, Essential […]

By |2022-02-15T23:46:03-06:00February 16, 2022|0 Comments

Entertaining Events & Impactful Experiences, with Jeff Civillico

The Room Block
The Room Block
Entertaining Events & Impactful Experiences, with Jeff Civillico
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Have you ever noticed how our past life experiences can end up contributing to our future in a significant way? Jeff Civillico is an event emcee & keynote speaker who joined me in The Room Block to share how performing juggling shows in his kitchen as a child led him to become a Las Vegas headliner, philanthropist, and corporate entertainer. In this episode, you will hear how Jeff’s early experiences, lessons, and struggles evolved into what are now his biggest strengths. Jeff’s ability to perform under pressure and engage an audience alongside a willingness to work really hard make him to stand out as an entertainer and enable him to be a true partner […]

By |2022-02-02T00:37:31-06:00February 2, 2022|0 Comments

Humanizing Virtual & Hybrid Events, with Hoyin Cheung

The Room Block
The Room Block
Humanizing Virtual & Hybrid Events, with Hoyin Cheung
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Events are taking place in-person again, and many of us are more than ready to attend. But what about those of us who aren’t yet ready, or simply can’t attend in person? Fortunately and as event professionals know, there are numerous virtual event platforms to choose from, each with their own special features, or as my guest puts it, “superpowers.” Hoyin Cheung is the founder & CEO of Remo, an online interactive events platform whose superpower is the ability to transform the experience of connecting, communicating, and collaborating with people across the globe by “humanizing” online interactions. Hoyin joins me in The Room Block to chat about how his desire […]

By |2022-01-19T07:10:58-06:00January 19, 2022|0 Comments

Serving Yourself & Unlocking Possibility, with Amanda Zahner

The Room Block
The Room Block
Serving Yourself & Unlocking Possibility, with Amanda Zahner
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Sometimes we get stuck in certain areas of our life because we can’t see other options. Amanda Zahner, a former event planner who is now Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer of the Haus of {&}™ joins me in The Room Block to share her journey to recovery and how she changed her life by unlocking new doors. My conversation with Amanda is about possibility. The unknown options we have, the surprising ways we find the courage to explore them, overcoming our hidden demons (some of which run rampant in the events industry), and what happens when we choose to do what serves us and eliminate what doesn’t.

Amanda Zahner is the Co-Founder and Chief Experience […]

By |2022-01-05T07:13:55-06:00January 5, 2022|0 Comments

Continuing the Conversation: What’s Next for DEI, with Cherai Lewis and Tamara Jones

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The Room Block
Continuing the Conversation: What's Next for DEI, with Cherai Lewis and Tamara Jones
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Those who are actively having conversations in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) space know that the work is ongoing. So, how can we move into 2022 with a continued sense of purpose that builds upon what’s been done so far? In this episode I am joined by Cherai Lewis of the Cherai Lewis Consulting Group and Tamara Jones, Senior Director, Association & Tradeshow Sales at Choose Chicago. Cherai and Tamara are both founding members of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Greater Midwest Chapter’s IDE Task Force that was formed in 2020. Now, as we are moving into 2022 and it’s 3rd year, Cherai and Tamara are here to […]

By |2021-12-22T00:48:03-06:00December 22, 2021|0 Comments

Catalyzing Connections at Your Next Conference, with Thom Singer

The Room Block
The Room Block
Catalyzing Connections at Your Next Conference, with Thom Singer
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When you want to increase engagement or foster connections at your company or event, where do you turn? Thom Singer, otherwise known as “The Conference Catalyst” is all about community, collaboration, and connection. As the host of several podcasts and a celebrated keynote speaker and event emcee, Thom has a passion for connection and a strong awareness of the power of meetings & events and all who make them happen. Join me in The Room Block to hear how networking led Thom to his dream career, why he values this industry as much as he does, and the value an emcee can bring to your event.

Thom Singer is an advisor to executives, a speaker and […]

By |2021-12-08T00:21:50-06:00December 8, 2021|0 Comments

Showing Gratitude: A Guide to Holiday Tipping, with Nancy O’Brien

The Room Block
The Room Block
Showing Gratitude: A Guide to Holiday Tipping, with Nancy O'Brien
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It’s safe to say that the world has changed quite a bit over the last 20 months and some of us may be a bit rusty when it comes to showing our appreciation for those who make our lives easier and provide quality, dependable service. No need to worry; today’s timely episode will help make your holidays a bit brighter so you can stress less. I am pleased to welcome Nancy O’Brien, Founder & CEO of The Magnetic Truth back to The Room Block to chat through her 2021 Guide to Holiday Tipping. Nancy advises how to express gratitude to those we do business with on a regular basis, and also offers guidance on […]

By |2021-11-24T00:20:38-06:00November 24, 2021|0 Comments

Betting on Yourself to Grow Your Career, with Deanna Nwosu

The Room Block
The Room Block
Betting on Yourself to Grow Your Career, with Deanna Nwosu
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After more than 2 decades working in the hospitality and events industry, Deanna Nwosu chose to step out on her own during the pandemic. Today, she is Founder and Event Strategist at Deanna Camille, which assists organizations with all aspects of virtual and in-person events. What makes somebody take the uncertain step of becoming a solopreneur during such an uncertain time for the events industry? Deanna has the answers, and they all come down to a deep trust in, and knowledge of, yourself. If you’re somebody who loves being challenged, takes immense pride in your work, and isn’t afraid to bet on yourself then Deanna Nwosu is somebody you should know. A perfect storm led to the […]

By |2021-11-16T23:44:09-06:00November 17, 2021|0 Comments

Producing Events While Having Endless Fun, with Will Curran

The Room Block
The Room Block
Producing Events While Having Endless Fun, with Will Curran
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Many people who work in the events industry may be prone to stress and burnout, but Will Curran is not one of them. As Founder and Chief Event Einstein of Endless Events, Will seems to have found the antidote: do what you love and what you’re good at. Will loves the career and life that he’s designed so much that he almost makes it sound easy to produce in-person, virtual, and hybrid events for a portfolio of over 1,000 customers. While I know that’s not the case, I have a feeling this episode will show you that there are truly endless possibilities to living the life you desire. During his stay in The Room […]

By |2021-11-16T23:36:50-06:00November 10, 2021|0 Comments

Holding Space for Events and Hospitality, with David Kliman

The Room Block
The Room Block
Holding Space for Events and Hospitality, with David Kliman
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The events and hospitality industry is a leader when it comes to resilency and creativity.  It’s easy to see why, being made up of idea generators, people connectors, deep thinkers and solution seekers. My first guest of the new season embodies all of these things and as a result, has made a lasting impact on the strength of the industry. David Kliman, founder and president of The Kliman Group has been serving the industry in this capacity for almost 2 decades, but his legacy of holding space for hospitality and events extends beyond that. From hotelier and event planner to meeting facilitator and connector, hear about where David started in the industry, how building relationships and […]

By |2021-11-16T23:36:26-06:00November 3, 2021|Comments Off on Holding Space for Events and Hospitality, with David Kliman

Revamping Your To-Do List: More Want-Tos, Less Have-Tos

The Room Block
The Room Block
Revamping Your To-Do List: More Want-Tos, Less Have-Tos
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Life can so easily feel like an endless stream of tasks. We get so caught up in all of the things we have to or should do, that we ignore or feel guilty about the things we actually want to do. In this episode, I share what I learned by stepping away from my vast “have to-do” list, instead spending the summer checking off my “want to-dos.” If you find it challenging to indulge in the things you really want to do over the things feel you have to, consider this episode a permission slip to revamp your to-do list. You may be surprised how much more you’ll be able to accomplish in the end.

This episode is brought to you […]

By |2021-10-26T23:41:33-05:00October 27, 2021|0 Comments

Doing the Work: A Look Inside an IDE Task Force, with Yolanda Simmons-Battle, Jatare Barrett, and Alli Shebek

The Room Block
The Room Block
Doing the Work: A Look Inside an IDE Task Force, with Yolanda Simmons-Battle, Jatare Barrett, and Alli Shebek
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Almost a year into the development of the PCMA Greater Midwest Chapter’s Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (IDE) Task Force I sit down with founding members, Yolanda Simmons-Battle, Jatare Barrett and Alli Shebek to talk about how and why it was formed, the type of programming it provides, its future goals and what they have learned. We also reflect on some of the other significant events and anniversaries that are important to discuss when exploring IDE efforts. Our history may be in the past, but it created the foundation that we stand on today and that foundation is in need of some major repairs. Tune in to learn how you can begin, what role we all need […]

By |2021-06-29T22:49:19-05:00June 30, 2021|0 Comments

Teaching the Art of Hospitality, with Zana Usher

The Room Block
The Room Block
Teaching the Art of Hospitality, with Zana Usher
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Can the art of hospitality be taught? According to Zana Usher, Founder and CEO of Zana DeVine Hospitality, it can, as long as you have the heart for hospitality. Zana is a hospitality expert and coach who was born into the industry and now lives to serve those who serve in it. If you manage a restaurant, hotel, or a team within one, this episode will show you how investing in a hospitality coach can be just what you need to start a positive cycle of service, satisfaction and sales. If you are an employee, let Zana’s passion for people and enthusiasm for opportunity show […]

By |2021-06-23T00:10:06-05:00June 23, 2021|0 Comments

Selling the Future, with Mark McLaughlin and Sarah Becker

The Room Block
The Room Block
Selling the Future, with Mark McLaughlin and Sarah Becker
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It’s challenging to be on the opening team of a new hotel under normal circumstances; even more so under our “new normal.” Mark McLaughlin, Director of Business Development at the brand new Sable at Navy Pier Chicago, and Sarah Becker, Complex Director of Sales at the also brand-new Hilton Garden Inn and Canopy by Hilton Chicago Central Loop join me in The Room Block to chat about how their hotel sales journeys have led them to their exciting new roles as sales leaders starting from scratch. Listen in to learn about your new favorite hotel hangouts in Chicago, and to catch up with two veteran hotel sales professionals who are using their skills and […]

By |2021-06-16T00:59:49-05:00June 16, 2021|0 Comments
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