The Room Block

Episodes

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Inspiring Passion Through Purpose, with Philippe Clarinval and Rob Brandenberg

Can you or your company claim a purpose that inspires the people working with and for you? It takes a visionary leader to fuel this kind of passion, and a little Swiss hospitality doesn’t hurt either. Philippe Clarinval and Rob Brandenberg are Hotel General Managers and friends who share the mentality required to infuse their teams with a dedication to service excellence, even during a pandemic. Listen in as Philippe and Rob chat about managing vs. leading, positivity vs. hope, and why it’s so important to strike a balance between the transactional and the transformative.

Philippe Clarinval is the General Manager at Carlton Hotel St. Moritz. Following completion of his MBA degree in hotel management, Philippe worked around the world. After holding several management positions in Europe, the USA and Asia, he then served as Resident Manager of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in Indonesia and Malaysia. Following that appointment, he spent seven years as Managing Director of the five-star Omnia Mountain Lodge luxury hotel in Zermatt, which he transformed into one of Switzerland’s leading hotels. Philippe is a multilingual Swiss-Belgian citizen, a member of the European Hotel Managers Association, and a current Doctoral Candidate at the University of Liverpool. He has also obtained certificates in Executive Leadership and Higher Education Teaching from the University of Oxford and Harvard University, respectively.

Connect with Philippe at https://www.linkedin.com/in/clarinval/

Learn more about the Carlton Hotel St. Moritz at https://carlton-stmoritz.ch/en

Rob Brandenberg is the General Manager at the Pan Pacific Seattle. Prior to this, he held positions such as the Director of Food & Beverage, Director of Operations and Hotel Manager in locations including Atlanta, San Francisco, San Diego, Jakarta and Bangkok. Rob has worked for several luxury hotel brands like St. Regis, Peninsula, Luxury Collection, Ritz-Carlton, Regent and Le Méridien. The start of his over two-decade long hotel career started as a pastry chef back in Zurich, Switzerland, where he was also born. Going through a formal culinary training in a Grand Hotel in his hometown, his path let to New York City where he started his first assistant management role with the Peninsula Hotel Group. After stints in the Manhattan Restaurant scene, he returned to the world of hotels for good to pursue his dream of becoming a General Manager.

Connect with Rob at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rob-a-brandenberg-2632366/

Learn more about the Pan Pacific Seattle at https://www.panpacificseattle.com

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Inspiring Passion Through Purpose, with Philippe Clarinval and Rob Brandenberg
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By |2021-01-27T00:49:45-06:00January 27, 2021|0 Comments

#PCMACL: The Virtual Event we Needed

Can a virtual event be transformative? If you attended PCMA Convening Leaders 2021, you might say so. In this Courtesy Block episode, I recap the highlights and my main takeaways from this year’s event, including the importance of having a strong host or moderator. It may be one of the elements that helps take an engaged attendee to an event evangelist.

Learn more at conveningleaders.org.

This is The Courtesy Block, a chip off The Room Block podcast.

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#PCMACL: The Virtual Event we Needed
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By |2021-01-19T22:18:11-06:00January 20, 2021|0 Comments

Creating the Narrative, with Dan Sherman and Ryan Barth

How do you want to remember this critical time in our history? Business events industry veterans and co-hosts of the TRAVELING Podcast, Dan Sherman and Ryan Barth want to be part of the story. By being some of the voices that bring our industry’s biggest issues and opportunities into the forefront, Dan and Ryan are helping to create a narrative – not just for the events industry, but for themselves as well. Listen in to find out how their friendship has been the backdrop to taking risks and setting trends, all in the name of moving our industry forward.

Dan Sherman is Vice President, Business Development at Freeman, Founder & Contributor at HIP Network, and Co-Host at Traveling Podcast. With over 19 years of industry experience, Sherman has successfully supported hundreds of North America’s top events, which include Major League Baseball, U.S. Department of State, Specialty Food Association, American Chemical Society, U.S. Green Building Council, Indianapolis 500, Heisman Trophy Weekend and many more.

Over the years, he has been recognized as a Top Intermediary Partner for Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International and Omni Hotels & Resorts. In addition, Sherman was honored with the prestigious 2014 Conrad Hilton “Be Big” Award Winner as well as the Connect Meetings 40 Under 40 Award.

Sherman has also launched and managed some of the industry’s most forward-thinking services and brands, including the development and sale of three successful companies: ShowScore (acquired in 2017), Sherman Hospitality (acquired in 2016) and Legacy Sustainability Management (acquired in 2012) in addition to HIP Network, Sessions in the City and ConveneGreen.

A passionate industry advocate within the group business and hospitality sector, Sherman also holds professional memberships in ASAE, PCMA, and IAEE.

Connect with Dan Sherman at linkedin.com/in/dansherman12/ 

Ryan Barth, CMP is a 15-year veteran of the meeting and event industry currently serving as Digital Sales Manager, Virtual Events for Freeman. Ryan works exclusively on Freeman’s virtual event platform, OnlineEventPro, assisting clients with their online event portfolio. Prior to his current role, Ryan worked as a National Sales Manager for Visit Indy, Co-Founder of the Hospitality Industry Professionals (HIP) Network and as a Global Account Executive for ConferenceDirect. Ryan is a certified meeting professional (CMP) and has volunteered for CVB Reps as Board Chairman and as a board member for the Association of Meeting Professionals (AMPS). He was awarded in the inaugural class of PCMA’s “30 under 30 Future Industry Leader” in 2014.

Ryan graduated from Indiana University and resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Connect with Ryan Barth at linkedin.com/in/ryan-barth-cmp-42a39a3/

You can find the TRAVELING Podcast at travelingpodcast.buzzsprout.com/ or any major podcast platform.

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Creating the Narrative, with Dan Sherman and Ryan Barth
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By |2021-01-12T23:42:54-06:00January 13, 2021|0 Comments

Esports and the Events Industry, with Rebecca de Freitas

What does esports have to do with the events industry? As it turns out, quite a bit. Mega event organizer and esports subject matter expert Rebecca De Freitas joins me to talk about how event organizers can power up their planning game by leveling up their esports XP. Rebecca shares how her love of video games combined with her events industry experience gives her a unique perspective on the strong potential of an esports-infused future. Find out how the esports culture caters to the next generation of meeting attendees, and what you can do now to start engaging with your younger audiences in new and meaningful ways.

Rebecca de Freitas MPS, DES is a mega event organizer and esport SME. Through her career, she has worked with clients such as Partnership for a Healthier America, ESPN and The Commission on Presidential Debates. Her May 2020 master’s thesis “Gen Z + Esports: Digitizing the Live Event Brand” from Georgetown University’s Global Hospitality Leadership program has been accepted in IFITT’s program. Rebecca is based in the Washington, DC area. 

Connect with Rebecca de Freitas at linkedin.com/in/rebeccadefreitas or visit shoutcasterlimited.com.

This is The Courtesy Block, a chip off The Room Block podcast.

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Esports and the Events Industry, with Rebecca de Freitas
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By |2021-01-06T00:58:46-06:00January 6, 2021|0 Comments

20/20 in 2020: The Room Block Recap

2020 was a year for the history books, and I was lucky enough to have some of the very best teachers in the form of my incredible guests. So what did I learn? Join me as I count down the Top 10 lessons from this year’s guests. Relive some of the quotes that best illustrate some ideas that are worth taking from 2020 into 2021.

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20/20 in 2020: The Room Block Recap
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By |2020-12-30T00:47:23-06:00December 30, 2020|0 Comments

Exploring the DES Certification, with Amanda Duski and Kari Messenger

Thinking of getting certified as a Digital Event Strategist (DES)? Amanda Duski, CMP, DES, Associate Director, Conference Services at the Alzheimer’s Association and Kari Messenger, CMP, DES, Senior Manager, Meetings at the Association Management Center lead us through their career journeys, pre-COVID to DES-certified. Join us for a candid conversation about the chain of events that led each of these women to seek out the DES certification, what to know about the course and test, and Amanda and Kari’s thoughts on who should get DES-certified, and why.

To learn more about obtaining your DES certification, please visit https://www.pcma.org/products/des/.

Amanda Duski, CMP, DES is the Associate Director, Conference Services at the Alzheimer’s Association where she executes in-person and digital events for their home office as well as nationwide chapters. She completed the ECPAT-USA human trafficking course and became a Business Events Protector this past spring. You can connect with Amanda at linkedin.com/in/aduski.

Kari Messenger, CMP, DES has been serving Association Management Center (AMC) and their clients for five years, and in the association industry since 2010. In 2019 Kari was elected to serve on the Board for Association for Women in Events (AWE), where she can spread her passion of women helping other women grow and inspire each other in the events community. Kari was a recipient of the Connect 40 under 40 award in 2019 and 2020 Association Forum Forty Under 40. You can connect with Kari at linkedin.com/in/kari-messenger-cmp.

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Exploring the DES Certification, with Amanda Duski and Kari Messenger
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By |2020-12-16T00:01:56-06:00December 16, 2020|0 Comments

Paying It Forward, with Joann Chmura and Ephraim Yarmak

What’s your next move when faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge? Joann Chmura, Director of Client Services for Simpson Healthcare and Ephraim Yarmak, Founder of #1000Hires both believe that the answer is to help another in need. Join me as Joann and Ephraim share how what could have been their darkest hours were brightened by the actions they took helping and connecting with their communities. With an acute understanding of the pain and suffering that so many job seekers are facing right now, Joann and Ephraim empathize with and encourage listeners who may find themselves or their loved ones in such a position. This conversation showcases humanity at its best, and will leave you feeling hopeful knowing that help is out there.

About Joann Chmura CMM, CIS, HMCC: With 20+ years of experience as a Meeting and Event Project Management Professional, Joann is an expert relationship builder and a cost effective time manager. In addition to being an invaluable team member, she has won awards for her work on the Human Trafficking Steering Committee and Task Force with Maritz Global Events. Prior to that, she was the sole proprietor of Strategic Meetings and Events, LLC, a full-service meeting planning company.

linkedin.com/in/joannchmura

About Ephraim Yarmak: Ephraim founded #1000Hires in May 2020. Their goal is to empower people in their job search and create leaders that pay it forward. The #1000hires project aims to get at least 1,000 people impacted by COVID layoffs back on their feet, using bite-sized video interviews for recruiters and prospective employers to get a glimpse of their stories.

1000hires.com

linkedin.com/company/1000hires

linkedin.com/in/ephraimyarmak

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Paying It Forward, with Joann Chmura and Ephraim Yarmak
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By |2020-12-02T00:38:27-06:00December 2, 2020|0 Comments

A Profitable Partnership: Hotel Sales and Revenue Management, with Jeff Borman and Steve Pierce

The sales and revenue management departments of a hotel are dependent on each other to achieve success, yet, the more they agree with each other the less successful the hotel will be. Jeff Borman, Founder & Chief of travelINNsights and Steve Pierce, Director of Sales & Marketing from the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA examine the delicate and at times misunderstood relationship between sales and revenue management, how they win or lose together (including at Fantasy Football) and what each department is up against as we move through the pandemic.

About Jeff Borman: With over 20 years of hospitality management, Jeff has a wide range of experiences from early beginnings in hotel operations, reservations sales and marketing.  The majority of the last 20 years has been leading Revenue Management for Marriott and Hilton, with specific expertise in analytics, pricing science and inventory management.  He has held roles across all hotel kinds- from limited service and extended stay to full service, boutique and luxury.  Those roles have spanned from regional leadership in the US and Asia to global headquarters roles in Bethesda and McLean.  For 3 years, he lead the eCommerce strategy and analysis department in charge of OTA, GDS and 3rd party vendor valuations and negotiation strategies.  He then joined Park Hotels & Resorts in the Asset Management team.

Most recently, he founded the tourism and hospitality advisory travelINNsights (https://travelinnsights.com/) a consulting company serving hotel owners and investors. They also publish hospitality research and the economics of the travel industry for the general public.

When not helping the travel industry as an employee, Jeff is supporting it as a customer having hiked, dined and mingled with locals in over 70 countries and 42 States.  When grounded at his home in Alexandria Virginia, he can usually be found in the kitchen (preferably the outdoor one) or rummaging through the wine cellar proudly trying to recall recently acquired sommelier skills.

About Steve Pierce: Steve grew up on Long Island, NY and now lives in Fairfax, VA with his wife Nicole and their two kids, Rebecca and Owen. He has been in the hotel industry for 30 years starting on the restaurant side and operations. He has had the pleasure of working for Marriott International for the last 22 years in Revenue Management, Corporate HQ, Sales and Marketing, and is currently the DOSM at Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA (https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/wasgw-crystal-gateway-marriott/). In his time-off, he enjoys watching baseball and co-authored a book on his favorite team – “off to see the Yankees.”

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A Profitable Partnership: Hotel Sales and Revenue Management, with Jeff Borman and Steve Pierce
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By |2020-11-18T00:00:04-06:00November 18, 2020|0 Comments

Positive Change Through Diverse Leadership, with Shameka Jennings, Gus Martinez, and Anthony Molino

Understanding and embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a necessity in our personal and professional lives. Join me for a conversation with three event-industry leaders who have taken an active role in DEI advocacy and education, as they share how they got involved, and more importantly, why. Discover why empathy is so key to having a productive conversation that can push us forward.

Shameka Jennings is the Director of Meetings & Partnership Development for the National Coalition of STD Directors, and is part of ASAE’s 2020-2022 Diversity Executive Leadership Program Class.

http://www.shamekajennings.com

Gus Martinez is a Diversity Consultant and Founder of GSM Consulting, LLC, and has 17 years of experience in the tourism and non-profit sector working in sales, marketing, diversity, and operations.

http://www.gsmdiversity.com

Anthony Molino is Director of Hotel Sales with Choose Chicago, and Immediate Past President of the MPI Potomac Chapter, which received the 2020 MPI RISE Award for Industry Advocate.

www.mpi.org/chapters/potomac/media-resources/diversity-inclusion

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Positive Change Through Diverse Leadership, with Shameka Jennings, Gus Martinez, and Anthony Molino
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By |2020-11-03T23:57:27-06:00November 4, 2020|0 Comments

Building a Healthier Event, with Desi Whitney and John Ayo

Are you starting to plan, or thinking about traveling to a live event in the near future? Desi Whitney, SVP of Sourcing Operations & Industry Relations for HPN Global and co-founder of Emergency Concierge International and John Ayo, Chief Balancing Officer of Travel Balance share the life experiences that taught them how to prepare for the safest and healthiest outcome, as well as the passion behind their purpose.

Desi Whitney is a multi-faceted leader in the industry. She brings almost 20 years of experience to her current role as SVP of Sourcing Operations & Industry Relations for HPN Global. In addition, Desi is co-founder of Emergency Concierge International, an All-Hazards Emergency Planning company dedicated to supporting safer meetings. In this role, she focuses on bridging the gap between emergency planning and meeting planning. At home she is proud to be called wife, mother, and dog mom and enjoys spending time with family, nature, and drinking wine.

hpnglobal.com

emergencyconcierge.net

John Ayo is an internationally recognized keynote speaker, wellness expert, sales specialist and author. He was a successful sales rep that survived in the super stressful technology sector for 19 years, then moved into sales training and meeting planning internationally for 12 years. His book, “Travel Balance” helps people stay energized and balanced while traveling. He has spoken to thousands of people in 26 countries sharing his secrets to staying sane and healthy in a crazy world.

ayolifebalance.com

travelbalance.net

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Building a Healthier Event, with Desi Whitney and John Ayo
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By |2020-10-21T09:52:58-05:00October 20, 2020|0 Comments

The Value of Community, with Colleen Brzozowski and Rachael Riggs

Colleen Brzozowski, 2020 President of SITE Chicago and Rachael Riggs, 2020 President of the Greater Midwest Chapter of PCMA discuss the numerous challenges and unexpected rewards of being in a volunteer leadership role during a global pandemic. Their experiences with these organizations, both past and present, demonstrate the value of staying connected to and serving a community.

Colleen Brzozowski, CIS, is the 2020 President of SITE Chicago (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence – Chicago Chapter). She is a 25+ year veteran of the hospitality industry and spent the majority of her career in hotels/resorts. She had recently moved into national sales for a domestic DMC group before her position was permanently laid off due to the pandemic. You can connect with Colleen at linkedin.com/in/colleenbrzozowski.

Rachael Riggs is the 2020 PCMA – Greater Midwest Chapter President & Maritz Global Events – WellBeing Leader. Rachael is a 25+ year career veteran in the event industry who is passionate about integrating wellbeing into the event experience. Having spent time on both the planner and supplier side of the event industry, Rachael landed her ultimate job experience just prior to the pandemic as the WellBeing Leader for Maritz Global Events. You can connect with Rachael at linkedin.com/in/rachaelriggs.

About PCMA (pcma.org): PCMA has 7,000 members and an audience of 50,000 across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. With 17 chapters and activities in 30 countries, PCMA members are business event strategists from corporations, associations, non-profits and all of the varied suppliers in the event industry. The Greater Midwest Chapter is comprised of  9 states with over 1200 members.

About SITE (siteglobal.com): The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) is the only Business Events association dedicated exclusively to the global incentive travel industry. SITE has 2500+ members in 90 countries with 29 local chapters.

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The Value of Community, with Colleen Brzozowski and Rachael Riggs
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By |2020-10-08T12:02:55-05:00October 7, 2020|0 Comments

Give and Receive to Succeed, with Pam Nutting and Rick Nelson

Through their stories, Pam Nutting, Director of Strategic Sourcing with Maritz Global Events and Rick Nelson, Sr. Director, Worldwide Accounts with Hilton illustrate various examples of how the support they give and receive perpetuates a cycle resulting in growth and success. We examine the relationships and strategies that are important today and will continue to be, as we move into our industry’s recovery.

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Give and Receive to Succeed, with Pam Nutting and Rick Nelson
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By |2020-09-22T23:30:17-05:00September 23, 2020|0 Comments

Designing Your Direction, with Dahlia El Gazzar and Keri Kelly

Hear from entrepreneurs Dahlia El Gazzar of the DAHLIA+Agency and Keri Kelly of SoulMining, Inc. as they discuss the introspection, honesty, and courage it takes to start living a more authentic life on your own terms. They share how a combination of marketable superpowers and the undying support of the events industry helped each of them take a life-changing leap of faith.

To reach Dahlia El Gazzar:

To reach Keri Kelly:

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Designing Your Direction, with Dahlia El Gazzar and Keri Kelly
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By |2020-09-09T00:03:56-05:00September 9, 2020|0 Comments

Pursuing Harmony, with Richard Albrecht and Suzanne Stigers

Take a deep dive into the world of event accommodations with “work spouses” Richard Albrecht, Director of Client Relations and Suzanne Stigers, Sr. Hotel Industry Relations Manager, both from onPeak. They tell a tale of the inevitable changes that we encounter throughout our careers, personally and professionally, and the lasting bonds that form among team members who navigate both highs and lows together.

More information about Connect for Community can be found at connectforcommunity.org

roomblockpodcast.com

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Pursuing Harmony, with Richard Albrecht and Suzanne Stigers
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By |2020-08-25T22:49:13-05:00August 25, 2020|0 Comments

Generous Leadership, with Rose Horcher and Dan Traver

Rose Horcher, Vice President of Client Services with Choose Chicago, and Dan Traver, Business Development VP with Freeman share the traits that have earned them the trust and friendship of their clients. Join me for a heartwarming conversation with two individuals who exemplify the spirit of the events and hospitality industry and understand the power in staying positive.

www.roomblockpodcast.com

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Generous Leadership, with Rose Horcher and Dan Traver
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By |2020-08-18T23:19:04-05:00August 18, 2020|0 Comments

A Manager’s Mindset, with Kevin Boland and Rick Ueno

Travel from coast to coast with me as I chat with Kevin Boland, Hotel Manager at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, CA and Rick Ueno, General Manager of the W South Beach in Miami, FL. Kevin and Rick walk us through their careers from start to present, sharing what motivated them to get to where they are today, as well as potential obstacles they leaned how to overcome.

www.roomblockpodcast.com

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A Manager's Mindset, with Kevin Boland and Rick Ueno
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By |2020-08-11T19:59:39-05:00August 11, 2020|0 Comments

Welcome to The Room Block

Learn about me, your host Jen Salerno, why The Room Block was created, and what you can expect by listening in.

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Welcome to The Room Block
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By |2020-08-11T20:00:33-05:00August 6, 2020|0 Comments
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