The Room Block
The Room Block
Continuing the Conversation: What's Next for DEI, with Cherai Lewis and Tamara Jones

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 talk about how we can move these conversations out of task forces and committees and into the rest of society, seamlessly. Instead of digging deeper into a few select topics with a few select people, the path to a collective “unconscious consciousness” may be broader than it seems. 

Listen to the origin story of the GMC PCMA IDE Task Force at:

Cherai M. Lewis, CMP, CTS has been in the live events profession for most of her career.  She has served as a sales consultant for event strategists, representing hotel brands, destination management organizations (DMOs) and an audiovisual company. 

During her tenure with the YMCA of the USA, Cherai switched hats to become the event strategist, engaging with volunteer leaders and C-Suite execs to produce various Y Movement-driven conferences and events.  Most recently, Cherai scaled a start-up division within Steelcase, helping clients reimagine a richer participant engagement experience through unique spatial design for business events.  

Cherai has recently launched The Office Politics Playbook, a training course for female professionals designed to help them navigate through the political pitfalls we all encounter at work to the peace of thriving in your career. She also supports organizations with facilitation, strategic planning, and project management services through Cherai Lewis Consulting Group, Inc.  Cherai enjoys expanding her burgeoning culinary skills, volunteering with live events industry organizations and cherishing her relationships with friends and family.

Tamara Jones started her hospitality career as a waitress/bartender while attending college in Minnesota. While not pursuing a Hospitality Management major, Tamara found a true passion for the industry. This led her to positions at the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis and opening Hilton hotels in both Omaha and Baltimore. In 2009 Tamara was asked to join the Hiltons of Chicago Sales Complex. She represented the hotels for 6 years then moved her focus to Choose Chicago.

Choose Chicago is the sales and marketing arm for convention sales in the city of Chicago. Tamara joined the team in April 2015 and has been there since. She represents the fabulous city of Chicago and works diligently to bring major medical, sports, tradeshows and other large conventions to McCormick Place Convention Center; the largest convention center in the Western Hemisphere.

She is on the Greater Midwest Chapter PCMA Executive Committee as Treasurer for 2022-2023 and part of the foundation of creating the Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Task Force, now a Committee, for the chapter.