INDUSTRY PANEL

Monday, November 14 | 9:15-10:45 a.m.

Momentum Makers: Meetings & Events Driving Our New History

An Industry Panel Powered by Industry Research

With retention, culture and dispersed work forces driving today’s business decisions, meetings and events are increasingly seen as highly valuable, revenue-enabling functions in an organization’s strategic plan.

Over the past three years, many meetings professionals in the financial services and insurance industry earned a seat at the table as they worked closely with c-suite stakeholders to bring the business together – in person – again. At the same time, even more meeting professionals were given responsibilities and opportunities that stretched them beyond traditional expectations. No matter your role, no one could do it alone. Strong partnerships within your organization and in the hospitality industry were essential to the business and keeping momentum alive.

Grounded in data from the 2022 Incentive Travel Index, this esteemed panel of industry leaders reflected on where meetings and events are going and what meetings professionals need to plan for in the short and long term. From financials and the impact of inflation to the effect on culture, attendees left this program armed with research-backed industry insights to show the value of their work to their organizations and the future of meetings and events.


Meet the Panelists

Ashly Balding, Chief Sales Officer, Associated Luxury Hotels International

Ashly Balding, currently, Chief Sales Officer for Associated Luxury hotels International (ALHI), the company she joined 19-years ago as a National Sales Manager.  ALHI, established in 1986, serves over 250 of the world’s most prestigious four-and five-star hotels and resorts and is the world’s leading independent Global Sales Organization dedicated to developing the meeting, incentive, convention, and exhibition marketplace exclusively for its prestigious membership portfolio.

After earning her degree from The College of Charleston, in Charleston, SC; where she currently serves her alma mater on their Hospitality & Tourism Management Executive Board; she headed to Hilton Head Island, SC to work as a sales manager at The Westin Hilton Head Island. It was in 2003, Ashly started with ALHI as National Sales Manager for the Southeast Region based in the Atlanta office. Later promoted to Director of Sales and then VP of Sales; Ashly was named Regional Vice President in 2012, leading ALHI’s Southeast U.S. team to record sales achievements. Then in 2015 she became Executive Vice President Sales for ALHI, responsible for providing sales leadership, coaching, strategy, and business development for the company’s US, Canadian, and European GSO interests, and soon thereafter, assumed the Chief Sales Officer role for the company which she serves today.

During her career she set company records by receiving the ALHI President’s Award for “Outstanding Sales Performance” each consecutive year of eligibility, including twice being awarded ALHI’s highest sales achievement recognition as the “Sales Executive of the Year,” and she continues to hold the company’s highest sales recorded in any single year. Ashly was awarded the “Smart Women in Meetings 2019: Innovator,” by Smart Meetings Magazine.

As Ashly has developed as a leader, she supported a greater appreciation of recognition for her staff and clientele as a means of motivation while inspiring others.  Leadership development is her priority. Ashly’s leadership journey has been a combination of art and science. Every day she wakes up and applies herself whether it be through reading, education, podcasts, mentors, executive coaching and surrounding herself with wise people.  In her current role, Ashly is leading a team of 80 executive sales professionals and their staffs.

Creativity is also critical component of her leadership style.  Ashly brings different thinking to extreme situations and believes if you are not creative, you are boring.  Creativity stimulates better thinking and solution making while it is an important life piece both personally and professionally. Ashly works directly with the ALHI Marketing and Events team to establish ALHI’s Executive Level customer events including the ALHI Executive Exchange, the ALHI Insurance and Financial Leadership Exchange, ALHI Leadership Summits, and ALHI Executive Women in Leadership programs.

Tyler Davidson, Vice President & Chief Content Director, Meetings Today (moderator)

Tyler has shepherded the content of Meetings Today through channels such as MeetingsToday.com, videos, podcasts, enewsletters, webinars and Meetings Today magazine and its various supplements for more than 22 years. A leading voice in the meetings and events world, Tyler writes and edits destination sections, features and topical news stories as well as curates content submitted to Meetings Today from some of the top thought leaders in the industry.

Jeff Nelke, DMCP, Partner, Managing Director, ACCESS Destination Services; President, Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI)

Jeff is a Destination Management Professional leading the ACCESS Destination Services Team in the Southeastern region of the United States.  Jeff began his Meetings and Events career with Maritz Travel in 1993 and has been using his extensive travel experiences to better serve the Destination Services market since 1996.  Jeff currently serves as the President of Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI) and his working with the DMC community to better serve our partners in the Financial and Insurance planning world!  His daily inspiration comes from utilizing creative solution-solving processes to add value to our clients.  In his personal life, Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, chasing them around the travel baseball and softball world and camping with the Adventure Guides of South Florida.

Martha J. Sheridan, President & CEO, Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB); Co-Chair, U.S. Travel Association’s Meetings Means Business Coalition

Martha J. Sheridan brings more than 30 years of destination marketing experience to her role as President & CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB). A seasoned tourism leader, she provides strategic direction to the 950-member organization in its mission to generate a robust visitor economy for the region. Annually, the tourism, travel and hospitality sector generates more than $20 billion dollars for the Greater Boston economy.

Prior to joining the GBCVB in 2019, Sheridan was President & CEO of the Providence/Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Sheridan holds and has held leadership positions with several local, regional and national industry organizations.  She is on the board and Executive Committee of the U.S. Travel Association and currently co-chairs USTA’s “Meetings Mean Business” coalition.  She is a leading member of the Boston Soccer 2026 committee that worked to successfully secure FIFA World Cup 2026 matches to take place at Gillette Stadium, and she will remain involved in planning leading up to the international event.  Sheridan was also key in campaigning to secure the 2023 Army-Navy Game at Gillette Stadium, the first time New England will host it in the game’s 124-year series history.   

Sheridan chairs Governor Baker’s Advisory Commission on Travel & Tourism in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is co-chair of the Advisory Committee planning the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.  She is past Chair of Destinations International.

Tyronne Stoudemire, SVP of Global Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Founding Member, American Airlines Diversity and Equity Community Council, Board Chairman, Black Ensemble Theater

Tyronne is the SVP of Global Diversity Equity & Inclusion for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, a global hospitality company with widely recognized, industry leading brands and a tradition of innovation developed over its more than 60-year history. At Hyatt, Corporation Stoudemire collaborates with senior leadership team to implement culture, talent, and marketplace strategies that leverage diversity and inclusion globally growing the enterprise wide across brand portfolio. As such, his team and internal corporate stakeholders implement diversity initiatives that include Resource Groups, mentoring programs for high potential women and people of color, a communications and public relations strategy to drive internal engagement and external brand recognition, and enhanced brand marketing effort to further focus on multicultural and LGBT audiences. He is the Co-Chair, of Hyatt’s Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion Counsel (GDEIC).

Tyronne, has received several accommodations and awards just to name a few: He was named one of the Top Executives in Diversity by Black Enterprise Magazine; and honored as one of the 50 Diversity Champions by Diversity Woman Magazine. He is also the recipient of the Top Executive’s in Diversity Black Enterprise Magazine, Who’s Who in Black Chicago: The Inaugural Edition, Thurgood Marshall College Fund of Excellence Award, Most Influence African American People Voice, Push for Excellence Award (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Scholarship Breakfast), National African American History Month by President of the United States of America, President Obama.

Tyronne is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, adjunct professor at Kellogg School of Management, serves on the Metropolitan Planning Council Broad (MPC), PUSH Excel Broad, Senior Advisor for the Music Institute, Senior advisor to the People’s Music School, Treasurer for the Arthur M. Brazier Foundation, Chairman of the Board for The Black Ensemble Theater, Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Tyronne to the board of Illinois mapping commission, Gov. JB Picketer appointed Tyronne to Chicago State University Working Group to Create an Equity Agenda for Black College Students in Illinois.

Most recently he was appointed by President Robert Isom (AA) to serve on American Airlines, founding Diversity and Equity Community Council focusing on Black travelers.

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