Event Service Professionals Association
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What did you miss at ESPA…Live from Austin in 2017?

Need help gaining management approval to attend?

This brochure describes the value of professional development and education for services managers. Print this out and provide it to your manager – it contains quotes from meeting planners about the value they place on their CSMs, including when making re-booking decisions.

Led by the team from Kidbilly Music, ESPA Members created a song just for CSMs while at the 2017 Conference in Austin! Hear “Meet ‘Em and Keep ‘Em” here

Education catered to the unique and challenging role that Event Service Managers play every day. We want to help you be the best CSM that you can be.

Continuing Education credits - Our program will provide you with these valuable credits toward your CMP requirements, earned while learning topics focused on services. We anticipate up to 10 credit hours will be available. Note that the CMP approved section will be listed next to each topic once approved by the CIC.

Whether it be with our Meeting Planner guests for Sunday's Q&A session, or during our Winter BBQ, you will have plenty of opportunities to engage with your peers, enjoying new friends and old relationships built over time. Attendees create life-long professional relationships with other CSMs who teach and inspire them, becoming a resource in their day to day professional careers.

Reserve your room now
Sponsorship Opportunities
Get your company in front of these meeting leaders
Austin & Travel Info
Live Music Capital of the World

Recognition Programs

Is your Manager a ROCK STAR?
Is your manager committed to excellence in Convention Services?
Do you have an AWESOME client?
Have you worked with an exceptional meeting planner?
Did you earn the coveted CMP?
Have you received your CMP Designation within the last 5 years?

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Interested in sponsorship? Email Lmccullough@espaonline.org.

Elite Sponsors:

Platinum Partners:

Event Sponsors:


Schedule of Events / Program



Board of Directors Meeting
7:00PM Board Member Dinner


8:00AM-12:00PM Board of Directors Meeting

Training hosted by Simpleview

Preceding the ESPA Conference on Friday, join Simpleview trainers for a one-day convention services training for Simpleview CRM. This workshop, while designed for professionals in need of a concentrated refresher in the system, is also open to professionals interested in sampling the product. $100 registration fee directly through Simpleview. More information and registration can be found here.

Optional Tours: (Separate registration required. Register for the sightseeing tours via these links, directly with the tour company, Austin Detours. The Convention Center tour sign up is through ESPA. Space is limited. No refunds once registered.)
1:00-2:45PM The Real Austin Tour (Note this tour is offered twice, 1:00PM and 3:00PM)
2:00-4:00PM Austin Convention Center Tour
3:00-4:45PM The Real Austin Tour (Note this tour is offered twice, 1:00PM and 3:00PM)
5:30 -6:30PM New Member Meet & Greet with the ESPA Board
6:30 -7:30PM Welcome to Austin! Opening Reception
7:30-10:30PM Optional Austin by Night Tour (Same instructions as Optional Tours, above.)

Saturday, January 7

7:30 -8:30AM Networking Breakfast
8:30-8:45AM Opening Session: A Musical Welcome to Austin!
8:45-9:45AM Keynote Address
From Handshake to Hashtag: How to Engage the Youngest Generation

Phil Gwoke, Gen Xer, Bridgeworks

It's no secret that each generation has a distinct generational personality, and we're seeing more and more the impact that these personalities have on everything from the way they do business to the way they plan meetings and events. It's important that leaders in the world of event planning understand the key differences between the generations and their unique expectations. From Handshake to Hashtag will explore how generational trends are impacting the hospitality space and what leaders can do to stay ahead of the trends by:

  • Explaining who the generations are in today's marketplace
  • Identifying key factors in how generational trends are impacting travel and hospitality
  • Discussing what no one else is covering from Millennial parents to the post-Millennial generation, Generation Edge
  • Presenting solutions for communication and engagement that will help attendees build stronger relationships with customers and clients of each generation

CMP-IS Domain F: Stakeholder Management (1.00 CE)

9:45-10:00AM ESPA Sidebar! Announcement of the Donald S. Freeman Jr. Scholarship Recipient
10:00-10:30AM Networking Break & Meet Our Sponsors
10:30-11:30AM Two Concurrent Breakout Tracks

Track one: Technology-focus for Venues
10:30-11:00 (Part 1): We’ve Got an App for That!

Learn about pre-conference, on site and post conference mobile apps that exist to help drive efficiency and communication with your customers. Join the experts for short tech talks on the following:

EventMobi will show you how their conference app can be a big benefit and communications tool for any event.
Social Tables as a sales tool:

  • This app can be used during walkthroughs to accurately convey to planners how the room will look and manage expectations better.

Social Tables as a planning & collaboration tool for venues and hotels:

  • To-scale diagrams on an iPad that Planners can use to plan their event more accurately.
    Social Tables as an execution tool.
  • Setup crew can use the diagram on the iPad to set up the room precisely.

SPG - utilizing this app for pre-stay communication as well as keyless entry to a guest’s room.

Marriott Red Coat – an event planning app for the planner and CS Manager as well as for on-site communication. Room to cold? Want to move the time of your lunch? No problem! Communicate easily with the app. CMP-IS Domain G: Meeting and Event Design (0.50 CE)

11:00-11:30 (Part 2): Translating Event Technology Trends into Revenue Opportunities

Meetings and events continue to evolve in technological complexity. Staying ahead of and understanding these trends are critical to your success. Learn about the latest in event technology trends that are becoming more important to your customer’s buying decisions and how to translate their needs into new revenue opportunities. CMP-IS Domain D: Financial Management (0.50 CE)

Track two: The Sharing Economy's Impact on Events

The Sharing Economy is one of the most disruptive innovations in today's event industry. We'll explore its pros and cons and their influence on your daily work. Love it or not, the sharing economy is here to stay, so how do we grow and partner with these new vendors? With successful case studies, we'll discuss how to embrace this new economy for more satisfying and profitable events.CMP-IS Domain D: Financial Management (1.00 CE)

Speaker: Jeff Duncan, President & CEO – Meetingmax

11:30AM-12:45PM ESPA Luncheon & Annual Business Meeting


Four Concurrent Roundtable Sessions

Session 1: Hotel & Center Focus
1:00-1:30 (Part 1): It's all about the Space! Space Optimization, Fine Tuning the Process

Is your hotel doing everything it can to optimize meeting space and revenues?
This session will share some best practices for meeting space optimization

  • Understanding the value of your space
  • What's your competition doing?
  • Space dates and rate: back to basics
  • Space road map
  • Looking farther out: minimizing obstacles

Leader: Shari Pietsch, CMP, Director of Space Optimization, Sheraton Dallas

CMP-IS Domain G: Meeting or Event Design (0.50 CE)

1:30-2:00 (Part 2): A Healthy Forecast – It’s all about the Facts

Does your team understand the strategy and importance for supplying a healthy and accurate forecast as far into the future as possible? Session Highlights include ways to get the information you need to provide confident and healthy FB forecasts:

  • What to ask to get the right information
  • Doing your homework
  • Understanding the client

Leader: Shari Pietsch, CMP, Director of Space Optimization, Sheraton Dallas

CMP-IS Domain G: Meeting or Event Design (0.50 CE)

Session 2: Block-O-Saurus: Are Room Blocks Going Extinct?

Do you feel blocked out of your events' room blocks? We will discuss the different room block challenges small to large CVBs are faced with in today's market. On average one out of three attendees book outside of the room block. This is causing meeting planners to miss out on incentive funds, services and provides an inaccurate overview of the success of the event. How can we narrow the gap between attendee count verses total rooms blocked? This will be discussed with some insightful suggestions and a chance to chat about some of your room block challenges. CMP-IS Domain G: Meeting or Event Design (1.00 CE)

Breakout 3: The Trials of a New CSM

We are all faced with adversity in life and in work, but what if your job was to help solve another's adversity? Are you ready for a full time commitment as a Convention Service Manager? Working as a CSM can have its challenges; controlled budgets, for CVBs - membership and non-membership bureaus, local business partnerships, volunteers and visitor centers; for hotels and centers - multiple departments! We will talk about what challenges you face, re-enact situations that are sticky, discuss how to overcome obstacles, and hopefully bring you some peace, because we are all in this together! CMP-IS Domain F: Stakeholder Management (1.00 CE)

Breakout 4: Senior-level CSMs Discuss Employee Challenges & Engagement (For Assistant Director, Director, VP, etc.)

So you started from the bottom, now you're here. And "here" means managing a department with goals that need to be met and a team of employees with different personalities and work ethics. What's your management style? How do you measure an employee's success? What tools do you use to motivate your team? What's the best way to deliver criticism/feedback to a new CSM? In this roundtable, you, and other senior level managers, will be able to share your ideas and discuss the challenges that surround managing a department and team. CMP-IS Domain E: Human Resources (1.00 CE)

2:00-2:30PM Networking Break
2:30-3:30PM General Session
2:30-3:00 (Part 1): The Site Visit Revisited

The site visit often represents the first moment that a planner and property will physically meet. It's a make or break meeting during the event planning process and typically the final hurdle in the decision making process. To learn more about what's important during the site visit, Social Tables conducted a survey which brought together 350 event planners and 350 property managers to discuss the pain points and opportunities of a site visit. We're revealing the data for the findings, along with actionable ways for properties to close more business after site visits, and for planners to make sure the space is a perfect fit for their event.

Learning Objectives

  • Find out what planners said is most important to them during the site visit process.
  • Learn why planners and properties are often misaligned, and how to get on the same page
  • Why and how planners and properties can collaborate long before the site visit to ensure success

Speaker: Dan Berger, CEO, Social Tables

CMP-IS Domain H: Site Management (0.50 CE)

3:00-3:30 (Part 2): Changing Demographics and Special Needs – Understanding and Being Prepared

Are you unfamiliar with the needs from the LGBTQ community? Do you know the federal law for accommodating "the working breastfeeding mom"? How do you prepare for your international guests? If you struggle to answer any of these questions, this session is for you! Join us as we dive into hot topics that will enhance your guests' experience and have them wanting to return every year. Participate in this intimate exchange between event service professionals led by a facilitator.

Attendees will learn:

  • How to anticipate needs, wants and interests from the LGBTQ
  • Creative ways to service nursing moms
  • How to prepare for special requests, such as prayer rooms, dietary needs, & amenities

CMP-IS Domain A: Strategic Planning (0.50 CE)

3:30-3:45PM ESPA Sidebar! Presentation of Executive Excellence and Meeting Professional of the Year Awards
3:45-4:45PM Closing Featured Session
What's Next? Avoiding Burn Out and Advancing your Career

Joanne Dennison, MSEd, CMP

Is it time for a change? Are you wondering what you can do next, either because you are burned out or bored? Advancing your career can, but does not always, mean changing your job or your company –so don't be afraid your boss is going to know you came to this session! It does mean making the organization better. It does mean stepping up your game, contributing your best, and creating more value in your organization. It is about "owning" your career and not waiting for others to change the situation. If you love the industry and want to stay in it… with a few changes, this presentation will guide you down your next steps.

By attending this presentation, you will learn:

  • to take ownership of your career and why you need to stop blaming everyone else
  • to strategically look at an organization or project and determine how you can make it better
  • contributing your "best" does not mean just working more
  • how to lead a team using these same steps
5:00-5:30PM ESPA's 2017 Committee Meetings
6:00PM Optional Off-Site Dinner at the Famous Stubb's Bar-B-Q and Music Club
(Note: Space is limited; Register through ESPA, no refunds once registered.)



Wake Up and Strech!

Morning Yoga Class - All levels welcome

7:30-8:30AM Continental Breakfast
8:00-8:45AM CMP Info Session (Optional)

The CMP designation represents the standard of excellence in today's meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry. If you have been pondering whether to take the CMP exam, but are hesitant or have questions, this is the session for you. We will review and answer questions about the program requirements and how to best prepare for the exam, as well as discuss new developments with the CMP International Standards and recent changes to the program. There will be plenty of time for Q&A.

Speaker: Joanne Dennison, MSEd, CMP

CMP-IS Domain J: Professionalism (0.75 CE)

8:45-9:00AM Preview ESPA 2018 Host City!

Day Two Opening Session: Event Service Rules! Team Building through Song, presented by Kidbilly Music

Led by the team from Kidbilly Music, ESPA Members created a song just for CSMs while at the 2017 Conference in Austin! Hear “Meet ‘Em and Keep ‘Em” here

In this fun, interactive session, we will come together to network, share best practices and learn to become more engaged and inspired about our careers in the services industry. This fun, highly interactive musical event will allow everyone to share themes about our industry, the work we do, and what we all have in common. Along the way participants will learn to tap into their creativity for problem solving and innovation.

9:45-10:00AM ESPA Sidebar! Presentation of the CSM of the Year Awards
10:15-11:15AM Two Concurrent Breakout Sessions:

Breakout 1: It's Too Cold – Maslow and the ROI Effect in Meetings

So everyone is cold, the noise from the room next door is coming through the air wall, the lighting is too dark for the meeting, and the chairs have everyone shifting positions every few minutes as they try to get comfortable. Ever been to one of those meetings? Ever planned one of those meetings?

Of course you did not deliberately plan that to happen, but most meetings have this happen-- don't they? Are they really a big deal—or just an inconvenience? By attending this session some of the things you will learn:

  • What in the world Maslow has to do with meetings and why we should care
  • How to be strategic about the basic logistics to create more ROI
  • How we can work towards creating the "optimum learning environment" for our attendees—without blowing the budget?
  • Things to take into consideration and questions to ask that may be a "big deal" after all
  • Why it is important to sit in the attendee's chair every time, figuratively (and literally!)
  • Why the attendee's perception is the reality of the success of the meeting

Speaker: Joanne Dennison, MSEd, CMP

CMP-IS Domain G: Meeting or Event Design (1.00 CE)

Breakout 2: Political Conventions – The Real Story: Behind the Scenes in Cleveland and Philadelphia for the RNC and DNC

Join us during this session to learn how each city mobilized their resources to secure, host and execute these two very high profile events, and what it means to each destination.

Learner Outcomes:

  1. Risk vs reward: Making the decision to host a political convention includes weighing the risks vs rewards. Learn how to present your city on the global stage and what it takes to make it happen.
  2. Controlling the Uncontrollable: How to showcase your city when you are accountable but not responsible for many of the planning facets
  3. Leaving a Legacy: learn how working with your local partners to execute these events can result in best practices and legacy projects
  4. Shhhh…: Obtain secret information learned the hard way from hosting these events

Moderator: Janice Telstar, CMP, Philadelphia CVB

Panelists: Brooke Lazizi, Philadelphia CVB; Mary Ann Torres, CMP, Pennsylvania Convention Center; Amanda Bonvechio, CMP, CSEP, Destination Cleveland

CMP-IS Domain A: Strategic Planning (1.00 CE)

11:30AM-12:30PM ESPA's Winter BBQ & Networking Lunch with the Planners

Bring your sweaters and jackets! We will break up the day to enjoy some nice fresh air at the Sheraton's new outdoor event space.


Q&A with Meeting Planners

Participate in this intimate exchange between event service professionals and meeting planners, led by a facilitator. Topics will be established based on member input as to what the most pressing questions are that they have for planners today. What are they looking for from their CSMs and what do the CSMs need from planners? What trends are on the horizon for groups that CSMs need to be prepared for? Come ready for interactive dialogue and information sharing. CMP-IS Domain A: Stratefic Planning (1.00 CE)

2:00-2:30PM Networking Break
2:30-3:30PM Closing Session:
Security Issues and Concerns for Event Service Professionals: Current Safety and Security Trends in Event Security

This session will feature security and safety experts who will present current issues and trends in event security. The purpose of this session is to give event service professionals guidance on how to prepare and implement safety and security items into meeting and events.

Session Objectives:

  • Threats, vulnerabilities and assessing associated risk factors
  • Safety and security issues facing event planners and coordinators
  • Public safety and emergency management considerations
  • Executive protection / VIP guests in a special event environment

Speakers: Jonathan Wackrow, Executive Director, RANE, Risk Assistance Network and Exchange and Clarence Izzard, PSP, Senior Corporate Manager – Security And Safety, Starwood Hotels & Resorts

CMP-IS Domain C: Risk Management (1.00 CE)

3:30PM Closing Remarks

Scheduling note: ONLY those that are pre-registered for the Day of PCMA will be allowed access to the PCMA opening reception.

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Registration & Earning Credits

Registration Rates
Registration Policies
Day of PCMA Registration Instructions

Please note to receive Continuing Education (CE) Credits for attending sessions, you must pre-select all sessions during the registration process. Only sessions listed on the agenda with a CMP Credit noted will be eligible for CMP Credit. You may add/delete sessions prior to the conference. You will only receive CE Credits for those sessions you selected. You will receive a confirmation notice which you should maintain for your records. Additionally, following the conference, your sessions will be listed in the My ESPA Portal under the "My ESPA" drop down on the "My Continuing Education" page and on the new CIC portal.

Registration Rates

The following are the ESPA Conference Individual registration fees: (Note: Members whose companies are Organizational members of ESPA, and who are registering 3+ people see below for group registration fees.)

  Advanced Rate (valid through November 11) General
Active ESPA Member $665 $775
Non-Member $725 $825
One Day Member (either Saturday OR Sunday)
(You may only register at this rate for one day)
$299 $325
One Day Non Member (either Saturday OR Sunday)
(You may only register at this rate for one day)
$325 $350
Student Rate (must provide proof of student status upon request) $250 $250

ESPA Organization Member registration fees:

Organization and Corporate Member group registrations fees are listed below. In order to register at the group registration fees, your company must be an Organization or Corporate Member of ESPA.

# of People attending from your company Advanced Total Rate (valid through November 11) General Total Rate
3 people $1,962 $2,295
4 people $2,560 $3,000
5 people $3,150 $3,700

ESPA Registration Policies
Optional Tours/Outings and Day of PCMA are non-refundable, regardless of date of cancellation.

Conference registration cancellations received in writing by December 5, 2016 are eligible for a 50% refund on the ESPA Registration fee only. There are no refunds for cancellations received after this date.

Day of PCMA Registration Instructions
PCMA - One Day Registration – In partnership with PCMA, ESPA attendees have the opportunity to participate in the opening reception and Monday programming for the PCMA Convening Leaders conference at the discounted registration rate of $275. Register for the PCMA One Day offer when you register for ESPA's Conference – just check the box on the ESPA registration form. Day of PCMA registration is non-refundable. Your one day registration includes attendance to the Sunday Welcome Reception; Monday education programming with continental breakfast, refreshment breaks and the PCMA networking luncheon. For the complete schedule of events, please visit http://conveningleaders.org. NOTE: Per PCMA policy, you must be a paid Day of PCMA registrant to attend the Sunday reception.

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ESPA Optional Tours and Fun Evening Excursions

ESPA has arranged excursions to meet varied interests and to give you lots of time to see Austin and network with your fellow attendees. Each requires a separate registration. It is important to note that we anticipate these tours to be in high-demand; space is limited so if you want to participate in any of these activities, you must sign up early. Some tours you will register for through Austin Detours web site and others through ESPA. Just follow the instructions below.

The Real Austin Tour
Offered two times for your convenience! Friday at 1:00 and 3:00PM

Discover the best of the city in just two hours! This fast-paced "bucket list" tour gives visitors a great snapshot of Austin: get dizzy gazing upward at the Capitol's dome, indulge on decadent treats from iconic food trucks, explore cool outdoor art, snap photos at city landmarks, and check out funky neighborhoods only a local would know about. This detour is jam-packed with facts, history and trivia on everything from Whole Foods to the UT campus, and everyone from Michael Dell to Willie Nelson. By the time you're done with this tour, you'll be able to say you "get" Austin – the history, people, music, culture, food and what keeps it "weird." If you're looking for a snappy quick overview of the city, or just need to prove to the social media universe you were in Austin this is the detour for you!

Register through Austin Detours directly for this tour. $60 plus tax
1:00 Real Austin Tour Registration Form
3:00 Real Austin Tour Registration Form

Austin Convention Center Tour
Friday at 2:00PM

For all of our Convention Center members, here's your chance to get a peek at another venue, with a local CSM tour guide to show you the way. Here are a few facts about the Center:

  • The Austin Convention Center is a LEED® Gold certified building located on six city blocks in the heart of Austin's downtown business district alongside Waller Creek.
  • The Austin Convention Center is 881,400 gross square feet and covers six city blocks.
  • The five contiguous Exhibit Halls have 247,052 sq. ft. of column-free space, 54 meeting rooms and show offices with 58,152 square feet, and seven ballrooms, including one with 40,510 sq. ft.
  • The Austin Convention Center Green Team Committee has worked with the Austin Climate Protection Program to develop a first-of-its-kind Departmental Climate Protection Plan. This plan is intended to help reduce the Convention Center's carbon footprint and help the City of Austin meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2020.

Sign up for this tour through the ESPA registration portal when you register for the conference. No charge.

Austin by Night
Friday at 7:30PM, following the Welcome Reception

Want to see Austin by Night but don't want to go it alone? Let's the locals plan the evening for you! Discover the best of Austin in just one evening. This customized tour is great for getting exactly what you want from a night out- Delicious food, a tasting from a local craft brewery, and live music! You'll return to the hotel at 10:30 so it's not too late!

Register through Austin Detours directly for this tour. $85 plus tax (includes food, beer tasting and music cover charge)

Austin by Night Registration Form

Saturday Night at Stubb's!
Saturday at 6:30PM

Hey, we're in Texas, so time for some great Bar-B-Q! And some music too of course. Stubb's has quite a history and you may have tasted their sauce from your local retailers. Registrants will enjoy a great classic dinner, with cocktails, then have the option to stay for the music afterwards (optional, separate ticket required). This is just a short walk from the hotel so you can stay for the music but depart when you are ready to go!

A little more about our venue, straight from their web site…"Stubb" was born Christopher B. Stubblefield in Navasota, Texas, as one of nine sons from parents he describes as "real good cooks." In the 1930′s, Stubb's family moved to Lubbock, Texas to pick cotton, and it was during this time Stubb learned to cook by working in local restaurants and hotels. Stubb left Lubbock to serve in the Korean War as a staff sergeant in the 96th Field Artillery, the last all-black army infantry, where he was a gunner and a respected leader. Stubb used this time to perfect his culinary skills by overseeing the preparation of daily meals for as many as 10,000 soldiers. After he returned, Stubb eventually opened his first restaurant in Lubbock in 1968, across from the county fairgrounds. He made his first barbecue in the hickory pit behind his place and filled the jukebox with vintage blues music. That legend lives on how in the Austin location. And it was here that Stubb's Legendary Bar-B-Q was born…In the 1970′s, Stubb's restaurant became the heart of an explosive music scene. Stubbs was ground zero for musicians like Joe Ely and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Other famous musicians who would "play for their supper" included Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Robert Cray, George Thorogood, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Linda Ronstadt and the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Sign up for this tour through the ESPA registration portal when you register for the conference. $48 (includes meal in private space and two drink tickets)

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ESPA's Host Hotel – Sheraton Austin at the Capitol

As all of ESPA's members know, ESPA has booked a block of rooms for its attendees. We appreciate and request that you stay in the ESPA block to help ensure that the association meets its booking requirements.

Featuring distinctively modern architecture and majestic views of downtown Austin, the hotel is situated in the cultural heart of Austin, Texas, we are next door to the famed Capitol and just steps from the University of Texas, the allure of the Sixth Street/Warehouse District, and Austin's burgeoning business district, including the Austin Convention Center.

Updated December 7, 2016:

ESPA room block at the Sheraton Austin at the Capitol has SOLD OUT. You can still book a room at the hotel though their website or calling the hotel directly at (512) 478-1111

Other nearby hotels:

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ESPA Gives Back

Each year, through our community support initiative, ESPA's awesome attendees bring items to be donated to a worthy cause in each of the cities we go to.

ESPA is proud to support Play To Learn.

High-quality childcare in Austin averages $9,734 a year. To support children who are not enrolled in childcare, United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) launched Play To Learn in 2012 to coach parents on fostering school readiness at home. Parents and their children attend classes at accessible neighborhood locations, such as libraries, and learn together from a qualified early learning coach.

Families enrolled in Play To Learn receive Samsung Galaxy tablets pre-loaded with age-appropriate and educational apps for children, as well as bookmarked websites and parenting videos to supplement classroom instruction. UWATX will serve approximately 300 families in 2015, and many more will benefit from the valuable research findings the program provides.

ESPA attendees are asked to bring donations for this worthy program. Click here for the list of items they need to be donated.

There’s also an option to make financial donations if you choose…to pay by credit card, please use the following secure donation page: https://secure.donationpay.org/unitedwayaustin/HOCT2.php. Under the project name and date field, include ESPA- Play To Learn to ensure the items get to the right program.

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Sponsorship Opportunities – Get your company in front of our event service leaders!

Take a look at who our current sponsors are!

The ESPA Annual Conference is attended by leading event and convention service managers in the meeting industry – including forward-thinking Event Managers and CSMs from Convention Centers, CVBs and Hotels from across the US and Canada. These EMs/CSMs make their own purchasing decisions and have great collaborative influence on the purchasing decisions of their meeting planner clients.

Sponsorship is one way to get your name out to these individuals. Creating name recognition and showing your commitment to supporting their event, sponsorship is a great investment. Rates range to fit all budgets.

If you are interested in getting your name out there to this target market, please take a moment to look over the Sponsorship Opportunities. If you have any questions, please contact Lynn McCullough at lmccullough@espaonline.org or call 609-799-3712.

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Austin & Travel Info

The Austin CVB web site says it best: Why Austin? The secret is out. Everyone who visits Austin these days leaves with something great to say. They can't stop talking about our legendary live music, burgeoning restaurant scene and unique culture. And a list of other things that you just have to experience for yourself to truly understand what makes Austin so Austin. The rest of the country has already taken notice. And it's time you did, too.

Visit Austin and see why their unofficial motto is Keep Austin Weird!

Check out this blog, hosted by the Austin CVB, which gives you an insider's look at this cool city!

The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is approximately 10 miles from the hotel. Taxi fares are roughly $20 to $25 to the hotel, plus gratuity. The hotel also offers 24-hour valet and self-parking for $22 to $32 a day. The CVB has put together a great list of Transportation Options including Super Shuttle and Ride Sharing options.

Southwest Airlines®—Our Event Service Professionals Association Conference Airline

Beginning on September 15, 2016, Event Service Professionals Association's conference attendees will receive a discount and bonus Rapid Reward points from Southwest Airlines through our SWABIZ® account. Southwest Airlines is offering an 8% discount off Anytime & Business Select® fares and a 2% discount off select Wanna Get Away® fares for travel to and from the conference. Book your travel between September 15, 2016 & December 21, 2016 to take advantage of the discounted rates. (Discounts are available for travel January 4, 2017 through January 10, 2017.)

Click here to take advantage of the discounted rates and book now!

By flying Southwest Airlines, as a Event Service Professionals Association traveler, you will also receive the following benefits:

  • 50% bonus Rapid Reward points for your travel to & from the convention with Rapid Rewards # added to your reservation. To enroll in the Rapid Rewards program, visit www.southwest.com/corporaterapidrewards
  • No baggage fees (first two bags)
  • No change or cancellation fees
  • No peak travel or fuel surcharges
  • Consistently ranked the "Best in Customer Service" by DOT

To take advantage of this offer, click on this link: http://www.swabiz.com/flight/search-flight.html?cid=99029324

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Contact us

For registration, contact Nicole Lauzon, Membership Coordinator

For travel inquiries and event details contact Maureen Sojka, Event Manager.

For press inquiries, please contact Greta Cuyler, PR Manager

For conference program or sponsorships, please contact Lynn McCullough, Executive Director.

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Is your manager a ROCK STAR?
Nominate Your Manager for the Executive Excellence Award

Deadline for submissions is November 23

Is your manager committed to excellence in Convention Services?

Last year's Award Winner, Anthony Lombardi, Sheraton Dallas

Each year at the Annual Conference, ESPA recognizes an executive for his or her commitment and dedication to the profession of event service and to giving key support and leadership to members of their services team. As a member of ESPA, if you feel your organization has an executive who is an ESPA supporter and convention services advocate, if he/she encourages continuing education and other avenues for professional development, submit your nomination!

Please fill out our online Nomination Form – winners will be selected at the end of November and the winner is invited to attend and receive the award in person.

Criteria and Guidelines

  • Nominee supports staff participation in ESPA
  • Nominee must be an executive of an organization which has an ESPA member. Executive is defined as a VP or higher at a CVB; a member of the executive committee or GM at a hotel; or a VP, GM or Executive Director at a Convention Center.
  • Nominee personally and consistently supports quality assurance in the organization's convention services operations.
  • Nominee supports staff development, growth and continuing education.
  • November 23 is the nomination deadline

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Do you have an AWESOME client?
Nominate Your Planner Client for Special Recognition

Meeting Professional of the Year - Deadline for submissions is November 23

Have you worked with an exceptional meeting planner?

Last year's Award Winner, Patrice M. Tursdell, CMP, Boggs Chung Incorporated

This award was designed to recognize the hard-working meeting professional who exhibits personal and professional characteristics that create an environment that focuses on team work, as well as shows support for the event services profession.

Event Service Professionals, this is your chance to recognize a planner that represents the best of the best! Event Service Professionals know better than anyone when a planner is prepared, shows professionalism and is a great leader when producing an event or meeting. Why not recognize them for their dedication and hard work? To submit a planner for consideration, please fill out our online Nomination Form – winners will be selected at the end of November and the winner is invited to attend and receive the award in person.

Criteria and Guidelines

  • You must have worked with meeting planner during the past year
  • Shows superior leadership and management qualities before, during and after the meeting
  • Recognizes the importance and supports the role of the Event Service Professional in the meeting planning process
  • November 23 is the nomination deadline

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Did you earn the coveted CMP?
Annual William H. Just, CAE, CMP Memorial Award – Conference Scholarship

Have you received your CMP Designation within the last 5 years?

Last year's Award Recipient, Brenda Wosnak, CMP, Visit Anaheim

Recent CMP recipients – Apply to attend the ESPA Annual Conference on a Scholarship!
Nomination Application: November 18

The Annual William H. Just CAE, CMP Memorial Award recognizes an ESPA member who has received their CMP certification within the last five years and remains in good standing with the association. The award was established in honor of the late William H. Just, CAE, CMP who founded ACOM (now ESPA) in 1988. Just also played a key role in the establishment of the CMP program. ESPA members can submit an application which includes an essay on how the CMP designation has been beneficial to them, why they decided to receive this certification and details on their industry and community involvement. The winner will receive a complimentary registration to the ESPA Annual Conference in Austin, which helps to support their CMP continuing education status.

Apply Today!

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ESPA Twitter Contest

The clock is ticking and bags will soon be packed for the trip to Austin for the ESPA Conference!
Get those smartphones ready, because we’re launching another Twitter contest- and there is a Facebook component too!

Everyone who completes all of the tasks according to the above rules will be entered to win the following prizes:

  • 1st place – Conference Registration for 2018 Annual Conference
  • 2nd Place – 6 Month ESPA Webinar package
  • 3rd Place – Pick 3 Webinar package

As in year’s past, there are two pre-conference questions, which participants should research and post answers to prior to the conference. Respond to each task with the hashtag #ESPAConference.

Pre-Conference (respond before Jan. 6, 2017)

  1. Austin is home to the largest population of which winged creature?
  2. Name a celebrity with ties to Austin.

At the Conference (respond between Jan. 6-8, 2017)

  1. Which celebrity was arrested in Austin, Texas back in 1999? (Hint: he was playing the bongos in his birthday suit at the time).
  2. Take & tweet a photo showing the Texas State Capitol.
  3. Take & tweet a photo with a new member of ESPA.
  4. Take & tweet of photo of a great Austin meal.
  5. Take & tweet a photo with an employee at Sheraton Austin Hotel At The Capitol who exhibits outstanding customer service.
  6. Take & tweet a photo with an ESPA board member (identify the board member).
  7. Take & tweet a photo with an ESPA conference sponsor (identify the sponsor).
  8. Take & tweet a photo of yourself with one of the award or scholarship recipients at this year’s conference.
  9. Take and tweet a photo with someone you just met at the conference.
  10. Tweet one great piece of advice from a 2017 ESPA Conference speaker- name the speaker and organization.

Facebook challenge:
Post a short video (20-30 seconds) of yourself explaining your favorite aspect of this year’s ESPA Conference. Be as specific as possible.

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