Meeting Planners Unite Team Bios

Team Bios

David Bruce, Executive Director and Founder

David Bruce

With more than 43 years of experience, knowledge and connections, David has a competitive advantage in almost every way. He’s seen just about everything in this business, he can draw inspiration from ideas that worked and dismiss directions that didn’t. In addition to planning meetings, he also manages the company’s day-to-day operations, serves on several professional boards and has twice been given Convention South Magazine’s “Meeting Professional to Watch” award.

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Bob SCHUSTER, Board of Advisors

Bob SCHUSTER

Bob Schuster heads up our Florida office. His four decades of experience is extensive in areas of marketing, negotiations, public relations, special/media events, tradeshows and corporate golf outings, which has given CMP a serious advantage and a trusted resource. He’s worked with corporations, associations, governments and teams, and has consistently exceeded their expectations.

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Paul Trapp, Board of Advisors

Paul Trapp

Paul Trapp - A former senior military leader, Paul served as Chief of Recruiting for the Army National Guard and successfully managed a national sales force of over 4,500 military recruiting personnel. Paul's background includes event management, government contracting, sales management & training, multi-state operations and overseeing a nine-digit annual budget. Assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer of National Conferencing, Inc., Paul is responsible for driving EBITDA, business development, associate training, internal and external communications, and branding / marketing. He currently oversees an international team of 53 full time meeting professionals and over 3,000 annual events. Paul is also the founder of an emerging franchise brand, EventPrep, a home-based franchise model providing Hotel Site Selection, Registration, Housing and Event Planning services. Paul is a proud graduate of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife Kimberly.

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Suzanne Spaner, Board of Advisors

Suzanne Spaner
Her 20+ years of experience in the hospitality industry began in 1998 as Business Manager / Controller with Marriott International's Senior Living Services division. Armed with a B.S. in Finance from Penn State University and the perspective gained during her studies abroad at Tel Aviv University–Suzanne shifted gears and joined Marriott's change management team traveling around the country to 180 hotels delivering presentations / sharing best practices / coaching teams on how to better utilize new technology / credit model / labor management scheduling systems in conjunction with the new shared service center handling these transactions. That experience taught her that she had the skills and relationships necessary to transition to a Sales role on the front lines as opposed to back of the house in accounting. Suzanne quickly rose to the role of Senior Group Sales Manager, earning Marriott's Chairman’s Circle Award for exceptional performance. In 2005, she was acquired by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company where she led in sales for the Southeast region which was the highest region in the company, an achievement for which she won the prestigious Keys to Success Award.

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Robyn M. MIETKIEWICZ, Board of Advisors

Robyn M. MIETKIEWICZ

Robyn M. Mietkiewicz, CMP, CMM, is a Senior Director, Global Meeting Services, at Meeting Sites Resource. She has been with the MSR team since 2004 and serves on the MSR Executive Committee which focuses on a multitude of company strategic initiatives. Robyn has earned the prestigious CMP and CMM certifications. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, and contributes articles to many meeting industry trade publications on a regular basis. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton with a major in Communications and an emphasis in Hospitality and Tourism. Robyn is a Past President of the MPI Orange County Chapter and has served as Chair of an MPI International Task Force. As President, she was responsible for overseeing a 19 member Board and 400 member Chapter. Robyn received the 2014 MPI RISE Award for Member of the Year and was also recognized by the CIC in 2013 with a Pacesetters Award.

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Jeff Berger, Board of Advisors

Jeff Berger

Bringing over 25 years hotel sales, marketing and operational experience to the firm, Jeff Berger is the company's President & CEO. Prior to the introduction of Conference Planning Resources, he served as Senior Vice President of Global Sales for an industry leading hotel site selection firm. As SVP, Mr. Berger oversaw the company's efforts in building a team of entrepreneurs with offices in dozens of cities across Canada, the United States and Brazil. These remote offices secured relationships with virtually every major hotel brand, independent properties and cruise lines and assisted hundreds of organizations in obtaining access to the best deals at appropriate hotels and resorts worldwide. Mr. Berger has been awarded the honor of serving on the Client Advisory Board for the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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MaryBeth Powers, Board of Advisors

MaryBeth Powers

MaryBeth A. Powers has been in the Hospitality business for more than 20 years. She has spent the majority of her professional life working for a variety of associations, cultivating a myriad of skills involved with planning successful meeting and events ranging from 10 to 5,000+ attendees per meeting. Her company, Planning Powers, specializes in site selection and contract negotiations, as well as logistics and conference management. MaryBeth has achieved her CMP and is an active member of Meeting Planners Unite (MPU) and Professional Convention and Management Association (PCMA), where she served as a member of the Independent Professional Task Force. She was an active member of Association of Meeting Professionals (AMPS), where she served on the Program Committee for 3 years including one year as Chair. MaryBeth works out of the DC area.

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Alex P. Doyle, Board of Advisors

Alex P. Doyle

Alex P. Doyle, CMP has been with 21st Century Group since April 2000 and is responsible for providing major meeting accounts with conference management, event strategy, sponsor/partnership and event communication related services. Mr. Doyle personally manages over 15 meeting accounts ranging from national associations, major corporations and professional societies located in the Pacific Northwest, US West as well as around the United States. In 2016, Doyle was elevated to the position of Vice President, Sales for 21st Century Group.

With over 35 years of practical experience in the meetings industry, Doyle has served both on the hospitality side as a Director of Conference Services, National Sales Manager and as Director of Sales & Marketing for a number of meeting resort hotels in California, Florida and Hawaii and as an independent conference planner. In addition, Mr. Doyle also served the Western Energy Institute as their in-house conference strategy director from 2003-2009 for this Portland, OR based training association. In his career as an independent conference planner, Doyle has managed over 1500 meetings, varying in size from 12 to over 4000 attendees.

Mr. Doyle holds a BS in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Nevada, Reno and is active in numerous meetings industry organizations such as Meeting Professionals International, Rocky Mountain Chapter Oregon Society of Association Management, and Professional Convention Management Association. He is also recognized as a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) by the Convention Industry Council. In 2014, Alex was recognized by Meeting Professionals International-Oregon Chapter as their Planner of the Year Award recipient.

Alex resides Aurora, CO with his wife Debbie and is actively involved in the meeting and hospitality industry community as well a supporter of numerous charitable endeavors and local service organizations such as the Rotary Club of Parker, CO and the Knights of Columbus Council 7880. Hobbies include CrossFit, golf, cycling and the great outdoors.

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Jeff Canham, Board of Advisors

Jeff Canham

Jeff Canham is a Partner with Prestige Global Meeting Source. Prestige is a site selection, meeting management firm headquartered in Minneapolis, MN with offices throughout the US and Canada. We currently have a team of 56 amazing, talented hospitality experts that strive for the best solutions for our clients. Jeff joined Prestige in 1999 after working on the hotel property level as a sales manager with various brands. Jeff resides in Palm Springs with his partner and 2 awesome dogs – Jake and Benny!

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Cindy Dodson, President Meeting Services Inc

Cindy Dodson

Cindy Dodson is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) and Certified Government Contractor (CGC). She is a member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP).

She has been a recognized leader in the meeting industry for over the past twenty years. She was named “One of the Top 100 Meeting Professionals to Watch” by Convention South Magazine. She served on the Board of Directors for the Society of Government Meeting Professionals National Capital Chapter in various capacities. She has received numerous awards throughout her career including twice begin named “Contract Planner of the Year” for the Society of Government Meeting Professionals National Capital Chapter and received the NATCPA President’s Award for Excellence and the SGMP National President’s Award of Excellence. Cindy was also named “Meeting Planner of the Year” for Meeting Professionals International Carolinas Chapter.

During her years in the industry, she has managed conference planning, registration procedures, and special event planning for groups of 5 to 5,000 persons. Her client contacts include Federal Aviation Administration – Office of the Administrator, Aerospace Transportation and Flight Standards, United States Postal Service – Office of the Postmaster General, USDA Leadership Academy, Society of Financial Examiners, International Hunter Education, NC Center for Nonprofits, Department of Defense, and the Comptroller of the Currency.

Cindy has presented at numerous national conferences in the meeting planning industry. Cindy also served as a member of the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board.

Cindy participated as program developer and instructor for the pilot session offered by Society of Government Meeting Professionals for an industry certification for government meeting planners. Cindy has been involved in the structure of the program, content of the course materials, and instructed in the pilot program in May of 2005. This program offers a Certified Government Meeting Professional to the successful participants and is the highest such designation in the Government meeting planning industry.

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Deborah Wilborn, Membership Manager

Deborah Wilborn

Deborah is a Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) with over seventeen years experience in professional meeting planning and association management.  In her role with Meeting Services, she has served as Executive Director for the North Carolina State Troopers Association since 2009.

In her role with NCTA, she manages the association for over 2100 members.  During her term with this association, membership has increased three fold.  Under her leadership, the Association has untaken and successfully operates a corporate store to provide a revenue source for the Association and thus limiting the need for fund raising.  Her role includes membership management and development, financial management, day to day operations, payroll, board member support and quarterly board meetings. Reporting to the board of directors on status of membership, any issues, financials and website.

She also serves as Registration Center Manager for Meeting Services, Inc. In this capacity, she interacts closely with a website development team on the design, layout, and function of the on-line registration services. She is responsible for database management and information flow for numerous federal government agency clients as well as association clientele.

Deborah’s expertise in the areas of database management and information execution is exceptional. In additional, Deborah has served as a Senior Meeting Manager for conferences in a range of 50-200.

Her background includes serving as a Sales Team Administrator for a large Security Firm specializing in commercial alarm systems. This position required the management of sales teams consisting of 10-15 members. Deborah prepared and management contract negotiations, deliverable schedules for million dollar contracts.

Her skill set offers excellent opportunity for project management, database development and implementation, on-site management and post conference review.

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