Global Meeting Leaders’ Summit Wraps Up in DC

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VisitBritain, meetings
Amber Ellithorpe, events manager from The Task Force for Global Health TEPHINET Program, was the proud winner of the coveted Corgi for her social media posts during the event.

MGM National Harbor was the site of the first Global Meeting Leaders’ Summit June 3 and 4—two days packed with information sharing and networking.

Sponsored by VisitBritain, the Global Meeting Leaders’ Summit was a mix of education and one-on-one appointments with representatives from 21 destinations/facilities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Austin Powers, meetings
Posing with surprise guest Austin Powers are Leslie Zeck, director of meetings at the International and American Associations for Dental Research (left) and Sheila Hession, director of sales at MGM National Harbor.

An opening reception in the posh VIP Lounge of MGM’s theater featured none other than Austin Powers, who posed for selfies with the group; a sampling of British treats and sweets; and a perfume bar amenity experience by Scenterprises, where attendees learned about their fragrance profile and were able to create their own scents based on that.

Dan O'Donoghue, meetings
Dan O’Donoghue, Head of UKVI North America & The Caribbean, shared innovations that make entry into the UK a breeze.

A session on Brexit by GBTA’s Senior VP of Professional Development and Research, Dr. Amanda Cecil, included two virtual panelists: Jo Dardenne, public affairs manager and head of transport, travel & tourism at Grayling speaking from Brussels, and Douglas O’Neill, CEO of INNTEL and chair of GBTA Europe’s Meetings Committee in Essex, UK. UK Visas & Immigration’s Head, Dan O’Donoghue, shared developments that have made it easier than ever to enter the UK, including the expansion of eGates and an on-demand mobile visa processing service. GoldSpring Consulting’s Senior VP Kevin Iwamoto finished off the day by addressing the nuances of GDPR as it relates to meeting planners.

MGM National Harbor, meetings
The VIP Lounge at MGM National Harbor’s Theater provided an elegant setting for the opening evening.

Over the two days, the corporate and association meeting planner attendees had a chance to meet one-on-one with a variety of U.K. destination and facilities to explore new opportunities and sites for their future events, both big and small.

VisitBritain, meetings

Many thanks to VisitBritain and its partners; our host hotel, MGM National Harbor; amenity vendor Scenterprises; and our app concierge, Power Event Group!

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.