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2024 Educational Sessions

Welcome to the Hospitality & Tourism Summit Educational Sessions Agenda! Discover captivating discussions led by industry leaders, tailored to elevate your expertise in this dynamic field. Explore our sessions below:

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Working With Influencers To Tell Your Story

Moderator: Alex Jakubiak, VP Carol Fox & Associates

Discover the power of influencers as the modern-day brand ambassadors in this highly engaging session. Connect with leading influencers from the Chicago area and gain valuable insights into the dos and don'ts of approaching them to showcase you, your business, or your event on their platforms. Moderated by Alex Jakubiak, a seasoned professional with extensive experience collaborating with influencers across North America, this panel guarantees practical guidance for leveraging influencer partnerships effectively.

11:00 AM - 11:25 AM

11:25 AM 

11:40 AM - 12:05 PM

Cutting Through The Clutter: How To Get Noticed By The Media

Moderator: Jamey Lundblad, Deputy Commissioner for Marketing and Development at City of Chicago DCASE​Panelists: Noreen Heron, President, Heron Agency​; Wendy Altschuler, Travel Journalist

Getting journalists to write about you, your business, or your event is a highly effective and affordable way to promote your business to potential customers. Led by DCASE's Jamey Lundblad, this panel will feature leaders in the public relations field, as well as travel and entertainment writers discussing how they determine which business and events to include in their stories. This panel will deliver actionable advice for getting on their radar.


Sponsored By: Carol Fox & Associates

Sustainable Event Ideas: Making It Affordable, Accessible, & Practical

Moderator: Sean Thorndike, PC Events and Experiences

Gain valuable insights into the practical implementation of sustainable best practices, including cost-effective strategies and resourceful partnerships. From eco-friendly festivals to zero-waste conferences and inclusive community initiatives, discover inspiring examples that promote environmental consciousness while catering to diverse budgets and audiences. Whether you're a meeting or event planner, organizer, or enthusiast, this session provides a treasure trove of ideas and actionable tips to create memorable, impactful, and sustainable events. Led by PC Events and Experiences Sean Thorndike, don't miss this panel of experts as they unlock the potential for greener and more accessible event experiences.

12:05 PM - 12:25 PM

The 77: Chicago’s Neighborhoods as Cultural Tourism & Event Destinations

Moderator: Rob Fojtik, Vice President, Neighborhood Strategy, Choose Chicago

Join this highly informative panel discussion with community leaders about strategies to curate unforgettable experiences in Chicago’s neighborhoods by integrating creativity, community, tourism, events, and culture. Led by Choose Chicago’s Rob Fojtik, you will also get a peek into Choose Chicago's innovative neighborhood marketing campaign. This panel will provide you with ideas and inspiration on how Chicago's neighborhoods can serve as hosts for your guests and events, offering uniquely Chicago experiences.

Sponsored By: Big Bus | Choose Chicago

12:25 PM - 12:50 PM

Unique Tourism, Meeting, And Event Experiences Beyond Chicago

Moderator: Gina Speckman, Executive Director, Chicago's North Shore Convention & Visitor's Bureau
Panelists: Cort Carlson, Executive Director, Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau; Darlene Chapman, President, Discover Downstate Illinois; Terri Reifsteck, VP of Marketing & Community Engagement, Experience Champaign-Urbana

Explore the unique and outstanding tourism, meeting, and event opportunities across different regions of Illinois. Spearheaded by Gina Speckman, this enlightening panel features experts from destination marketing organizations, offering valuable insights, inspiration, and access to unforgettable experiences and events that are not to be missed.

Presenting Partner: Enjoy Illinois

12:50 PM


1:05 PM - 1:30 PM

The Future of Tourism in Illinois: From Regional Meetings And Events To International Visitors And Everything In Between!

Speaker: Daniel Thomas, Deputy Director, Illinois Office of Tourism

The tourism space and visitor has changed dramatically and we must change with it. Join the Illinois Office of Tourism Deputy Director, Daniel Thomas as he shares insights, learnings, and opportunities that can help you, your events, and your business. Learn about the Illinois Office of Tourism’s brand and marketing strategy and how they are positioning for the future. Don't miss this chance to get cutting-edge industry information to help you, your business, and your event.

Presenting Partner: Enjoy Illinois

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Keynote Panel: The State Of Hospitality, Meetings & Events, & Tourism In Chicago

Moderator: Rich Gamble, Interim President & CEO, Choose Chicago
Panelists: Michael Jacobson, President & CEO, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association; Marilynn Gardner, President & CEO, Navy Pier Inc.; Daniel Thomas, Deputy Director, Illinois Office of Tourism

Join us for an enlightening panel discussion led by Richard Gamble, Acting CEO of Choose Chicago, as we delve into the current state of the industry and provide insights into what lies ahead. The panel will also explore the benefits and opportunities associated with hosting IPW in 2025 for our city and our businesses. Don't miss this opportunity to gain valuable perspectives and strategic foresight into the future of our industry from these insightful industry leaders.

Parallel Lines

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