Katherine S. Markham, CHME
Principal & Co-Founder
||Katherine Markham, CHME is the Principal & Co-Founder of ConventionPlanit.com, a multimedia search channel and RFP portal. She is responsible for marketing strategies and new business development. An innovator for her time, Ms. Markham created ConventionPlanit.com in 2003, when online bookings for the meetings industry were not yet widespread.
Her vast knowledge of the hospitality industry combined with a desire to solve a problem sparked the creation of ConventionPlanit.com. The concept was simple: provide meeting planners an easy way to access information while helping suppliers reach more buyers. An Advisory Council of meeting planners assisted in outlining the search functionalities of the website, truly making the website a tool designed by and for meeting planners. With a vision to position buyers with sellers through technology at the forefront, the website is an industry favorite for original meeting planners who prefer a commission-free environment and easy sourcing tools. Today, ConventionPlanit.com boasts a strong industry endorsement by Senior Planner Industry Network (SPIN), and partnerships that include the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association (HSMAI), IMEX and IBTM. Additional digital offerings for suppliers have grown over the year to access hard to reach buyers.
Ms. Markham began her career in group sales with Marriott Hotels and has held leadership positions in sales and marketing for Renaissance Hotels, Radisson Hotels, Homestead Resort, Associated Luxury Hotels and Resorts, Inc., Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Expovision. She is also a Certified Hotel Marketing Executive (CHME). Prior to launching ConventionPlanit.com in 2003, Ms. Markham was Co-Founder of the Alliance Service Network, a lead generation firm for service providers. Ms. Markham was a weekly host of Your Meeting Matters, a segment of the Washington, DC radio program Association Nation, in which she engaged key players in the meetings industry in lively discussions. Ms. Markham served on the marketing advisory councils for APEX and Event Technology Exposition.
David B. Markham
Principal & Co-Founder
||As principal & co-founder of ConventionPlanit.com, Mr. Markham is responsible for operations, in addition to new business development.
Mr. Markham began his career at the Watergate Hotel and Loews L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC, where over a period of several years,
he assumed several management positions of increasing responsibility
within the rooms and operations division. David later joined the
Astor Hotel Management Company to open the Ramada Renaissance Hotel
in Washington, DC, and held management positions in both the operations
and sales and marketing departments of the Renaissance Hotel and
Congressional Park Hotel.
Following his tenure with Astor Hotels, Mr. Markham
assumed the role of Director of Sales & Marketing for the Madison
Hotel Group and Omni Georgetown Hotel, both located in Washington,
DC. From 1992 thru 2000, David was Director of Sales and Marketing
in the Washington, DC office of the David Green Organization, a national
representation company of leading independent hotels and resorts.
Prior to launching ConventionPlanit.com, Mr. Markham was principal & co-founder of the Alliance Service Network, a national sales office and lead generation firm for leading service providers to the meetings industry.
Mr. Markham is a member of The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and Association of Meeting Professionals (AMP's).
Maureen Pickell, CTC
Director of Global Accounts and Media Relations
||Maureen S. Pickell, CTC, has worked in the travel industry for more than 25 years. She has worked as a travel agent as well as in airline sales for five different carriers. Most recently, she spent 21 years with Northwest Airlines as its manager of meeting and incentive sales based in Washington, D.C., specializing in the association market.
Maureen holds a Certified Travel Counselors degree from the Institute of Certified Travel Agents and was called on by the Professional Convention Management Association to author the chapter on Transportation for the 3rd edition of its textbook for planners entitled "Professional Meetings Management." The Potomac Chapter of Meeting Professionals International named her the 2000-2001 Supplier of the Year and she has received numerous sales and marketing achievement awards during her airline career.
Deborah Shepard, CMP, CHSP
Regional Director of Sales
||With over 30 years in the hospitality marketing and sales arena, Deborah understands the delicate balance required to satisfy a hotel property’s team, its management and owners; along with their customers. With a passion to continuously reach the next level of Excellence, Deborah’s success comes from focusing on achieving profitable results and exceeding the expectation of both our internal and external clients.
Experience has taught her that success comes from multiple revenue streams, with each market segment aligned appropriately for the current and anticipated economic, competitive climate. She worked closely with sales and revenue staff to ensure effective positioning of direct sales, creative print and e-marketing, on-line search tools, and reservation channel optimization.
Deborah’s background includes single and multiple property sales, training and management, as well as Global Sales. She has created and led teams in a Director role with such companies as Guest Quarter Suite Hotels (now part of Hilton Hotels), Millenium & Copthorne, Promus Hotels and IHG.
Her sales, leadership and community involvement have been recognized by the Redondo Beach and Greater Los Angeles Division of Rotary Clubs International, naming her 2012-13 Non Rotarian Business Leader of the Year. The MPI Southern CA Chapter honored her with the Lois K Hauser Service Award, and the Redondo Beach CVB voted her Volunteer of the Year-2011. She has earned the Crowne Plaza Creativity and Teamwork Award along with being named Brand Champion- IHG/HPT-Southern CA hotels.
Regional Director of Sales
||Muzette Randall has more than 25 years of advertising sales, marketing and management experience. Her career has included broadcast, direct mail and interactive media as well as direct print and advertising agency sales development.
She got her start in newspapers, where she held several advertising sales positions culminating with a regional and national advertising sales assignment with Landon Media representing newspapers across the country, including publications in every major city in Georgia. Randall served as President of the Atlanta chapter of the Newspaper Advertising Sales Association. She was a pioneer in the industry’s effort to streamline multiple newspaper placement and billing through her efforts with The Newspaper Network and The Associated Press.
Randall launched her own consultant company, Ten20 Marketing, where she has taken on several internet marketing initiatives involving online news, manufacturing industry resource sites, and real estate consumer marketing. She has worked closely with a wide variety of clients from small family-owned business to Fortune 500 companies. Her hospitality clientele has included cruise lines, major hotel chains, and national travel services.
Regional Director of Sales
||Cindy Holmberg has 20 plus years of media and marketing experience. In 2005, while producing videos for national conventions, she became involved in event planning and the RFP submission process. She has produced award-winning videos and written scripts and digital content for the University of Maryland, AOL, the Library of Congress, Coventry Health Care, the National Institutes of Health—and a host of private and public sector organizations.
Cindy grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She has also lived in Delaware, Maine, DC, Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio. As a certified Airforce brat, Cindy even spent three years in Japan, where she fell in love with cherry blossoms, kimonos, and, most of all, the Japanese people. She attended Mississippi State University, where she obtained her undergraduate degree in education and more recently took MBA coursework.
Director of Latin America - ConventionPlanitLatam.com
||Sandra Reed has worked in the hospitality industry for over 25 years. Sandra studied Hotel Management at the Institute Internacional de Glion in Switzerland and has worked in hotels in Geneva, Panama and Miami. Her position as Corporate Sales Manager allowed her to work directly with meeting planners and international clients. Most recently, she was the Regional Director at a publishing company where she was responsible for the annual Mexico Meetings and Incentive Planner.
Sandra is fluent in English and Spanish and proficient in French. She has intimate knowledge of Mexico, Panama, Colombia as well as the rest of South and Central America.
When Sandra is not traveling, she enjoys playing golf.
Al Rickard, CAE
Director of Communications
Al Rickard is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with 30 years of experience in communications, marketing, publishing, public affairs, and association management. He is president of ASSOCIATION VISION, a communications company that provides services to a large client base of associations and corporations that sell to associations. He launched this company in 2000 following a long career working for major associations in the Washington, DC area.
In the late 1990s, Rickard served as Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives (GWSAE), where he integrated the public relations, government affairs, and publishing operations into an expanded Communications Department.
He also led a major division of one of the nation's largest trade associations, serving as Senior Vice President for Member Services & Marketing at the National Food Processors Association.
He also served as Vice President of Communications and Government Relations at the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus (now the Destination Marketing Association International), where he spearheaded association involvement in the first-ever White House Conference on Travel and Tourism, developing and implementing a strategy to nominate and install 235 CVB executives as delegates to the conference.
Rickard spent several years as Vice President of Communications at the Snack Food Association, where he created and launched a consumer public relations campaign, National Snack Food Month and published Snack World magazine.
Earlier in his career, Rickard was the first Section Newsletter Editor at the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and was the first Editor of USAE newspaper, an independent trade journal covering the association/meetings/hospitality industry.
||Daniel Shipman is Vice President of Interactive Media at SRJ Marketing Communications. He honed his web programming skills through hands-on experience in interactive marketing. Mr. Shipman has supervised and personally created a wide range of technologically advanced websites for a wide range of clients. As soon as a new technology is introduced, Mr. Shipman carefully assesses it before integrating it into his development processes. He has advanced programming knowledge of Flash, PHP, MySQL, PERL, CSS, DHTML, and HTML. Mr. Shipman attended Wayland Baptist University.
||Mara Hill Buckner brings to ConventionPlanit.com an extensive background of hospitality account management and business development experience growing revenue for CVB’s, hotels and resorts as well as professional meeting services. With over 25 years of consultative sales approach she is effective in building and maintaining relationships while providing creative solutions that meet the logistical and financial requirements of all parties.
In 2015 Mara launched Goshen Enterprises to pursue her passion for assisting organizations in growing their businesses. The partnership with ConventionPlanit.com parallels my desire to contribute to the hospitality industry as an independent contractor. It is an awesome time to be a part of ConventionPlanit.com with the ability to help bring planners and suppliers together with new distribution channels.
Director of Administrative Services
||Ms. Carter began her career in office management
with Prudential Insurance in 1975. Upon moving to Southern Florida in
1982, she worked in sales and office administration for Nautical Furnishings
and later, in the same capacity with Coldwell Banker. Before joining ConventionPlanit.com,
Ms. Carter previously worked part-time in
sales and office administration for INESS, a telecom equipment sales
and marketing firm in the Washington, DC area.
As Director of Administration, Ms. Carter performs a myriad of tasks relating to marketing and office
Director of Internet Operations
||Ashley Chalmers has been involved in the hospitality industry for her entire professional career. She has experience in Web design, marketing, event planning, and sales -- a strong combination for this industry.
At ConventionPlanit.com, she handles company operations, maintains social media and the ConventionPlanit.com blog, e-newsletter, and some internet marketing. Chalmers assists meeting planners with RFP distribution through the popular RFP Valet® and RFP OrganizationSM programs and is the primary staff contact for member ad fulfillment, press releases and listings.
She is an active member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), especially through the Under 30 Gateway, a group for young industry professionals. She sits on the national council for this group and serves as the Marketing Co-Chair, and is a former Chair and Vice Chair of the National Capital chapter. Chalmers has co-presented educational sessions for both meeting planners and suppliers for The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and The Potomac Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Chalmers attended the University of Maryland.