Management Team

ConventionPlanit.com Mission Statement

To provide the meeting, event and tradeshow planning community with a comprehensive web based portal designed to facilitate easy access to information, both domestically and internationally, on destinations, facilities, service providers and other industry related resources.


Katherine S. Markham, CHME
Principal & Co-Founder


As principal & co-founder of ConventionPlanit.com, Ms. Markham is responsible for sales and marketing strategies as well as new business development.

Ms. Markham began her career in group sales with Marriott Hotels and Resorts in 1980. Since then, she has held leadership positions in sales and marketing, both on property and in national sales, for major hotel, convention bureau, and service provider sectors of the meetings industry. Some of her past employers include Renaissance Hotels, Radisson Hotels International, The Homestead Resort, Associated Luxury Hotels and Resorts, Inc., Park Terrace Hotel, 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 a Principal & Co-Founder of the Alliance Service Network, a national sales office and lead generation firm for service providers. This entrepreneurial step led to the evolution of ConventionPlanit.com.

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. She is active in committees and local boards of The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), Meeting Planners International (MPI), New York Society of Association Executives (NYSAE) and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). Ms. Markham currently serves 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.


Muzette Randall
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.


Carolyn Pemberton
Regional Director of Sales

Carolyn Pemberton is an experienced executive with skills in sales, public relations, and leadership development. She has worked in public relations and editorial positions with the Society of Nuclear Medicine, Employee Benefit Research Institute, and the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association.

Most recently Carolyn was an independent representative for Silpada Designs, working in network marketing sales to promote sterling silver jewelry products, where she was ranked in the top 3 percent of company salespeople for the past several years. She has also trained and developed team members to operate their own businesses.

Carolyn is also an active community volunteer with local school and church groups.


Sandra Reed
Meetings Alliance - Latin America

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.


Tony Yarto
Meetings Alliance - Latin America

Tony is passionate about working, gadgets, tourism and wine.

He graduated from the University Anahuac, with a major on Business Administration and Tourism. He later obtained a postgraduate on Finance and Digital Marketing. He has held top executive positions in companies of financial institutions, telecommunications and tourism.

He is a blogger on El Universal, Andadura Radio and Cantando Negocios. (Mostly tourism and business pages).

He is director and part-owner of Grupo Latour, (Partner with his brother Eduardo), which has earned two important prizes: Best Tourism web page and Gold Medal for service and quality.


Eduardo Yarto
Meetings Alliance - Latin America

Eduardo has 25 years experience in the tourism industry, of which the last 15 have been specialized in the meetings industry. He is currently CEO of Mexico Experience, a company specializing on consulting, representing destinations and tourism product development. Prior to that, Eduardo held positions within the meetings segment at the Ministry of Tourism for Mexico City among others.

Among his many credentials, Eduardo is a CMP as well as CEM. He has published articles in tourism publications such as Buen Viaje Magazine, MásExpos Magazine and on Turespacio.com website as well as Mexican newspapers.

In 2007 he published the book Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions and has taught more than 30 specialized seminars in the meetings industry throughout Mexico and Latin America.

Eduardo was Chairman of Mexico Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and is on the Advisory Board of the association. He is currently Training Vice President of the AMPROFEC and is a founding partner of PCMA Mexico Chapter where he holds the position of Education Vice President.


Carol Mills
Marketing Manager

Carol Mills joins the ConventionPlanit.com sales team with strong experience in telemarketing to meeting professionals, giving her a thorough understanding of their needs and hot-button issues.

She is able to pass along this intelligence in her sales conversations with destinations, convention centers, hotels, resorts, and other suppliers. She also spent 15 years as an elementary school teacher, giving her patience and the ability to project a positive attitude. She has excellent attention to detail and is dedicated to delivering strong value to clients.


Stephanie Kreps
Meeting Specialist

Stephanie Kreps has an extensive background in library work, with a Master's in Library Science from Indiana University and has held several positions in that field.

Her duties as a meeting specialist with ConventionPlanit.com involve introducing free services and resources to meeting planners and recruiting Hosted Buyers to IMEX's U.S. and Frankfurt shows, as well as managing those groups.


Deby Anglin
Meeting Specialist

Deby Anglin Graduated from Marymount University and attended The International School of Interior Design. After finishing school, she worked as an interior designer for 13 years in New York and Virginia, working with Colleges, Universities, state government agencies and private individuals. Anglin home schooled her children for several years before moving to Maryland in 2004. She has been working for ConventionPlanit.com for four years.

Anglin contacts meeting and event planners on a daily basis to acquaint them with the many free services ConventionPlanit.com has to offer.


Kim Sheldon
Meeting Specialist

Kim Sheldon joins the ConventionPlanit.com team with an eclectic professional background. She has worked as a licensed hair stylist, emergency room nurse, and an educator. By far her favorite roles are wife, mother and grandmother.

As a meeting specialist, Kim focuses her unique skill set on introducing meeting and event planners to our valuable free services at ConventionPlanit.com.


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
Webmaster

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.

Debbie Carter
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 administration.


Ashley Chalmers
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.