4th Quarter 2009
Dawn Rockas Head Shot  


The best for last . . . and so it goes.

2009 started with an unprecedented inauguration of our first African-American President. Our economy performed in ways that brought many of us to our knees, leaving a nation perplexed and befuddled. We've been tested, stretched and asked to do more with less. Gone is the promise of a strong employer, consistent benefits and unquestionable tenure. Or so we've thought.

Alas, here we are closing a historical year of fear, uncertainty and questions about our future. You'd think this would immobilize us; keep us from pulling ourselves up from our boot straps. I say, NO! We as Americans, members of NYPCMA and the cogs of the meetings community have said NO WE WON'T. We've engaged each other as never before with sense of human decency that is unprecedented. We've extended olive branches, offered mutually beneficial resolutions and again said-NO WE WON'T GIVE UP.
We have a great opportunity to retool, redesign and make greater contributions. I challenge each of you to be all that you can be, act with kindness in all of your affairs and keep America meeting.

A parting note of thanks to the 2009 Board of Volunteers and all the members of NYPCMA for your support in 2009.

 Warm regards,
Dawn Rockas

Dawn D. Rockas, CMP
President, NYPCMA
National Sales Director
SDCVB-Northeast Sales Office

Introducing Your 2010 Chapter Board Members!

A veritable Who's Who in the Greater New York Area meetings industry. How many do you know? And in which leadership roles will they be serving you in over the next year?

AnneSDeanDAEduc Day PanelRead More ...

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Education Day 2009: Social Media, Life Balance
and Coping With Economic Changes Headline Event

by Anatasia (Stacey) Courtney
Convention Manager, Modern Language Association

What are some ways in which social media and
other new technologies Educ Day Panelcan improve your work and your life? How can you balance a fulfilling life with a successful career? Where is our industry heading, and how are hotels, airlines, and planners coping with the economic changes of the past year? These are some questions that were explored at the 2009 NYPCMA Education Day that was held on September 15 at the Park Central Hotel in New York City. 

Read More ....
Hot Technologies Speaker Jim Spellos
with NYPCMA VP Karin Bagnall

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Life Balance Speaker Clay Nelson (Center); Sponsor Delia Germani, Tourisme Montreal (Left) and NYPCMA VP Karin Bagnall, MLA (Right)

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Industry Panel (L-R): Steve Richard, Marriott; Anita O'Boyle, IRR;  Craig Caron, Hilton;  Phyllis Klasky, ASME;  Mary Casey, Starwood; Chris Clarke, Continental Airlines; Moderator Gregg Talley, Talley Management Group.

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Communicating When Strangling Isn't An Option
by Sue Hershkowitz-Coore, CSPEduc Day Panel

When planning a meeting, there is one thing you can be certain of ... someone will be difficult to work with. Someone will have his or her own agenda, not follow your plan, or create a situation where you don't look good, prepared or right. With all the stress of meetings and the huge importance of successful outcomes for multiple stake-holders, someone will get on your nerves, frustrate you and make the entire planning process much more difficult than it should be. 
What can you do to maintain your professionalism and be heard?

Read More ...                                                  

NYPCMA Brings A "New Level of Excellence
To New Jersey

By Lisa Boyd, CMP

Supervisor, Meeting & Conference Management, IEEE

On Friday, November 6, 2009, over 60 attendees gathered at Hyatt Morristown Hotel in Morristown, NJ for the Lead Your Team to New Levels of Excellence session led by PCMA Best in Class Speaker - Jerry Teplitz, JD, Ph.D., CSP.
On behalf of the NJ members of NYPCMA, thanks to those who crossed the Hudson and allowed us to partake in a chapter event in our own backyard.
This effort went hand in hand with the topic of the
day;  it was definitely a new level of excellence Educ Day Panel
for the chapter.
Dr. Teplitz delivered an interactive session designed to assist us all in becoming more effective leaders using a unique tool: learning how our personal energy system and behavioral kinesiology play a major part in our physical and mental abilities and dramatically affect ourselves and those around us.
Read More ...                                                            Attendees exercise
                                                                                 their Mind Power.

Sponsored by:
  Lee County CVB
LA Inc
Hyatt Morristown

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2009 PCMA Achievement Award Winner
Each year, PCMA honors outstanding members for their contributions to PCMA and the meetings and hospitality industry.  NYPCMA is proud to announce one of its own  as the winner of a 2009 Achievement Award. She will be recognized at the 54th PCMA Annual Meeting, Jan. 10-13, 2010, in Dallas.

Distinguished Member of the Year:
Deborah L. Richardt, CMPEduc Day Panel
Senior Director, Meeting Services
American Thoracic Society 
Deborah L. Richardt, CMP is completely and unabashedly committed to everything in her life.  Industry peers will tell you that Debbie walks the walk and talks the talk; always questing for excellence and accountability in an industry that does not accept mediocrity.  Co-workers will tell you that Debbie stretches them to be all they can be; always leading by example and rolling up her sleeves to ensure that a job gets done.  Subordinates will tell you that they earned their chops under Debbie's tutelage; always leaving Debbie's employ with more than they came in with and always with a hug of encouragement and advice to keep "paying it forward" in all their affairs.  Students will tell you that they want to be Debbie; smart, articulate and a consummate mentor and professional.  The two (2) most important men in Debbie's life; husband Bob and Penn State son, Tim, will tell you that they love Debbie's passion and enthusiasm for everything she shares.  Debbie's mom will tell you that Debbie is selfless and caring and the best daughter a mother could want.  Charlie, Debbie's four (4) legged "son," will tell you that he misses his mommy while she's out positively affecting so many people in the world.  He's proud to know that his mommy has contributed so much to PCMA, particularly NYPCMA, as one of the founding members. She has contributed to the meetings industry through 31 years of local and national involvement, including her 23 years of service to the American Lung Association & American Thoracic Society; her relentless dedication to students (our future).
Debbie has been passionate in her quest for fitness (physical and spiritual), as well as in her private and humble contribution to her community of Oradell, New Jersey. She has truly demonstrated commitment to excellence in all her affairs.

President's Volunteer of the Quarter
Educ Day Panel
Diana Brady - Director of Programs

There's a sentiment out in the world; it's always the quiet ones who surprise! NYPCMA has one such quiet volunteer. This individual submitted an essay for the 2008 NYPCMA chapter annual meeting scholarship. A corporate trade-show marketing guru by day, Diana Brady yearned to immerse herself in meeting planning. Her scholarship essay spoke to a passion which we usually hear only from students. Diana's humility was inspiring and her commitment to "Pay It Forward" convinced the scholarship committee to award her a full scholarship to Seattle.

The NYPCMA Board knew that we could count on Diana to live up to her commitment: an article in the newsletter and perhaps a volunteer on a committee. What we weren't prepared for was Diana throwing her hat into the ring to volunteer as the 2009 Director of Programs-the hardest role on the Board. Diana began her role in October 2008 during the annual Board Retreat. The typical succession hand-off was not to be as our 2008 Director of Programs relocated to Texas. Diana was not deterred. She learned the ropes; developed SOP's and produced a fabulous year of programming. Diana was a "Member's Advocate" on the Board, consistently pushing us to keep NYPCMA programs relevant. Diana was instrumental in developing the "Pay What You Can Program," which received much national industry press and the thanks of all attendees at the NYPCMA June program. For the reasons mentioned above; for June Speakers/Sponsorsexecuting the November program in New Jersey and for giving 150% to NYPCMA, Diana is unquestionably the Volunteer of the Quarter.

In Memorium: Samantha Cohn, CMP
Educ Day PanelThe meetings industry lost a warm, caring and dedicated member who will be deeply missed. Samantha Cohn died suddenly Saturday, September 19th, 2009.  She was recently the senior meeting planner at the Risk & Insurance Management Society and over the years, she devoted much of her time to the MPIGNY chapter through her work on the Golf Committee, Community Outreach, and Annual Fundraising auction. In 2008 Samantha was awarded the Rising Star Award from MPIGNY.

In June 2009, the MPIGNY Fundraising committee, which Samantha co-chaired, received the Board of Director's Award for an outstanding job with its Annual Fundraising Auction. In July 2009, Samantha started her role on the Board of Directors and over a few months organized a strong committee to lead the chapter into another year of successful fundraising. Samantha shall be deeply missed as a colleague, industry professional, and most of all, a friend.
In This Issue
Your 2010 Board of Directors
Education Day 2009
Communicating When Strangling Isn't An Option
NYPCMA Brings New Level of Excellence To NJ
2009 PCMA Achievement Award Winner
Volunteer of the Quarter
In Memorium: Samantha Cohn
Service In Sync at Bowery Mission
Member Spotlight: Norma Taylor
Student Gathers New Ideas at Education Day


Cotinental Airlines

Education Day Sponsored By:


Hawaii CVB Ad   
Visit Our Sponsor

Tourism Quebec

Visit Our Sponsor

Thank You To Our Gold

Hawai'i Convention Center

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(Left, clockwise): Christian Jacoby, Charlene Nakamura, Lee Conching,
Michael Scherbert, Linda Kadohiro,
Epooni Perkins.

Volunteer Now

  Get involved .... become a
  chapter volunteer. Click on
  the button above and a chapter
  representative will contact you.

Education Day Drawing Benefits

PCMA Education Foundation

A warm thanks to all the Education Day attendees who gave to our NFTN charity for the quarter- the PCMA Education Foundation. Our students from the University of New Haven solicited donations and you all gave generously! A special thanks to Cathy Dien from Buena Vista Palace, Orlando for contributing.
The NYPCMA chapter board voted to award additional funds to raise our total contribution to $400. The PCMA Education Foundation has been funding and advancing research and education in the meetings and convention industry since 1985. Since its inception, the Foundation has focused on uniting people and organizations involved in the convention industry, providing grants for sustainable and innovative programs, awarding scholarships to the next generation of meeting professionals, and raising funds for professional development and community well-being.
We appreciate all the contributions our members and attendees have made over the year to our Network for the Needy charities.
Quick Links



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(L-R): NYPCMA President Dawn Rockas, SDCVB; speaker Jerry Teplitz; sponsor Shanna Cito, LA Inc.; NYPCMA VP Karin Bagnall, MLA


Detroit CVB Ad

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Venue sponsor Laura Venza, Hyatt Morristown; Elizabeth Dane, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau; Dawn Rockas, NYPCMA; Desiree Katsoufis, South Seas Island Resort/Captiva; Lorrie Keegan, Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa


Being a supporter of the NYPCMA Chapter creates goodwill between your organization and the membership.

NYPCMA offers opportunities for you to demonstrate your commitment to the professionalism and development of the meetings and hospitality industry ...  as well as access to a targeted audience, to showcase your products and/or services.

No sponsorship is considered too small and there are many ways to co-partner with other suppliers, or even planners, to make your contribution go even further.  

For More Information Contact:

Rocco La Forgia
NYPCMA Sponsorship Committee Chair 
Phone: 212-820-1715

Detroit CVB Ad
Join PCMA's Official LinkedIn Group, become a fan on Facebook, follow PCMA on Twitter, read Chairman John Folks' Blog (un)Conventional, and view the latest photos and videos from PCMA events.

Join PCMA Social Media

PCMA 2010 Logo


Kick off your year with top notch education that will forecast where the industry is headed in 2010 and beyond.
Program & Registration Information...


Educ Day Panel

Thank you to our Supplier community for supporting the 'Adopt A Planner' program this past year enabling meeting professionals to attend our chapter programs.

2009 PCMA
Join in welcoming over 40 new chapter members in the last few months. Click here to see who they are.

Chapter Volunteers' Gift of Giving at the Bowery Mission

By Ken Letavish
Regional Conference Manager for International Baccalaureate NA

New York Area Chapter member volunteers, continuing our annual Service In SyncŪ (SIS) tradition of service within our community, partnered with The Bowery Mission on Tuesday evening, November 3rd to serve over 300 meals to homeless men, women and children in the New York City area caught in the cycles of poverty, hopelessness and dependencies of many kinds. "The people that came through the dinner line were genuinely grateful for the free meal, " noted Ken Letavish, of International Baccalaureate and incoming NYPCMA director of programs. "Volunteering at The Bowery Mission reminds me again just how fortunate I am,"  said Andy Anastasi of Conference Direct. Volunteer Margaret Victor of Vail Resorts said, "It was not only rewarding but fun! I am very glad to have been part of it;" and Ruztique Toscano  of Millennium Hotels thanks The Bowery Mission for a extremely rewarding experience! 
Service In SyncŪ is a program in which a period of time is designated for PCMA members all over the country to come together and give back to their local communities on behalf of the meetings industry. These efforts allow PCMA chapters to participate in community service projects on an individual basis. If you missed getting involved this year, mark your calendar for the first week of November 2010.

Pictured (Left to right):  Kenneth Letavish, International Baccalaureate, Margaret Victor/Vail Resorts, Herb Carruthers, Chef at The Bowery Mission, Andy Anastasi/Conference Direct, and Ruztique Toscano/Millennium Hotels.

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Educ Day Panel


By Leslie DiLeo
Director of Conferences, American Montessori Society

Educ Day PanelChicago native and resident Norma Taylor doesn't let a little thing like geography stand between her
and her clients. A regional sales director for Tourisme Montreal, Norma has also worked from Chicago
for both the Charlotte and Baltimore CVBs.

Originally, Norma planned to be a lawyer.  As happens so often in this industry, though, the need for a part-time job led her to a stint as switchboard operator at one of Chicago's boutique hotels.  Her expertise on the phone and her curiosity to learn what the many different hotel positions entailed got her noticed. She was tapped to make a few sales calls of her own, thus beginning her long career as a sales professional. A position as conference manager at McCormick Place during the height of renovations offered the challenges and "backstage" insights that sharpens a salesperson's skills and provides her with perspective.
A brand new member of NYPCMA, Norma is eager to take an active role in the chapter's business. 
"I believe you should never put your feet under the table of someone you don't like," Norma comments.  "I also believe that if you do business in an area, you should give back in some way.  That's why I joined the chapter, and plan my trips to NY around chapter events."

Like many wise people in an industry that is both stimulating and stressful, Norma spends her free time at Spin Class in her gym.  "It took me a while to drop the baggy pants for biker shorts, but I finally got there," she says. 
About the general challenges in work and life she says this, "I was very lucky to have both a grandmother and a great-grandmother in my life.  Whenever things got tough, they were of the opinion that you pulled your socks back up and moved on.  I've always remembered that."
We welcome Norma Taylor to NYPCMA!

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Student Gathers New Ideas, New Contacts at NYPCMA Education Day
By Chelsea Dlubacunh
University of New Haven Student Member
This year I transferred to the University of New Haven in West Haven CT as a sophomore. Right away I knew that the school was for me. I arrived hoping that I could learn a lot of valuable information that could jump start my career in the hospitality industry. During the first week of school I heard about the opportunity to join the New York student chapter of The Professional Convention Management Association. I decided to join so I could learn more about the meeting and convention side of the industry and get more involved with others in my major.

The first PCMA event that I attended was NYPCMA Education day held at Park Central Hotel New York. This was really my first exposure to actual professionals in the hospitality field. The morning started off with an excellent speaker James Spellos. He discussed hot technologies that are emerging in the industry, with emphasis on innovation and creativity. It was very interesting learning about all the latest advancements and changes in technology and how they are going to affect the industry.

The second speaker of the day was Clay Nelson. His presentation was called "Your Work, Your Life: Taking the Struggle Out of the Balancing Act." He discussed how to be successful in both your work and your personal life and explained how to balance the two. He focused on how to help companies and people maximize their potential while creating happier families and incorporating fun in personal lives. Overall, going to my first PCMA event allowed me to network with professionals in the industry and gave me an introduction into what the meeting and conventions industry is like. In addition to being introduced to new technologies and learning how to manage my time effectively, I got a closer look into the real world of careers in the hospitality industry and got the opportunity to talk with experienced people who have worked in the field for years.


PCMA New York Area Chapter's main purpose is to represent PCMA on a local level by offering quality educational seminars, along with the opportunity for members to contribute their time, knowledge, and experience through networking and committee involvement to further the professionalism of the meetings industry.
NYPCMA Communications / Newsletter Committee

Director, Marketing/Communications: Hannah Wai, CASE, New York Marriott Eastside
Production Editor:  Lynne Nordone, CMP, LAN Events
Copy Editor:  Leslie Di Leo, CMP, American Montessori Society
Contributing Writers:  Stacey Courtney, Modern Language Association;
     Emily Nichols, Metroplitan Exposition Services

Contribute an article and earn CMP application and re-certification points.
Contact Lynne Nordone at