Host Sponsors

California Means Business.

Enhance your skills, network with industry leaders and drive more business at Connect California—the event for planners and suppliers focused on national association, corporate and international meetings and events in California. Experience a quality packed day of general sessions, roundtables, preset appointments and networking.







Connect California is the business marketplace where RFPs are placed, dates are secured and relationships are developed for future business.



2019 Agenda

Subject to Change

Monday, April 22
1-3 p.m.Registration at #OaklandMarriottCityCenter
1:30-2:15 p.m.Q&A With John Beaven, VP of Ticket Sales, Golden State Warriors
2:15-3:15 p.m.#GetToWork - Orientation and Opening Session
3:30-5:30 p.m.#MeetingsMeanBusiness - Marketplace appointments
5:45-6:30 p.m.#HappyHour - Wine Education Session
7-9 p.m.Opening Reception #YUM
"A Taste of Oakland" dine-around reception
9 p.m.-midnightAfterglow #AfterParty
Tuesday, April 23
8 a.m.#CaffeineFix - Grab and Go Breakfast
8:30-9:45 a.m. #MeetingsMeanBusiness - Marketplace Appointments
10-10:45 a.m.Round-Robin Education Sessions 1
11-11:45 a.m.Round-Robin Education Sessions 2
Noon-1 p.m.#INSTAlunch
Join TJ Herman (@itsmetheteej) and Terri Thomas (@terribthomas), Salesforce techies turned Insta Influencers during this fun and interactive lunch panel
1:15-2:30 p.m.#MeetingsMeanBusiness - Marketplace Appointments




2019 #INSTAlunch Presenters

Terri Thomas
Born in New York City, Terri Thomas grew up in a small town in central Florida. She received an athletic collegiate scholarship to the Division 1 tennis program at St. John's University and then earned a master's degree in business and entrepreneurship from the University of Florida. She joined Salesforce in 2016, where she currently works as an Account Executive. In her spare time, she is a social media content creator with a focus on fashion and style.

TJ Herman
TJ Herman grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he earned a degree in pre-medical studies and a minor in Psychology. Shortly after graduating, he spent four years in Los Angeles, where he pursued a sales career within Marriott. During this time, he was signed to One Model Management and spent three years modeling for brands from Gap Inc, Banana Republic, Men's Warehouse and many others. He subsequently became a social media influencer through his modeling work. Retiring from modeling in 2018, Thomas joined bay area tech giant Salesforce, where he continues his tech sales career alongside managing his social media influencing.

2019 Education Speakers

Jessica Pettitt
Bringing 15+ years of diversity training and stand up comedy experience, Jess Pettitt is the social justice educator you have been warned about. Facilitating conversations on the toughest subjects that we typically avoid allows space for team members to support one another so that existing resources can directly lead to innovative ideas and profitable habits. Let’s roll back our defense mechanisms, laugh together, and take responsibility for elements we actually have control over.

Shannon DeSouza
Recently awarded Connect Corporate’s Top 40 under 40 award, Shannon has over a decade of paralleled experience in the event and technology industries, working with innovate start ups like Eventmobi, Attendease and CSS in a strategic sales and marketing. A previous successful entrepreneur, Shannon founded and ran her own events company for ten years and was acquired in 2015. Today Shannon focuses her expertise in the event technology realm as a lead generation and strategic growth expert. .

MaryAnne Bobrow
MaryAnne Bobrow, CAE, CMP, CMM has more than 20 years of experience in association and meetings management. She is an active member of and volunteers for multiple industry associations. She also authored chapters for industry-specific books and writes articles for and/or records webinars for industry organizations and magazines. She is a frequent presenter at industry events. For a complete listing of sessions visit my website at – Speaking and Facilitating.

Terri Woodin
Terri Woodin, CMP, brings 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry to her role as Vice President of Marketing and Global Meeting Services at Meeting Sites Resource. She has been with MSR since 2012 and is responsible for strategically partnering with MSR customers on all facets of global site research, custom hotel contract negotiations, meeting support services, and Strategic Meetings Management solutions. She currently serves globally on The Meeting Professional Advisory Board for MPI and with her alma mater on The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University Board of Directors. Terri was named to SMART Meetings Magazine's Top 25 Women Industry Leaders, awarded the Meetings Industry Council Leadership Award and earned the SPIN 40 over 40 Leadership Award.

2019 Education

Subject to Change

Monday, April 22
2:15-3:15 p.m. | Opening Session

Presented by Jessica Pettitt

Let’s face it: there are people and topics that at some point are just off limits. You just can’t do it or them right now. Even worse, often it is a difficult topic that you have to bring up with a difficult person. What if you could engage in these conversations with more confidence, humor and ease? No matter the person or topic, you are your best tool for conversations that matter. Understanding yourself and others as differently right gives you the tools to intentionally recruit, train and design teams, groups and partnerships that can bring value to a single event. We are all frustrating to someone and at times even to ourselves. Once you know who and how you are, you can reclaim responsibility for these behavior response patterns and leave room for others to do the same. Before you know it, you are having better conversations and fuller relationships with those around you. I promise—it is that easy.

Learning Objectives:

  • 1: Learn a 3 part framework or model for taking responsibility of how they show up.
  • 2: Develop skills for a significant and powerful (and free) method to change culture around difficult topics and see other’s as differently right.
  • 3: Utilize personal patterns to recognize them in others so we can leave room for edits in our stories.
  • 4: Personally recognize our "kryptonite" and how habitually it limits our behaviors, responses, and beliefs as well as fuels us to build momentum when we need it the most.

Tuesday, April 23
10-10:45 a.m. | Round-Robin 1

Presented by MaryAnne Bobrow

We live in turbulent times where sexual harassment, fake news, hate crimes and political battles consume the news we hear and read. Yet dangers from natural and man made disasters, terrorists and active shooters remain at an all time high. Event managers have a duty of care to ensure the safety and security of their event participants. Attend this session and participate in a lively discussion of what you need to have in place, including emergency and communications plans. This session provides value to planners and suppliers.

Presented by Shannon DeSouza

If you are tired of hearing event marketing is all about the numbers, but you don't really know what that means then this is the session for you! Learn how to harness the power of technology to track your entire event life cycle - pre, during and post. Walk away with the metrics, KPI's and digital measurement tools to make you a shining star!

11-11:45 a.m. | Round-Robin 2

Presented by Terri Woodin

Hotel contracts are complicated, but are essential for defining responsibilities and making mutual obligations perfectly clear. In the Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) landscape, hotel contract risk mitigation has become an important metric. In this interactive workshop, attendees will discuss a multitude of topics on methods to negotiate contracts that assure added meeting value, cost savings and risk mitigation, including dispute resolution.

Presented by Jessica Pettitt

Focus on gender, allergies, families, ability, and class before it is legally required.

As a meeting or event professional, you want to foster inclusion for employees, members, volunteers, and participants. What is legally or culturally expected varies state to state and it is fiscally responsible to improve event practices to meet these expectations. This program will teach meeting and event professionals how to keep attendees feeling safe, welcome, and included as well as how to implement free to cheap elements to foster an inclusive environment and meet expectations before accidentally excluding others.

Learning Objectives:

  • 1: Know what you don't know to manage risk and unexpected exclusionary actions
  • 2: Utilize existing tools, resources, and spaces without having to spend any of your limited budget to foster inclusivity and a sense of belonging to increase retention
  • 3: Develop new questions to address invisible needs.

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