S? CONTACT KATE.CRIPE@MEETINGSTODAY.COM
The Connecticut Convention & Sports Bu-reau (CTCSB) named
SUSAN KOCZKA, CMP, as
a director of national ac-
counts. Koczka has close
to three decades of expe-
rience in the conventions,
meetings and hospitality
industries. A Certified
Meeting Professional, she
comes to the CTCSB from
Association Resources, a West Hartford, Conn.-
based association management firm that provides
management resources and services to profession-
al associations. Prior, Koczka was a national sales
manager for the Greater Hartford CVB.
TODD PARMELEE is the new vice president of
food and beverage for Benchmark. In his new
role, he will oversee the
operations of all food and
for each of Benchmark’s
70 properties within the
Benchmark Resorts &
Hotels and Gemstone
Parmelee will be based
in the company’s home
office in The Woodlands,
Texas, near Houston. He comes to his new position
from Entertainment Consultants International, a
hospitality consultant to restaurants, bars, night-
the U.S. There, he served as
its chief operations officer, re-
gional director of operations
and beverage director.
Visit KC announced the recent hire of LAUREN MCKEE
as national sales manager.
As national sales manager,
McKee will work in the mid-
size meeting segment, con-
sisting of 500-plus room nights on peak, and will be
responsible for the Southeast territory of the U.S.
McKee will also coordinate and organize citywide
proposals and large, in-house and multiple-hotel
business for meeting planners’ consideration.
Prior to joining the team, McKee served as sales
manager at Crowne Plaza Kansas City Downtown,
where she handled all of the hotel’s corporate groups.
JOHN GILBERT joined
BCD Meetings & Events as
its VP, Life Sciences Center
of Excellence (LSCOE).
Gilbert has over 20 years of
Life Sciences experience,
having worked with in-Ventiv Health, GSK, Wyeth
and Yamanouchi Pharma.
Gilbert also has commercial experience managing sales, marketing and regulatory affairs and an
MBA in pharmaceutical marketing and a master
of science in pharmacy with a concentration on
outcomes, regulations and healthcare policy.
Headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., the LSCOE provides services ranging from meetings management
consultation to design and fulfillment for the Life
BCD Meetings & Events is a global meeting and
event management agency with locations in over
40 countries across the Americas, Europe, Middle
East, Africa and Asia Pacific.
MORE MOVERS & SHAKERS //
with DAWN RASMUSSEN
What if you don’t want to be
promoted? The key is to demonstrate that while you haven’t had
upward mobility, you have grown
and developed as an employee.
For more tips and a related video,
visit Meetings Today.com/Career Tips.
In yet another circuitous career path that found its way winding through the meetings industry, meet KiKi
L’Italien, who turned her training in
journalism into a job in the marketing
department of a small Joplin, Mo.-based association, then on to a larger,
Washington, D.C.-based association,
and who now is a thought-leader in the
association segment and beyond.
She currently holds the reins of As-
sociation Chat, which was founded by
Jeff de Cagna in 2009 as the #assnchat
(more on that later) Twitter community,
and has since taken it beyond Twitter
by transforming it into a weekly video
chat that maintains the most accessed
hashtag in the association community.
“For more difficult conversations,
we couldn’t do that in 140 characters
or less, so we started doing a live
video show,” she said. “I thought if I
did a weekly interview and brought in-
dustry leaders in and ask them about
the topics of the day we would have
the opportunity to dig a little deeper.”
Since then, the show has held chats
in front of a live audience—the fruits of
her community-building efforts.
L’Italien leveraged her experience
as an early adopter on Facebook,
where she created a group for her
association’s student members, to
learn firsthand the power of social
media and SEO, which she speaks
about and consults on as part of her
company, Amplified Growth.
But what about where the mind may
wander with that #assnchat hashtag?
“#Assnchat is the most used hashtag
in the association space, and frankly,
after all this time, since 2009, there is no
way I’m ever going to change that—I’m
owning it,” L’Italien quipped. “In the
early days we used to say, ‘Come for the
ass and stay for the chat.’”
What’s not to like?
KIKI L’ITALIEN //
CEO & FOUNDER
ASSOCIATION CHAT (#ASSNCHAT)