Coffee & Conversations is a must see conversational series of industry professionals sharing their stories and offering advice and strategies to those interested in pursuing a career in the meeting planning industry. Episode 1 features Sheila Neal, Associate Director, Sales at Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Coffee & Conversations is a product of the Emerging Professionals Committee of the PCMA Capital Chapter. If you know a leader whose story should be featured in an upcoming episode email Dana Johnston, CMP.
Associate Director, Sales at Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
Sheila R. Neal brings more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership and hospitality experience to the industry. She currently holds a senior position at the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau as the Associate Director, Sales for professional Multi-cultural organizations and large citywide conventions within the National Association, Diversity and Union Markets. Throughout her tenure in education and hospitality, she’s made it a career long commitment to create relevant, high-quality, energetic events and strategic partnerships throughout the industry with Association Executives. She is an active member of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Professional Conference Management Association (PCMA), Meeting Planners International (MPI), Association of Meeting Professionals (AMP’s) Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP), and Women in Lodging (WIC). She has served and continues to serve on a variety of Boards and sub-committees within each of the above listed organizations and always looks for ways to empower, elevate and serve within the hospitality community.
Ms. Neal has studied two languages and is looking to add a third. Her diverse background in marketing, operations and sales will provide a unique insight in the world of hospitality, event management, project management and technology for the future from a Convention Bureau’s perspective. National conventions that she has recently secured or hosted that will impact the region are National Black MBA Association, Inc., US FIRST Robotics, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., National Medical Association, National Association of Black Journalists, National Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and National Society of Black Engineers. She’s a native Detroiter and she and her husband have two children.
President, Capital Chapter of PCMACC
Senior Director of Meetings and Events, Americans for the Arts
John Rubsamen is the Senior Director of Meetings and Events at Americans for the Arts. He has over 20 years of experience in business event and tradeshow management focused on strategic development, innovation, and growth within the association market.
John’s work is currently focused on providing engagement in the digital and hybrid arena and the redesign of AFTA’s in-person events by identifying opportunities to retain audiences and grow them through the advantages of virtual programming as an accessible enhancement to in-person events.
As a passionate advocate for the events and hospitality industry, John volunteers on destination and venue Customer Advisory Boards to help partners innovate and promote the value business events has on community and economic growth. He has presented internationally on topics including how to value business events, contract negotiations, intercultural business relations, event design and engagement, and creating accessible and inclusive events. An active member of the Professional Convention Management Association for over 10 years, he currently serves as the President of the PCMA Capital Chapter.