Speakers

Professor of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara
Peter Rupert is Director of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project. He is a Professor of Economics and is also the Associate Director of the Laboratory of Aggregate Economics and Finance at UCSB with Nobel laureate Finn Kydland. Before joining the Economics faculty he was a Senior Research Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland for 13 years. His areas of specialization include macroeconomics, monetary economics, and labor and family economics. Prior to joining the Cleveland Fed, he held a variety of teaching positions, including professorships at the University of Western Ontario, the SUNY Buffalo, and West Virginia University. He has also had visiting professorships at the University of Southern California and University of London. Professor Rupert earned his B.S. at Santa Clara University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. Dr. Rupert is an avid cyclist, and volunteers as the chief economist for the Santa Barbara Zoo. He hosts and presents at the annual UCB Economic Summit each May in Santa Barbara, which draws more than 1,000 attendees.
Senior Vice President Exhibitions & Marketing, Association of Equipment Manufacturers
Senior Vice President of Exhibitions & Marketing Nicole Hallada joined Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) predecessor CIMA (the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association) in 1997 as a Marketing Coordinator, rising to her current role in 2020. In between, Hallada served in numerous marketing and leadership roles within AEM, including twice as Show Manager of The Utility Expo (formerly ICUEE). Before joining AEM, Hallada served in communications and marketing roles at Aurora Health Care and Metropolitan Marketing Group. As Senior Vice President of Exhibitions & Marketing, Hallada leads exhibition management, digital services, operations, strategy planning, and marketing for all exhibitions. Hallada has also lent her talents to a number of associations and organizations throughout her career, including TEMPO Milwaukee, Destination Imagination, Project Lead the Way, NASA’s Space Race Competition, and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), while occasionally coaching her daughters’ sports teams for Big Bend/Vernon (WI) Recreation. Hallada holds a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a certificate in the Neuroscience of Exhibitions and Events from Madison College, and enjoys boating with her family on the “Floating Halladay.”
Senior Vice President, Exhibition & Event Services, AVIXA
Rochelle Richardson (formerly Burt) has spent 30+ years in the Exhibitions, Events and Hospitality Industry in various leadership roles implementing effective strategies to steer companies to unparalleled growth and is currently the Senior Vice President, Exposition and Event Services for AVIXA InfoComm USA. Rochelle joined AVIXA in March 2019 and leads the growth strategy for the audiovisual and integrated experience association’s largest trade show in North America. InfoComm ranks on Trade Show Executive Magazine’s Gold 100. Previously, Rochelle held the position as Vice President at LIGHTFAIR® International (LFI) where she led an award-winning team for more than 12 years. Rochelle joined AMC, Inc. – LIGHTFAIR International in 2007 as an Executive Director for the Gift & Home Furnishings Temporaries Division before being promoted to LFI’s Managing Director and eventually to Vice President. Rochelle was responsible for sales, attendee relations, conference programming and operations. LFI® is North America’s largest annually held architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference program and was consistently ranked by Tradeshow Executive Magazine as one of the top 100 trade shows in the U.S. under her leadership. Prior to joining LFI, Rochelle spent six years with NCR-a leading Fortune 500 Company as the Global Director of the Retail Solutions Division (RSD)- Marketing Services. With global responsibilities to manage Marketing Services for Americas, CLA, Canada, EMEA, APAC, and Japan, Rochelle was consistently recognized for outstanding leadership, performance and a contributor towards NCR’s growth. Rochelle began her career in the hotel industry working for various hotels and casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey and then Starwood Lodging Corporation in Atlanta, Georgia. Rochelle obtained her CEM Certification in 2011 and is a member of International Association of Exhibitions and Events™ (IAEE) and Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Rochelle serves on the Orange County Convention Center Executive Client Advisory Committee and Trade Show Executive Magazine Editorial Board . Rochelle is the recent past IAEE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair (2019 – 2021) and has served on the Pennsylvania Convention Center and Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority Client Advisory Committees.
Chief Executive Officer, Emerald
Hervé Sedky joined Emerald in January 2021 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Hervé is a results-oriented leader who develops, grows and transforms global businesses while driving profits. Prior to joining Emerald, Hervé spent six years as President of the Americas for events giant, Reed Exhibitions (RX), leading more than 100 sector-leading exhibitions and events in North and South America each year, as well as the company’s global quirky pop culture & lifestyle focused offshoot, ReedPop. Before his time at RX, Hervé spent over 20 years at the American Express Company, ultimately serving as Senior Vice President and General Manager of American Express Global Business Travel, as well as on American Express’ senior management team. His business profile is complemented by a profound commitment to community development and the nonprofit sector. Hervé serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Children’s Health Fund, is on the board of the French Cultural Center/Alliance Française and is an active member of his community. Hervé earned a B.S. in International Business Administration from Northeastern University and is a graduate of the Executive Management Program (PMD) at Harvard Business School.
Vice President of Events, SEMA
Tom Gattuso has been involved in producing automotive events for more than 25 years and currently serves as SEMA’s Vice President of Events. With a background in both trade and consumer shows, Gattuso brings a unique perspective to building the optimal environments to connect people within the automotive industry. Throughout his career, Gattuso has had a role in every aspect of event production from sales to marketing to operations to management and has lead teams that turn show concepts into reality. A consummate student of shows and events, he also serves on volunteer Boards for the Trade Show industry on both the regional and national level. Gattuso holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and English from James Madison University.
President & CEO, Associated Luxury Hotels International
Michael Dominguez serves as the President & CEO for Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI). ALHI is the largest Global Sales Organization with a team of nearly 80 professionals located among 26 offices across North America and Europe, ALHI’s serves a membership group of hotels that are Independent Hotels & Independent Brands that are an exclusive luxury collection. Prior to joining ALHI, Michael served in executive sales leadership roles with MGM Resorts International as Chief Sales Officer and many brand and independent branded companies. Michael is actively involved in leadership roles in the Meetings and Events Industry and serves as a Past Chairman of the International Board of Directors for MPI. Michael speaks in the industry often on topics of disruption, the state of the industry, the economy, behavioral lessons. Michael was recognized in M&C Magazines survey of top industry speakers and was an invited speaker at South by Southwest in 2018. Michael’s other industry leadership involvement includes board positions with:
  •  US Travel Association (Executive Committee & Officer)
  • Meetings Mean Business Coalition (Executive Committee)
  • Co-Chair EIC’s Taskforce on COVID Recovery
  • AMCI’s Board of Directors
  • ASAE’s Board of Directors
  • FICP’s Influence Committee
  • APEX Standards Committee
  • GBTA Foundation Board
  • HSMAI Foundation Board
  • Co-Chair APEX Room Piracy Taskforce
Michael has been recognized in the industry for numerous honors including:
  • HispanicBusiness.com’s “50 Most Influential Hispanics in the US”
  • MPI’s 50th Anniversary – “50 Most Influential”
  • Induction in the EIC’s Hall of Leaders in 2019
  • HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Award in Sales 2021
  • MeetingsNet – Changemakers 2022 & 2014
  • Connect Magazine – “15 over 50” 2021
  • BizBash 500: Must Know Event Pros of 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021
  • M&C Magazine’s Top 25 Influencer of 2020
  • Successful Meetings Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry 2013 -2015
  • Smart Meetings 2015 Smartest Industry Leaders
  • HSMAI’s 2014 Top Minds in Sales and Marketing
  • Meetings Focus 2014 Trendsetter
Group Vice President, RX
Sarin Block Bachmann, Group Vice President of RX’s jewelry portfolio, oversees all aspects of the jewelry events including JCK, Luxury, and JIS along with the digital and print elements of the JCK brand—JCKonline.com and JCK Magazine. Bachmann redesigned JCK, the largest and most iconic jewelry buying and educational event globally, as a one-stop shopping experience. Luxury, the curated, invitation-only event taking place alongside JCK has been reimagined under Bachmann’s portfolio as the event for the luxury jewelry community. JCK and Luxury bring over 30,000 industry professionals together, including 17,000+ vetted buyers from over 130 countries and more than 2,200 exhibitors, ranging from designers, manufacturers, and gemstone wholesalers to packaging companies and technology service providers. The show covers 1.2 million square feet of exhibition space at the newly renovated Venetian Expo and The Venetian Las Vegas. Bachmann currently serves on the executive boards of the American Gem Society, Jewelers’ Security Alliance, and Women’s Jewelry Association, as well as on the GEM Awards committee and chair of the JCK Industry Fund committee. She is also a member of the esteemed 24 Karat Club of New York. Having served close to two decades in show management, Bachmann is a well-rounded and well-known professional, highly regarded throughout the jewelry industry.
Senior Director of Ag & Utility Exhibitions and Events, Association of Equipment Manufacturers
John is a self-described event nerd with 25 years of experience leading some of the largest trade shows in the US including 9 years with AEM (Association of Equipment Manufacturers). In his role at AEM, he works on industry-leading shows such as The Utility Expo, CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE and Commodity Classic. He serves as the current vice chairperson for MATSO (Major American Trade Show Organizers) and president-elect of National Agri-Marketing Association.
Senior Vice President – Events, National Business Aviation Association
As the National Business Aviation Association’s Senior Vice President for Events, Chris Strong is responsible for all aspects of planning, implementation and promotion of NBAA’s annual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (BACE) in the United States, as well as NBAA’s international shows in Europe (EBACE) and Asia (ABACE).  Chris’ team additionally runs a series of nine conferences and regional forums annually.  Having begun his career with the National Association of Manufacturers, Chris has three decades of trade association experience, including marketing and brand strategy, membership acquisition and retention and membership database management.
President, North America, CloserStill Media
Yancy Weinrich was appointed President North America for CloserStill Media in May, 2022. CloserStill Media is one of the fastest-growing global events businesses, and her role will be to lead the growth in North America across the existing sectors, as well as a keen focus on acquisitions over the next two years. She is an 18 year veteran, coming from RX (formerly Reed Exhibitions), where she served as the Chief Growth Officer since 2019 and led the organization in growth strategy, marketing, content, digital and activations for 25+ B2B events across a multitude of sectors. Prior to 2019, Weinrich had been in senior leadership roles, being recognized for growth with the Rock Star award for Fastest Growing Show in 2018, by Trade Show Executive, amongst many jewelry industry honors including the American Gem Society’s Triple Zero Award, a top award for leadership in that industry. Before Weinrich’s tenure at RX, she held business development and finance roles at leading membership industry trade associations and has a continued commitment to serving in the nonprofit sector as a board member with several 501(c)3 and (c)6 organizations.