This is the association industry’s only event specifically for professional meeting planners. Learn from experts and each other about how to be the best meeting planner you can during two days at the recently renovated Norfolk Waterside Marriott HotelConnect with fellow meeting planners and explore how to add value to your organization or client with knowledge of new meeting planning skills. #2020MPSummit   

6 CAE Hours

View Registrants


This retreat is limited to executives, meeting planners, and sponsors. Registration fees include Thursday's lunch, breaks, reception and dinner, and Friday's breakfast and breaks. This event is limited to 50 registrants.

VSAE Member - $105

Non-members  - $155

Members who are not attending may substitute a staff member with proper qualifications.
Email your requests to [email protected].

Refund Policy

Cancel by Friday, July 3, 75% refunded.
Cancel by Friday, July 10, 50% refunded.
Cancel after Friday, July 17, no refund.

[Return to top]

Staying Healthy

To ensure a safe environment for all participants, please adhere to the following guidelines.

  • Participants are asked to bring their own face covering, as they will be required to wear it at all times except when eating or drinking.
  • Our meeting space will be set up to comfortably allow for 6-foot social distancing between all participants.
  • The Norfolk Waterside Marriott is committed to providing a clean and safe environment for both guests and employees. You can read their ever evolving Commitment to Clean Plan here.
  • The best practice to prevent any illness is to wash your hands frequently using the proper technique: wet-lather-scrub-rinse-dry.
  • Use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available. Hand-sanitizer will be readily available.
  • Avoid touching your face, specifically your eyes, nose, and mouth, as this is how germs enter your body. Cough into your elbow, NOT your hand.
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick.

[Return to top]


Wednesday, July 29 

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.  Optional Dinner 
Location: Stripers Waterside
Email Pamela at [email protected] to RSVP 

Thursday, July 30

10:00-10:30 a.m. - Welcome & Introductions

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - Panel Discussion: Virginia Meetings & Events Post-COVID
When social distancing guidelines were implemented to address the spread of COVID-19, in-person events were cancelled. Now, as meeting planners begin to plan and create in-person events again, we wonder what shifts we need to make in thinking about meeting space, food & beverage options, and banquet services. Our panelists will discuss changes at their properties and how engaging events, although challenging, can remain a part of the "meeting together" experience. They will provide suggestions about how venues and meeting planners can partner together as we prepare to host in-person events once more.

Moderator: Tom Osina, Non-Profit Help


    • Michael O'Brien, CFBE, Director of Food & Beverage, Norfolk Waterside Marriott Hotel 
    • Joseph E. Walker, Jr., CFBE, Area Director of Food & Beverage, Tidewater Region of Shamin Hotels
    • Tina Swan, Director of Sales & Marketing, Spirit of Norfolk by Hornblower

12:00-1:00 p.m. - Networking Lunch

1:00-1:30 p.m. - Break & Office Check-In

1:30-3:15 p.m. - How to Facilitate Structured Networking Activities: An Interactive Experience
Tiffany Brown, Project Assistant, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Do you know how to network? Have you taken a class or workshop? Are you comfortable approaching a complete stranger and introducing yourself? Well, guess what? Your conference attendees aren’t either. Enter ‘Structured Networking’. We are going to teach you how to create a safe space for attendees to meet new people while throwing those awkward getting-to-know-you vibes right out the window. No stilted conversations here! Be prepared to laugh, have some fun and get to know your colleagues in a whole new way.

3:15-3:30 p.m. - Break

3:30-4:45 p.m. - Tour

6:00-6:45 p.m. - Networking Reception

7:00-9:00 p.m. - Dinner

Friday, July 31

7:30-8:30 a.m. - Breakfast

8:30-10:00 a.m. - Helping Attendees Find Value in the Virtual Space
Charlie Hull, Managing Consultant at OpenSource Connections
Taking your event virtual doesn't make it unworthy of a registration fee or mean you are obligated to charge less. There is always value in the content we offer and we need to help our attendees understand that value and be willing to pay for it. Enter OpenSource Connections, a company who is creating new and relevant online content and helping their community to see the value in purchasing a ticket.

10:00-10:15 a.m. - Break

10:15-11:30 a.m. - Hybrid Meetings: The New Event Technology You Need
Randy Cummins, Chief Operating Officer, James River Audio Visual Services
Today’s climate requires meeting planners to stretch their imagination and embrace technology in a new way. Hybrid events integrate in-person communication and virtual meeting elements.  Members unable to travel can now have easy access to participate in the event. Hybrid events can increase sales, grow attendance at future events, and promote your organization to new members.  Randy will present a discussion on what goes into a virtual event or hybrid mix of a live/virtual meeting and how to go about it.  We will discuss different meeting hosting platforms, what type of technology is required, virtual conference meetings vs webinar format, and some of the pitfalls to avoid.  We hope to share our experiences along with attendees experiences and collaborate in an effort to find what works and what doesn’t. During this live demonstration you will experience a hybrid event firsthand and how it they can be used as participants will be split between the live event and virtual room utilizing the Zoom meeting format.

11:30 a.m. - Depart or enjoy a tour of Downtown Norfolk hosted by Discover Coastal Virginia

[Return to top]

Content Leaders


Tiffany Brown
Project Assistant, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation | Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Tiffany Brown is Extension Project Assistant in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech. She handles logistics and planning for statewide and regional conferences and meetings, manages grants and provides general administrative support. She resides in Christiansburg with her two daughters, Amalie and River. Tiffany returns for her fourth year at Meeting Planner Summit to teach us how to lead a structured networking session.


Charlie Hull
Managing Consultant, OpenSource Connections

Charlie Hull keeps a strategic view on developments in the search industry and is in demand as a speaker at conferences across the world. Charlie writes regularly on search issues and runs the London Lucene/Solr Meetup. Charlie co-founded Flax in 2001, the UK’s leading open source search company and now part of OpenSource Connections.


Randy Cummins
Chief Operations Officer | James River Audio Visual Services

James River Audio Visual Services is a full service, independently owned, private audio visual equipment rental and technical services provider. The owners, John Triska and Randy Cummins have a combined experience of well over 50 years in the meetings, conference and live event business. After 4 years with a nationally known audio visual company and 24 years managing the AV operation at a Virginia based conference resort, John and Randy set out on their own and formed James River Audio Visual Services (JRAVS). 


 [Return to top]



Norfolk Waterside Marriott Hotel,
235 E. Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510 | (757) 627-4200
Room Reservations: Click here to make your reservations. Room Rate: $129 (plus taxes). Cutoff date is Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

[Return to top]




Event Co-host Event Co-host












[Return to top]