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 uniquely beautiful The Craddock Terry Hotel and Event Center

The agenda includes over 6 hours of CAE approved education on meeting planner topics.

  • Connect with and learn from fellow meeting planners.
  • Know your value as a meeting planner and what you bring to your organization.
  • Leverage your personal and professional development through volunteerism.
  • Peer into the projected outlook of the hospitality industry.
  • Learn best practices and new trends in meeting planning.

There will also be facilitated roundtable discussions. Bring your specific issues and learn from the experiences of your fellow planners. If you plan a meeting as part of your job, this is an event you do not want to miss.


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.

Rates Early-Bird
(By June 28)
(After June 28)
VSAE Member $105 $135
Non-members $155 $185
Spouse/Guest $105 $135
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 5, 75% refunded.
Cancel by Friday, July 19, 50% refunded.
Cancel after Friday, July 19, no refund.

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Wednesday, July 31 

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.  Optional Dinner 
Location: Bootleggers, 50 13th St, Lynchburg, VA 24504
Email Pamela at [email protected] to RSVP


Thursday, August 1

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

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - Examining the Big Picture
Jennifer Eichel, Owner/Manager, Conference Solutions, LLC
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Why do you hold an annual conference? Because you always have? Why do people attend your conference? Who are your stakeholders and what do they want? We will explore how to use this kind of strategic thinking to produce better meetings.

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

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

1:30-3:30 p.m. - Roundtable Discussions Powered by Open Space
Tiffany Brown, Project Assistant, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Bring your specific questions and learn from the experiences of fellow planners who have faced similar issues. Our discussion topics will be generated by the whole group prior to the session. There will be a question when you register to gather your suggestions. Tiffany will synthesize the list and attendees will then choose which discussions they want to engage in when we come together at the Meeting Planner Summit. Let’s have some meaningful conversations about the issues that are important to you!

3:30-3:45 p.m. - Break

3:45-4:45 p.m. - Contract Clauses That Keep You Up at Night
Tom Spong, President, Eisenman & Associates, Inc.
Negotiating hotel meeting contracts is not an easy task. It can be time-consuming, confusing and frustrating. While you don’t need to be a lawyer to negotiate successfully, you do need to be aware of the basic elements of a hotel contract, what each clause means, and how it may affect your bottom line. In this session, you will learn about the most important clauses planners feel should be included in any meeting contract. Discussion topics include room block attrition, force majeure, F&B attrition, indemnification, hold harmless, arbitration, and more

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

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

Friday, August 2

7:30-8:30 a.m. - Breakfast

8:30-10:00 a.m. - A Case Study in GDPR: How to Prepare Your Association and Maintain Compliance
Jerry Layne, Senior Director of Operations, Industrial Designers Society of America
The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect a year ago and fines for non-compliance have already been handed down. Did your association meet the May 2018 deadline? Whether or not your association does business in the European Union, sitting on the sidelines and leaving the responsibility of GDPR and data compliance to your IT department is no longer an option. The regulation impacts all aspects of association management from membership, chapters, awards/credentialing programs, to yes, even meetings! In this session you'll learn how the Industrial Designers Society of America prepared for GDPR and continues manage their data. Walk away with:

    • An outline of the principles governing GDPR
    • A clear understanding of how GDPR directly impacts your day-to-day work
    • Simple steps to begin preparing for GDPR and/or maintain compliance
    • Knowledge and understanding of laws similar to GDPR that govern data protection.

10:00-10:15 a.m. - Break

10:15-11:30 a.m. - Property Tour and Boxed Lunch

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Content Leaders


Jennifer Eichel 
Owner/Manager | Conference Solutions, LLC

After graduating from George Mason University with a degree in Marketing and Sales Management, Jennifer spent 15 years as Director of Corporate Services and Quality Control Manager of travel agencies in the Washington DC area handling VIP clients and several of the Washington DC professional sports teams.  In 2001, she decided to focus on her love of the art of meeting planning and started Conference Solutions, LLC.  Finding that she was not happy with the “off the shelf” online registration products in the market, she designed her own system and, along with conference management services, has been providing superior online registration management to groups and associations ever since. Jennifer has recently added “Conference Coaching” to her services to help organizations through the process of examining the big picture, and then using that information to guide venue, education and programming decisions.


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 the second year at Meeting Planner Summit to lead the roundtable discussions, powered by Open Space.


Tom Spong
President | Eisenman & Associates, Inc.

Tom is President of Consulting Services for Eisenman & Associates, Inc. He has more than 30 years of hospitality experience in sales, marketing, and operations. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Tom is a longtime member of VSAE, ASAE, AENC, and the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance. He is a 2013 recipient of the John R. Dufour Lifetime Professional Achievement Award. 

Jerry Layne
Senior Director of Operations | Industrial Designers Society of America

Jerry Layne is Senior Director of Operations at the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), a northern Virginia based professional association serving industrial designers. He’s a member of IDSA’s leadership team and is no stranger to wearing multiple hats – overseeing human resources, governance, membership, technology and administration. Whether facilitating organizational change initiatives, implementing new systems or ensuring compliance with best practices, Jerry is versed at aligning mission and vision with operational excellence to deliver results. Jerry earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University at Albany and a Master’s Degree in Management, focusing on leadership and organizational effectiveness from the University of South Florida. He’s also a graduate of VSAE’s inaugural Association Leadership Virginia class. 



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    Craddock Terry Hotel and Event Center, 1312 Commerce Street, Lynchburg, VA 24504 | (434) 455-1500

Room Reservations: Call the hotel directly (434) 455-1500 (mention VSAE Meeting Planner Summit) to make your reservations. Room Rate: $129 (plus taxes). Cutoff date is Monday, July 1, 2019

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Event Co-host Event Co-host



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