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Southwest Means Business.

Connect Southwest is an education conference and appointment-only trade show.  Hosted by Connect, the event brings together the most active planners, suppliers and experts in Southwest association meetings and events for a quality packed day of general sessions, roundtables, pre-set appointments and networking.


Connect Southwest is the business marketplace, where RFPs are placed, dates are secured and relationships are developed for future business.







Enhance your skills, interact with industry leaders and drive more business—whether you’re a planner or supplier focused on association and corporate meetings and events in the Southwest.





2019 Agenda

Subject to Change

Sunday, Dec. 8
3-5 p.m.Registration
3:30-4:30 p.m.Welcome and Session
5-6 p.m.Marketplace Appointments
7-9 p.m.Opening Reception
Monday, Dec. 9
9 a.m.Breakfast
10-11 a.m.Session
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.Marketplace Appointments
12:30-1:30 p.m.Lunch
1:45-2:45 p.m.Session
3-4 p.m.Session
4:30-6:30 p.m.Marketplace Appointments
7-8:30 p.m.Closing Cocktails




2018 Education (2019 Info Coming Soon)

Monday, Dec. 3
2:30-3:45 p.m. | Orientation and Opening Session

Presented by Michael J. Lyons

In today's fast-moving, ever-changing meetings industry, mastering multiple competencies as a professional is vitally important if you aspire to move up in your career.

Regardless of your current skill set, level of experience, title, or responsibilities, the ongoing expansion of your career tool kit must continue daily, with the end goal becoming a well-rounded professional ready to assume positions of increased responsibility as you progress in your career. Learning how to build and fine tune strong relationships, maintain work-life balance, grow as a leader, network better, and polish your personal brand, among other skills – are all important components to achieving your mission.

Tuesday, Dec. 4
1:30-2:30 p.m. | Education Sessions

Presented by Lisa Sommer-Devlin

This session will help those with less contracting experience understand key legal clauses. From how to properly list the contracting party; to what should be in a cancellation clause; to understanding indemnity; this session gives the key legal information you must know. Two attorneys who’ve worked in the industry for years guide this session. Even experienced industry pros may learn something!

Presented by Michael J. Lyons

To be a well-rounded and successful sales professional, you must continuously develop both the written and verbal communication skills required to effectively speak with prospects, customers and peers, particularly in the face-to-face meetings industry environment.

Oftentimes, salespeople tend to “tell, tell, tell and sell, sell, sell” due to the exuberance about the product or service they represent. There is a temptation to blurt out all the features and benefits - often in a hard pitch approach - and hope that one or more grabs the attention of the prospective client.

Selling is about listening and seeking first to understand the client’s requirements before saying a word. It is about solving the client’s pain points and helping them find the right solution to their needs. And successful selling starts with good communication skills and a simple selling approach that always puts the customer first. In addition, the ability to deliver a presentation and speak publicly in an articulate manner is a competency that should be fine-tuned on an ongoing basis.

Presented by Cabrin Kelly-Hale

Become a 21st Century Meeting Planner by learning to make culturally diverse foods an exciting part of your conference! Food is the true bridge between cultures and in this session learn how to incorporate the traditional foods of your attendees into your mainstream meals. Learn to embrace Diversity's broad spectrum through food.

2:45-3:45 p.m. | General Session

Presented by Lisa Sommer-Devlin

In today’s tumultuous climate, hear from a lawyer who has worked in the meeting industry for thirty years on how to address the hottest topics in event contracting. Fires, Floods, Hurricanes, Hotel Safety, Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Political Upheaval, Violence, and many other issues are impacting the industry. What will happen next, are you ready? Should we be including different clauses? What happens when something goes wrong after the contract is signed? You will gain insightful advice on how groups and hotels can work together to address these and many other timely and relevant topics and challenges facing our industry in this new day and age.

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