Every year, Meetings Today polls its readers, reaches out to sources and contacts past Meetings Trendsetters to compile a list of the planners, educators and suppliers whose efforts and ideas propel our industry. Following is our 2016 list recognizing these agents of change. Congrats to all who made the list!

Looking for previous years' lists? Follow the links below!

We encourage readers to share the good news and make sure to keep an eye out (and vote) for future trendsetters!



Michael Massari 
Senior Vice President of National Meetings and Events
// Caesars Entertainment
Specialties: Casino resort sales, operations and marketing

Showing unflinching resolve in building the business travel and meetings segment in Atlantic City, N.J., Michael was a major advocate for investing in the new Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center and helped land MPI’s World Education Congress there in June.


Tom Faust
Vice President, Sales // Benchmark Hospitality International
Specialties: Hotel sales and marketing

Bringing experience gained at major hospitality brands such as Omni Hotels & Resorts, the Anatole in Dallas under both the Wyndham and Hilton flags, and Sheraton and Starwood, Tom joined Benchmark Hospitality International in early 2016 and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the MPI Foundation.


Darren Green 
Senior Vice President of Sales // Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
Specialties: Destination sales and marketing

A more than 20-year meetings industry veteran, Darren has held positions at brands such as Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels Corporation, Nikko Hotels International, KSL Resorts and Starwood Hotels. Helped by his efforts, Los Angeles hotel occupancy last year set a record at 79.6 percent and hotel rooms sold set a record at 28.5 million hotel room nights.


Bonnie Grant
Executive Director // PHL Life Sciences, A Division of the Philadelphia CVB
Specialties: Medical/pharma meetings, promotion and education

Bonnie has taken a leading role in promoting Philadelphia as one of the top U.S. destinations for medical and pharma meetings as well as sponsoring education through MPI and acting as an advisory council member on the MPI MD advisory council and on the PCMA Medical Meetings Task Force.


Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe
President // Explore St. Louis
Specialties: DMO leader and sustainable meetings

With sustainable meetings being a central driver in her career, Kitty has served in leadership positions for a number of industry organizations, including being a founding board member of the Green Meetings Industry Council and chairing MPI’s Task Force on Green Meetings, which resulted in the meetings industry’s first white paper on green meetings. Other accodlades include being named MPI’s International Supplier of the Year and chairing the association and leading roles in industry associations such as ASAE, CIC and various regional tourism boards and St. Louis organizations. Her work chairing a committee for the Oceans Blue Foundation led to the development of its website, bluegreenmeetings.org.


Julie Coker Graham
President & CEO // Philadelphia CVB
Specialties: Destination marketing and strategic partnerships

Besides serving on the boards of two of the industry’s top associations, U.S. Travel and DMAI, Philly CVB chief Julie Coker Graham has been leading the charge to create more partnership opportunities between meeting clients and Philadelphia city government, as well as with the civic, tech and business communities.


Mark Cooper
Chief Executive Officer // IACC
Specialties: Promotion of meetings and conference-focused venues

With more than 25 years of experience in the global hospitality industry in both the U.S. and U.K., Mark has transformed IACC to increase its global influence and mission of educating planners about the benefits of holding their meetings at exclusive meeting venues, by design. 


Edward Harris
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
// Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board
Specialties: Destination marketing and technology

Leveraging his background in tech and retail marketing for companies such as eBay, Converse, Timberland and Under Armour, Ed brings a fresh take to DMO meeting planner outreach, including an emphasis on cutting-edge digital video and image efforts such as its Montco 360 website. Harris is also an adjunct professor of marketing at the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.