Jim LaBadie, CASE
National Account Executive
Jim graduated from Michigan State University in 1974. His hospitality career has spanned 45 years including 25 years in hotels and resorts. The last 20 years Jim has spent in destination marketing managing both domestic and international convention and trade show sales for North American cities, the state of Hawaii and islands in the Caribbean.
Throughout his hotel/resort portion of his career he held positions as a sales manager and Director of Sales at a variety of properties including downtown, suburban and airport hotels. He eventually elevated to a regional position with as many at 20 hotels and their sales departments under his direction. Mr. LaBadie was responsible for sales training, business and market plans and the overall development of sales in every market, individualized for each hotel.
Jim moved to Chicago where he was Vice President of The Hyland Group, managing Midwest operations for the sales representation company. The Hyland Group had contracts with a dozen cities and over 25 independent hotels and resorts to staff their regional sales business development in Chicago and Washington DC.
Mr. LaBadie left the Hyland Group to become Vice President of Sales for Visit Grand Rapids in western Michigan. He earned his Certified Association Sales Executive (CASE) certification from the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). Subsequently Jim ran Midwest sales operations for several destinations including Fort Worth, Los Angeles, the state of Hawaii. In 2011, he re-opened the office for Houston where he now works.
Jim is an active member of PCMA, the American Society of Association Executives, the Association Forum and the International Association for Exhibitions and Events. He has served on the Board of Directors for both the Association Forum and the International Association of Association Management Companies.
Lindsay Williams is the Sales Manager for GES based out of the Hyatt Regency Chicago. GES is the preferred official services contractor for the Hyatt Regency Chicago, and in her position Lindsay works closely with the hotel to partner with all incoming groups to offer exhibit and graphic solutions. In 2016 she started her career with GES as part of their Account Associate program in after graduating from Miami University.
Director, Strategic Solutions
Bill arrived in the meeting and convention industry in 1996 and worked for a registration, housing and travel company called ITS. There he learned from the bottom up handling both operations and sales while serving many of the largest conventions and tradeshows in the country. Following a merger to form Experient, Bill’s responsibilities have included account acquisition and retention along with managing a portfolio of housing service partnerships with convention and visitors bureaus. Bill has also served on numerous committees within national and local industry organizations such as PCMA, IAEE and ASAE. He is a regular speaker, presenter and moderator.
Director of Association Sales
Tamara Jones is the Director of Association Sales for Choose Chicago, the sales and marketing organization representing the city of Chicago and McCormick Place. She has been with Choose Chicago since 2015 focused on large medical associations, Sports and various industries. Previously, she worked 13 years with Hilton Hotels. Opening new hotels in Omaha and Baltimore was an exciting opportunity during those years, In 2009, Tamara came to Chicago to represent the Hiltons of Chicago; a mutli-hotel sales office based in the Palmer House Hilton. She is currently on the Board of the GMC PCMA Chapter and a liaison to the Student Committee. She hails from Minnesota and a huge Vikings fan!
Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce
Sarah Hagen began as the President at the Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce in December 2018. She started her career in the event industry after graduating from Grand Valley State University in 2011 with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She worked as a Venue Coordinator and soon moved up to Events Director at Castle Farms in Charlevoix. Over her six years in that capacity, Sarah coordinated over 400 weddings, corporate events and private functions. In late 2017, Sarah transitioned within Castle Farms to launch their wine-line and wine tasting room, 1918 Cellars, which she managed until her move to the Charlevoix Chamber.
Since taking on her role with the Chamber, Sarah has launched new initiatives and fostered partnerships to increase focus on growing the Charlevoix community and making it a destination to visit, live, work, and play in. She is a first year graduate of the Institute of Organizational Management through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce working towards her I.O.M. credential by 2022.
Vice President Sales
Amway Hotel Corporation
Mr. Brondyke is a graduate of Hope College in Grand Rapids and a thirty three year employee of the Amway Hotel Corporation. In his time with Amway, Ron has worked in a variety of positions until he was promoted to Vice President in 2008. Ron has sales and marketing responsibility for five properties in Grand Rapids; the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, JW Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, A.C. Marriott and the Hyatt Place.
With over 20 years of experience, Cherai Lewis has a track record of non-dues revenue generation, program development, event management, and b2b consultative sales and marketing experience. After starting as a Front Desk and then VIP agent at a large Atlantic City casino hotel, Cherai knew that she had found her career. After having the honor to sell three destinations (Columbus (OH) Miami and New Orleans), working for Marriott and Kimpton hotel properties and providing audiovisual solutions for meeting industry professionals, Cherai then served as the Director of Event Services for YMCA in the USA. Wanting to deepen her knowledge of meetings and events, Cherai now uses the various elements of her professional experience to help clients reimagine a richer engagement experience for their participants through unique spatial design. Cherai has served locally and nationally for PCMA, MPI, Association Forum and the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners.
Renee J. Lewis,CMP
CEO and Co-Founder
Infinity Management Group
Renee J. Lewis, CMP is an experienced association and event executive. She has led and managed associations for over 19 years. In addition, she has over 25 years of experience producing, designing and marketing meetings, tradeshows and events in the corporate, association and special events arenas.
Renee has been a member of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), Senior Planners Industry Network (SPIN) and American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). She has earned the designation of Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), is currently working to obtain her Digital Event Strategis designation and has begun work on her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation.
In October 2013, Renee co-founded Infinity Management Group (IMG) with her business partner. IMG specializes in designing experiences for customers, members and sponsors. Their core mission is to design, plan, market and operate conferences, meetings and special events.