Shot or Not:
Will the Vaccine Affect Live and Hybrid Attendance?

VIRTUAL Program - Thursday, June 24

In the second half of 2021, our industry is clearly gearing up for more hybrid meetings and some in-person only meetings. Four things will affect whether participants will come: cost, timing, relevance, and safety. Despite feeling bullish, the pandemic still presents uncertainty. Less than 50% of the US population is fully vaccinated, and the White House has set a goal of 70% to have one vaccine shot by July 4. 

Will organizations require vaccinations in order to attend a meeting? If so, will that turn off the unvaccinated toward the organization? If not, will the vaccinated and unvaccinated respect one another? Just how important is "vaccine confidence," and how will it affect vaccination rates going forward?

Despite our collective desire to reignite our industry and get back together in person full steam, well, there are still some obstacles in our path.

If you think you've heard everything about vaccinations, think again. We’ll delve into this issue and try to differentiate facts from opinions.


Joan Eisenstodt, Meetings & Hospitality Consultant
Eisenstodt Associates, LLC

Ohio native, Joan Eisenstodt, with 50 years in the industry, just observed 40 years of her DC-based meetings consulting company, Eisenstodt Associates, LLC.

Joan serves as a hospitality industry expert witness in disputes often involving event attrition and cancellation. She has been inducted into the Events Industry Council Hall of Leaders, the industry’s highest honor; honored for life-time achievement as an educator by the PCMA Foundation and for contributions to education by IACC, NSA (speakers not spies!) and HSMAI. Outside of work, Joan loves to read, attend theatre, learn, and spend time with her spouse, their rescue cats, and friends.

Helaine Resnick, PhD, MPH
Resnick, Chodorow & Associates

Helaine Resnick earned a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Michigan, a Master's degree in health policy from Yale University, and a Bachelor’s degree in history from Tufts University. She completed a three-year fellowship in epidemiology and statistics at the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Resnick served as Director of Epidemiology and Statistics for the MedStar Research Institute and Associate Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University before starting her consulting practice in 2011.

Dr. Resnick has published more than 130 book chapters, journal articles, and technical reports on topics related to aging, chronic and infectious disease, health information technology, long-term care, and research design. Recently, her consulting work has focused on vaccine hesitancy, and broader issues about public trust in science, among other topics.

In addition to her consulting practice, Dr. Resnick is an election judge in Montgomery County, MD, she serves on the Board of Shepherd’s Table in Silver Spring, she is a hospice volunteer, a member of the Montgomery County Medical Reserve Corps, and she serves as a volunteer trail ranger and on the Countywide Recreation and Parks Advisory Board, both in Montgomery County. Dr. Resnick has assisted several local organizations to develop COVID-19 response plans. She is the mother of two sons, aged 19 and 21, and she learned how to make baguettes during the lockdown.

Sandra Harwood, CMP
Vice President, Meetings & Education/IDWeek Meeting Secretariat
Infectious Diseases Society of America

Sandy Harwood has been with the Infectious Diseases Society of America since 1998, initially serving as the Director of Meetings. In 2008, she was promoted to Vice President, Meetings and Education. As a member of the executive management team, she is responsible for strategic guidance for IDSA priorities. In 2012, she oversaw the creation of IDWeek, the largest meeting dedicated to infectious diseases physicians, scientists and practitioners hosted by five organizations including IDSA, SHEA, PIDS, HIVMA and SIDP, and serves as Meeting Secretariat. Under Sandy’s guidance, IDSA expanded its professional development portfolio to include maintenance of certification modules, antimicrobial stewardship curriculum and advanced curriculum, a leadership institute, ACCME accreditation with commendation, creation of an in-training exam to help program directors benchmark fellow-in-trainings’ progress throughout fellowship, mentorship programs for medical students, residents and fellows and initiatives supporting medical education resources. 

With the challenges of the global pandemic, in addition to moving IDWeek to a virtual meeting, Sandy conceived and partnered with CDC to secure grant money to host a 24 hour COVID-19 Chasing-the-Sun event on the day prior to IDWeek. This free 24-hour program included COVID-19 updates from around the globe. Reports from CDC, WHO, and all major international partners were included.

Sandy graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management.  She received her CMP in 2002. Sandy has served on numerous industry committees and advisory boards including Marriott, Fairmont, Starwood, San Diego, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.


Phil Rappoport

Phil founded Virlybird to support meeting planners in their quest to deliver quality virtual/digital meeting experiences. Prior to Virlybird, he served as VP and General Manager of the AgendaPop mobile event app, which has been trusted by planners around the world. Phil is the VP, Communications for the MPI Potomac Chapter, and is a member of PCMA, ASAE, SGMP, AMPs, and CSAE. He has served as the programming lead for the Reston Herndon Meeting Planners for several years and conceived the popular Summer Camp event. His career has spanned the Internet and broadcasting, holding management positions at AOL, Surefire Local, Sony Corporation, Fox Television New York, and radio stations in Chicago, Cincinnati, and New York. He also produced a weekly late-night program for the ABC Television Network featuring the top rock and roll artists.

Technical Producer

General Manager

As a technology advocate, Vinnu helps clients embrace tools that improve their attendee experiences while making the meeting planner's job easier. With over 20 years experience in conference and event planning, Vinnu's portfolio ranges from working with government agencies including Internal Revenue Service and Department of Defense to social justice organizations like National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. With her meeting planner hat, Vinnu works with a team of developers at to customize registration and virtual conference portals. 

Raised as a coal miner’s daughter in western Kentucky, Vinnu stays true to her southern roots by valuing community in both her personal and professional lives. She obtained a Bachelors of Science from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of Public Administration.  


The views and opinions expressed during programs organized by Reston Herndon Meeting Planners (RHMP) are those of the speakers and participants and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of RHMP or its committee members.

Reston Herndon Meeting Planners (RHMP) 

APEX Meetings is the managing agent for RHMP

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