February 2021 -  The Return to Live - Register Now


February 18, 2021

Lo and behold, live meetings are being planned for this year. Discover what planners found when they recently produced and attended live meetings, how priorities and tasks might be changing going forward, and how properties and suppliers have adapted to new conditions based on COVID-19 guidelines.


Mariana Gallo

Senior Director, Conferences

Fertilizer Institute

Mariana’s career path has included leading companies such as Experient, Inc, ConferenceDirect and IMN Solutions. She worked with association and corporate accounts building relationships, developing strategic plans and negotiating to drive results from understanding needs and providing solutions. Overall, she was responsible for events topping 30,000 attendees, negotiating with hotels, convention centers, arenas and ancillary event services. Mariana holds a BA in Business and Marketing from St. Bonaventure University. She earned her Certified Meeting Planners (expired), Digital Event Strategist, and Pandemic Compliance Advisor Certificate. She is active with the Capital Chapter of PCMA.  When not taking over the world, Mariana is vested in animal welfare and volunteers with the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, DC.

VP, Events & Operations

Kathlene Stakely has served as VP, Events & Operations for PTTOW!, a private community for today's most creative and inspiring CEOs and CMOs from Fortune 200 companies, since December 2017. In January 2021, she oversaw the launch of the WORLDZ Collective, a 9-month digital program connecting and educating tomorrow's leaders from culture shaping brands. Kathlene has more than 15 years of experience in the live events space. Past companies include Viejas Arena, formerly Cox Arena, in San Diego and Paramount Pictures. She holds a B.A. in Business Administration and German from the University of Florida. 

Senior Director, Membership & Education
AMC Institute

Shelli Vasser Gilliam works with the AMC Institute, a trade association for the association management company (AMC) community. Prior to the AMC Institute, Shelli held several fulfilling roles as a meeting & events planner, supplier, as well as business owner/principal consultant working with philanthropic organizations, government agencies, and other groups. Shelli currently serves as the MPI Potomac Chapter’s President-Elect. One of her greatest accomplishments is having formed and led an ecumenical community food distribution program that serves more than 5,000 people annually. In 2020, Shelli received the Carpenter’s Shelter’s Wall of Honor Award for her commitment to support vulnerable populations. Shelli received Smart Meetings’ Smart Women in Meetings Entrepreneur Award in 2019.



Phil Rappoport founded Virlybird to help meeting planners manage their virtual meetings and make the attendee experience soar. He also represents event solutions such as Piccles. Prior to Virlybird, he served as VP and General Manager of the AgendaPop mobile event app. Phil is the VP, Communications for the MPI Potomac Chapter, and is a member of PCMA, ASAE, SGMP, AMPs, and CSAE. He has held management positions at AOL, Surefire Local, Sony, Fox Television, Tribune Broadcasting, and he produced a late-night program for the ABC television network.


Principal Planner
Apex Meetings & EVAreg.com

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 EVAreg.com 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.  


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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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