MPI Women: Who We Are and How You Can Get Involved

Blog > Industry News

MPI Women: Who We Are and How You Can Get Involved

By Angessa Lynn Hughmanick | Jun 10, 2020

Initially created to empower women around salary negotiations, mental health and the importance of collaboration, the 18-month-old Meeting Professionals International Women’s Advisory Board is making waves in the event industry.

WAB was formed to represent the MPI Women’s Community, which comprises an estimated 80 percent of MPI’s membership and the global events industry. Now in its second year of existence, the board kicked off 2020 with new leadership and several new faces making up the board of 20 diverse female perspectives from across the globe.

The board, boldly led in its first year by Sarah Soliman and Courtney Stanley, is now working under the leadership of co-chairs Rebecca DeLuca, director of key accounts and strategic partnerships at Caesars Entertainment, and Carol Porter, owner/event planner of Sustainable Meetings. With the astute guidance of Kristi Sanders, senior director of community engagement for MPI, the duo is doing a fantastic job picking up where the former co-chairs left off, leading this hard-working group of event industry volunteers on an upward trajectory to make an impact and provide valuable resources for the meetings community. 

Related MPI Community: MPI Women

“The board recognized a specific need in the current climate and reacted to that demand for resources incredibly quickly and collaboratively. The creation of a collective resource guide organically grew into a white paper and social media campaign around Quarantine Survival Strategies.’ The white paper is an honest, tangible tool and the social media campaign is relevant, real and being very well received.” DeLuca stated. The initiative is becoming bigger than anyone ever imagined, especially with the evolution of a new wellbeing page that will continue to grow from a public resource to include members-only benefits.

One primary goal the group is laser-focused on is raising awareness that the MPI Women’s Community exists and to ultimately drive engagement through the members-only MyMPI community forum, in order to encourage collaboration and connection. Since the MyMPI Women’s online forum was created in January 2019, it has attracted 221 men and women.

The WAB began the year with three main initiatives in mind:  

  1. Develop thought leadership and advocacy around the UN Sustainable Development Goals of Wellness and Gender Equality

  2. Promote content and available resources for women to educate, elevate and support themselves and each other

  3. Grow the MPI Women Community by raising awareness across the industry and helping MPI Chapter Leaders understand how to engage this community

As a result of Covid-19, the urgency of certain initiatives shifted, which is why the creation and distribution of the wellbeing page and other resources quickly took force. This specific resource will serve as a toolkit to aid members during the turbulent landscape we now live in. 

Spearheaded by board members Sarah Kelley Freeman and Angessa Lynn Hughmanick, they identified six areas of “Women’s Health” (financial, physical, mental, relational, spiritual & workplace) and looked at what those areas might mean to women. Next, they brainstormed various ways to maintain each of these sectors and compiled a list of tools to help women create balance and health respectively. 

For example, Freeman found The Spoon Theory’s teaching in order to help increase her and her team’s daily productivity levels. Hughmanick began offering complimentary 30-minute “Stretch & Decompress” classes out of her home studio each Thursday in May to honor Mental Health Awareness Month. MPI Women are collaborating with MPI Global staff to build out the members-only phase two of this wellbeing resource.

While this group has already come together in an impressively timely manner to extend a helping hand to MPI Women, they still have much to do! For more information on how to get involved visit the MPI Women Communities landing page and join the conversation on MyMPI. Want to apply to serve on next year’s board? Look for the global volunteer application for this and other international volunteer opportunities that will open in September of 2020.

WAB Advisory Board Members

Alexandra Carvalho-Lukachova, Senior Meeting Planner, Kaiser Permanente

Angessa Lynn Hughmanick, Director, MJM Creative

Angie Ahrens, VP Operations, Leadercast

Arlene Schilke, CEO, Timewise Event Management

Calanit Atia, Owner, A to Z Events

Carol Porter, Owner/Event Planner, Sustainable Meetings

Courtney Stanley, Motivational Speaker & Writer, CS Consulting

Emilie Watrob, Head of Marketing, ZS

Erin Abel, Owner and Chief Experience Officer, Third Coast Events

Kelly Saling, VP Convention Sales & Services, Visit Seattle

Kristi Sanders, Senior Director of Community Engagement, MPI

Libby Severance, Head of Group sales, American Airlines

Linda Vaji, Director System Events, Geisinger Health

Noelle Pearson, Sr. Director Business Development, Private Jet Services Group

Rebecca DeLuca, Director of Key Accounts & Strategic Partnerships, Caesars Entertainment

Sarah Freeman, Director of Sales, Evolution Event Solutions

Sarah Soliman Daudin, President & CEO, Soliman Productions

Tracy Murray, Director of Sales and Marketing, Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago

MPI Women Community Sponsor


Visit Seattle Meetings



Angessa Lynn Hughmanick
Angessa Lynn Hughmanick
Strategic Business Development Director at WPP creative agency

Angessa Lynn Hughmanick currently serves as the Strategic Business Development Director at the Manhattan based WPP creative agency, MJM Creative. Known for strategically connecting key decision makers in order to fulfill the unique objectives of each project, she accredits her success to a diverse background. Angessa holds credentials from The Whitman School of Management, Harvard University and The Boston Conservatory, and her passion ultimately lies in the excitement and unpredictability that exists in communications.  Angessa is a founding member of the Meeting Professionals International’s first Women’s Advisory Board where she and other like-minded women are proudly paving the way for a better future for women in the events industry by providing strategic advice and guidance to serve MPI Women.