Honorable Mention Chapter Award
Honorable Mention Chapter Award

The Superwomen of Vegas Share Empowerment Stories Ahead of WEC

May 28, 2021, 08:00 AM by Blair Potter
“It was important from that moment to make sure I was focused on growing the next generation of leaders.”

At WEC Vegas, June 15-17 at CAESARS FORUM, MPI is bringing key women leaders from Las Vegas together for a panel discussion called “The Superwomen of Vegas: Rising Up and Empowering Others” (10:30 a.m., June 17).

We asked each session panelist and moderator Michelle Allgauer to reflect on a moment in her life when another woman empowered her. Learn more about the panel discussion and WEC Vegas.

Michelle Allgauer, Senior Vice President of Education & Engagement, Financial Services Institute: Cornelia Horner is someone who continues to inspire and empower me. Here’s one specific example. I had lost my job and Cornelia was very supportive during my job search and, in fact, sent me a job announcement that was only shared with her network. The job seemed like the perfect fit based on my experience and I applied and got the job. I’m now on the executive leadership team for that company and have been working with them for the past eight-and-a-half years, receiving two promotions since being hired. 

She was my MPI Potomac Chapter president when my husband was deployed in Iraq (2007) and I became a super volunteer, not wanting to be home in an empty house. She recognized me for my efforts with the Presidential Chapter Award. A few years later, I followed Cornelia’s footsteps and went on to become chapter president. She helped me land my dream job and I have since continued to follow in her footsteps participating on the MPI International Board of Directors and the Event Industry Council CMP Governance Commission. 

WEC Vegas, June 15-17, 2021. Make your future.

Chandra Allison, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing - M.I.C.E. and Leisure, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas: Early in my career, I befriended a colleague who really provided a guiding light for my career. I was struggling to understand what training I needed to be successful and what I needed to do to advance my role. She took me under her wing, showing me the ropes and introducing me to the right people. She really helped me thrive. Not only did she encourage me to approach people and situations differently, but her influence helped to get me in front of the right people. She empowered me when I needed it the most and I’ve strived to reciprocate that for others as I’ve moved through my career.

Stephanie Glanzer, Chief Sales Officer & SVP, MGM Resorts International: A pivotal professional moment for me was in 2011 when the vice president I reported to for many years, Gail Fitzgerald, announced she was retiring. She told me she recommended to leadership that I replace her and it was a moment I will never forget. Not only did it show she knew I could handle the role, but that she also trusted I would not just execute the current vision, but also have an impact on the future of the company’s convention segment. I remember feeling empowered, excited and also a bit anxious that she was handing the torch over to me. I was also proud that all of my hard work over the years was being recognized with this new amazing opportunity from someone who was an icon in the industry. It was important from that moment to make sure I was focused on growing the next generation of leaders to provide them with the same mentorship and opportunities she was so generous to offer me.  

“It was important from that moment to make sure I was focused on growing the next generation of leaders.”

Devin Lewis, Director of Regional Sales, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority: I come from a long line of strong women. My mother, Vivian Hovey, spoke positive affirmations and always encouraged me to “stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.” She said, “walk into every moment as if you were meant to be there,” and that has stuck with me. Her words and actions have always empowered me and made me feel there is nothing in this world that I could not do.

Lisa Messina, Vice President of Sales, Caesars Entertainment Corporation: I had to think about this because truth be told, aside from my mom, there weren’t a lot of women in the ranks as I was coming up. Regardless, I’d like to reflect on an amazing woman, Jackie Franchi, who was my area director of sales and marketing at the Hilton’s of Washington, D.C. (now vice president of marketing and sales for Visit Fairfax). She recruited me to the job. We complimented each other’s experiences, styles and needs well. Fourteen months into my time, the regional vice president called to see if I’d be interested in the regional director role. Jackie could have been upset or concerned: “Why her and not me? Why now after she just got ramped up and trained? What about our business goals and needs?” Nope! She didn’t say any of that. She thoughtfully shared all the reasons I would be a great fit for the part. That was my first big move into a corporate role, which would be a launch pad for where I am today. I’m grateful for her.


In the hyper-competitive hotel and destination marketing landscape of Las Vegas, these superwomen have risen to prominent and industry-leading roles—but it hasn’t been easy. How did they find their positions of strength while balancing the needs of their constituents, stakeholders, communities and families? What strategies did they implement to overcome stereotypes and labels, earn the trust of their peers and grow their careers in one of the world’s fastest-paced cities and leading meetings marketplaces? Discover candid lessons about overcoming obstacles and learn their advice for anyone about how to differentiate yourself in a competitive landscape.

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