BizBash Reveals 2018 List of Top 500 People in Events

Cheryl Cecchetto, Ian Schrager, Nan Marchand Beauvois, Ben Hindman, and Marcy Blum named to the inaugural list.


New York, NY (September 24, 2018) — BizBash, North America’s number one resource for event industry trends, ideas, and inspiration, has announced its 2018 list of the Top 500 People in Events. This inaugural list of event professionals from the United States and Canada includes people who lead the largest trade and consumer shows, orchestrate global brand campaigns, and plan high-visibility cultural events that have everyone talking on social media.

"Narrowing the world of event professionals down to just 500 standout individuals was not easy," said BizBash editor in chief Beth Kormanik. "Some are well known, while others work strategically behind the scenes, but all are deserving of recognition for their leadership, creativity, and results."


The 2018 list of the Top 500 People in Events includes:


·       Agencies: Erica Boeke of Condé Nast (NY), Jean-Francois Bouchard of Sid Lee (CAN), and Vince Thompson of Melt (GA)

·       Audiovisual & Lighting Design: Jon Retsky of Got Light (CA)

·       Catering: Bill Homan of Design Cuisine (DC) and Carla Ruben of Creative Edge Parties (NY)

·       Conference Planners & Producers: Cynthia Hornketh of Gartner Summits (CT) and Scott Wilcox of SXSW Conference (TX)

·       Corporate Producers & Strategists: Tara de Nicolas of Amazon (WA) and Yma Sherry of American Express Global Business Travel (PA)

·       Destination Management Companies: Cindy Lo of Red Velvet Events (TX) and Paul Mears of Hello! Destination Management (FL)

·       Destination Marketing Organizations: Johanne R. Bélanger of Tourism Toronto (CAN)

·       Entertainment: Rolando Espinoza of Champagne Creative Group (NV)

·       Event Designers & Producers: Cara Kleinhaut of AGENC (CA), Bryan Rafanelli of Rafanelli Events (MA), and David Stark of David Stark Design and Production (NY)

·       Event Education: Carol McGury of SmithBucklin (IL)

·       Event Industry Leadership: Roger Dow of U.S. Travel Association (DC) and Ingrid Nagy of ILEA (CO)

·       Event Management: Cindy Brewer of LEO Events (TN) and Heather Mason of Caspian Agency (CA)

·       Event Tech: Reggie Aggarwal of Cvent (WA) and Elizabeth Glau of Eventbots by Sciensio (OR)

·       Festivals/Fairs: Cameron Bailey of Toronto International Film Festival (CAN) and Suzanne Neve of Florida Festivals and Events Association (FL)

·       Florists: Sandra de Ovando of Ovando (NY)

·       Hospitality: Steve Heitzner of Marriott International (MD) and Jan Jones Blackhurst of Caesars Entertainment (NV)

·       Incentives: Greg Bogue of Maritz Global Events (MO)

·       Media: Chris Collinson of Connect Meetings (GA)

·       Planners-Associations: Angela Harar of The Vision Council (DC)

·       Planners-Nonprofits: Lee Kite of American Cancer Society (IL)

·       Public Relations: Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski of Rock-It Promotions (CAN) and James LaForce of LaForce (NY)

·       Sports & Arenas: Peter O'Reilly of National Football League (NY)

·       Strategy & Leadership: Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki of 2synergize Inc. (CA)

·       Sustainability & Social Responsibility: Mariela McIlwraith of Meeting Change (CAN)

·       Trade Show Management: Rod Alberts of North American International Auto Show (MI) and Dona Fae Desmond of Comic-Con International (CA)

·       Weddings: Tara Guérard of Tara Guérard Soireé (SC) and Sharon Sacks of Sacks Productions (CA)

The “Top 500 People in Events” feature can be seen at as well as the 2018 Holiday/Fall Venues Issue print and digital editions of BizBash Magazine (



Beth Kormanik, editor in chief of BizBash, is available for comments. For additional information, contact Brittany Bucceroni at or 646.839.6846.



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