• Meet Karen Fogle, Visit Plano

     
    FROM THE Spring 2016 ISSUE
     

    Karen Fogle has served as the association and corporate sales manager of Visit Plano for more than a decade.

When Karen Fogle speaks to meeting and event planners about the city of Plano, she draws on a lifetime of familiarity with the area.

“I was raised in the area, so planners can speak to me as a native Texan,” says Fogle, a Dallas native and the association and corporate sales manager for Visit Plano.

With more than a decade’s experience at Visit Plano, Fogle was recently honored with the Distinguished Affiliate Award from the Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE). The award recognizes those who have made a “significant contribution to TSAE and its members through exceptional service to associations.”

“The award is given not only for the contribution to TSAE and its members but also to the association industry in general,” Fogle says. “There’s a lot of gravity to it, and I’m very honored and humbled to receive it.”

Fogle has served on the board for the Texas Hill Country Chapter of Meeting Professionals International and is a member of the Gulf States Chapter of the Professional Convention Management Association.

Prior to working for a CVB, Fogle worked in the hospitality industry, real estate development and agriculture and has raised and raced thoroughbred horses. Her experiences in sales and marketing have helped her better serve her current clients, she says.

“Those experiences helped me understand what people really want to get out of their meetings, and how to help planners have really successful events,” Fogle says.

In addition to a variety of hotels, the city includes the Plano Centre, which accommodates 5,000 people and offers 122,500 square feet of meeting space. Dining, entertainment and nightlife are available within walking distance.

“Plano is one of those lucky cities that has a fantastic location,” she says. “The city has a lot to offer for meetings, conventions and conferences. You can find everything you want in a short radius.”

Plano’s restaurant scene offers hundreds of options, according to Fogle. “Plano is the city of choice for chefs to start a new concept restaurant or try something in a market,” Fogle says.

As she talks with clients, Fogle points to Plano’s high quality of life as a draw for visitors. “It’s very welcoming and friendly,” Fogle says. “I really enjoy working here and being a part of Plano.”

Tony Michaels is no stranger to navigating choppy waters. The CEO and executive director of The Parade Company, which puts on traditions like America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Ford Fireworks, took the helm of the Detroit nonprofit during tough times, at the height of the financial crisis. “2008, 2009, are you kidding me?” says Michaels.

 

Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.

 

You may not have seen her name among Chicago’s James Beard award nominees or caught in the buzz of another trendy eatery opening, but the ripples of Rita Dever’s culinary creations have made an impact far and wide. After cooking around the world, the Pacific Northwest native put down roots as Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ (LEYE) associate partner and corporate chef where she collaborates in the company’s test kitchen to innovate new dishes for all LEYE restaurants.