• Meet Meg Palumbo, 2019 Up-and-Coming Supplier

    POSTED March 25, 2019

    Colorado Meetings + Events is proud to introduce our 2019 Hall of Fame, made up of seven top-notch individuals who are positively impacting the meetings and events industry.

Meg Palumbo

National Sales Manager, The Steamboat Grand


» At age 16, the Colorado native started working in the hospitality industry at The Golden Hotel in Golden as a hostess

» Graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in hospitality management

» Completed Marriott’s Management Development Trainee Program, which led to working at Marriott properties in Denver, Chicago, Dallas and Minneapolis

» Currently is employed as a national sales manager for The Steamboat Grand in Steamboat Springs and serves as a Destination Colorado board member

Best Things About Working in the Meetings and Events Industry
“People are what make the meetings and events industry dynamic, innovative and inspiring. Our meetings and events industry is revolutionary, and I enjoy being part of something where I am surrounded by people I learn from.”

Hopes, Dreams and Plans for the Future
“My dream is to spread genuine Steamboat hospitality to as many people as possible. By continuing to grow and learn from a community that has given me so much, I hope to become a leader in the industry that excites the next generation of meeting and event professionals.”

Advice for People New to the Industry
Palumbo recommends attending as many industry events as possible and connecting with an individual who can provide guidance. “Our Colorado meetings and events industry is incredibly active. Get out of the office and meet the industry’s movers and shakers.” She adds, “Find a mentor, learn from them by listening. … Ask them to challenge you, introduce you to their network, and you will be in awe by the relationships this industry creates.”

Ways the Industry Has Evolved
“Human connection, collaboration and a strengthened community are what our stakeholders are striving for, and the meetings and events industry delivers! Our industry is creating new ways for people to connect, collaborate and bond through shared experiences that build, cultivate and strengthen attendees.”

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.


Denver native Keisha Makonese’s passion for planning events dates way back. Her latest gig as director of sales and corporate events at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum began nine years ago. In this role, Makonese helps oversee an average of 150 private events at Wings Over the Rockies each year, from making meetings for 20 people to annual dinners for 2,000 fun and interactive experiences.