Monday, May 20, 2024
Home Michigan MI Places More from Karen Totaro, GM of Huntington Place

More from Karen Totaro, GM of Huntington Place

By M+E Staff

I chatted with Karen Totaro, general manager of Detroit’s newly renamed Huntington Place convention center, for our People Profile page in the spring issue of Michigan Meetings + Events. We didn’t have room for the whole conversation, so I wanted to share more of what Totaro had to say.  

M+E: You’ve held senior positions at convention centers across the country—Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio; Portland; Atlantic City; San Diego and now Detroit. These are challenging jobs. What do you like about managing convention centers

KT: I love that no two days are alike, that I have a role that makes an impact on the communities these venues serve, that I get to build amazing teams and watch them soar and I get to experience new regions of the country and the diversity that brings when looking at this business from so many varied perspectives. Learning and growing is a constant even after 30 years in the industry.

M+E: The convention center has a new name and a new post-pandemic future. What are some of the innovations you see ahead for Huntington Place? 

KT: We have been working on several new initiatives and improving on others. For example, we are moving to broaden our appeal to the international marketplace. While so many other cities opt to focus on “back to basics” and staying regional, we are going bold and strategically working on drawing in some international events. In addition, Premier, our preferred audio-visual provider, has been fine tuning our hybrid options and they can now be easily customized to meet every need. We are also working hard on a west side expansion to include a 9000-seat general session space that can convert to a second 40,000+ square-foot ballroom space, as well as additional parking and a potential headquarter hotel.