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Colorado Hall of Fame 2019

By Photos by Tate Carlson

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. Our Editorial Advisory Board, composed of industry professionals from around the state, nominated and selected this year’s inductees for their unique contributions and committed dedication. Now in its 12th year, the Hall of Fame has 84 distinguished members. 

Bruce Horii

Director of Sales & Marketing, Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center


» Started career in Winter Park selling to ski groups and moved on to Village at Breckenridge as associate director of sales

» GM of Peter Glenn Travel and Tours, transitioned company from a retail travel agency to full-service ski tour operator

» Director of sales at Sheraton Steamboat Resort in Steamboat Springs

» Joined Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center in Breckenridge as director of sales and marketing in 2000

» Has served as a board member for Destination Colorado, CSAE, SGMP and recently helped start the Mountain Meeting Alliance

» Also has been active with the Colorado Tourism Office, Tourism Industry Association of Colorado, Colorado Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association and PCMA

Best Things About Working in the Meetings and Events Industry
“Beaver Run has been fortunate to host many of our groups annually and those groups have many participants and leaders that are more than just a source of business but truly friends. Similar on the supplier side, I have formed bonds with so many people that I have lifetime relationships; this is how I met my wife, Donna.â€

Hopes, Dreams and Plans for the Future
“My hope is that meetings and events continue to prosper and flourish. It gives me a great sense of fulfillment when groups return to Beaver Run because they have accomplished their goals or had such a wonderful time, which means we did something right.â€

Advice for People New to the Industry
Horii recommends getting involved, taking on an active role in keeping the industry vibrant and relevant, and learning from people who have been successful in their careers and relationships. “Find out what your clients are trying to accomplish with their meeting or event and take an active role in making them successful.â€

Ways the Industry Has Evolved
“The industry is evolving on the technology front, not only with the content of the meetings and events but how communication occurs. My fear is that we will move away from collaboration and relationships toward a more impersonal mode of communication and stray from achieving goals to enabling transactions.â€

Cara Miller, CMP

Senior Manager, Events & Production Services, Charles Schwab


» Hired as an administrative assistant for Denver office of Jackson National Life in 2008

» Recession layoffs happened soon after and only a few weeks before a large national sales meeting, and Miller was asked to help run the event

» Within the year, moved into an event planner role permanently and worked her way up to event and meeting planning manager

» Became senior manager, events and production services for Charles Schwab in Denver in 2016 and manages large corporate events across the country

» Has assisted nonprofit fundraising events such as Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation Gala and Colorado Avalanche Charity Brunch

Best Things About Working in the Meetings and Events Industry
“This industry represents excitement, possibility, opportunity and connection. I love that there is an inherent buzz around meeting and events.â€

Hopes, Dreams and Plans for the Future
“I really hope this industry shifts to be more environmentally responsible. One challenging aspect of my job is seeing a lot of waste, whether it is food, paper or giveaways. I would love to see the industry as whole move toward more sustainable events and meetings and eliminate as much waste as we can.â€

Advice for People New to the Industry
“I think connection is the key. Especially in the world we live in now. So much of our business world now takes place digitally, and in-person events and meetings offer a different and irreplaceable way of doing business. I would recommend finding ways to keep the focal point of the event on making sure your attendees benefit from that connection.â€

Ways the Industry Has Evolved
Miller observes that nearly everything has become customizable. “You can customize your own cocktail or your own power bowl in a lunch buffet. We have customization of schedules and agenda tracks for clients to get exactly what they need and want from an event, only attending what pertains to them. Even activities can be customized, like a silent disco where the attendees have a choice of what music to listen to!â€

Nikki Bibbero, CMP

Meeting Architect, Kinsley Meetings


» Worked as a waitress and bartender, which prompted a hospitality management degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver

» Manager in training at Denver Marriott City Center, working with restaurants and banquets

» Accepted a job with Kinsley Meetings three years ago

» Earned the CMP designation and Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate

» Director of recruitment for the MPIRMC Board of Directors and received chapter’s 2016-2017 Rising Star award

Best Things About Working in the Meetings and Events Industry
“As a planner we work for weeks, months and years doing all of the behind-the-scenes prep work and planning to get ready for one monumental event. Day in and day out it can seem that the final product will never come to fruition, but when it happens it’s a magical moment.â€

Hopes, Dreams and Plans for the Future
“I want to continue surrounding myself with people and experiences that will push me, challenge me, and help me grow as a person and a planner. I am eager to work on the special events side of this industry, to work with large-scale clients and events, and to continue traveling throughout the world and country executing top-notch events.â€

Advice for People New to the Industry
Her main tip is getting involved. “I owe a large portion of my success to my industry involvement, which has helped foster great connections and relationships that have gotten me where I am today.â€

Ways the Industry Has Evolved
“People that attend events are always wanting to be wowed with cutting-edge ways to learn in a meeting or with neverbefore-seen décor and entertainment,†she says. “I think we will continue to try to stay at the top of the curve for technology, entertainment and design throughout all of our events, as that is what is in demand from attendees.â€

Deirdre Wildman

Hospitalitarian & Owner, Chrysalis Hospitality 


» Started career in corporate brand development and advertising

» Worked as an event planner and director of sales and marketing for Three Tomatoes Catering in Denver

» Hired as an event designer for 451 Events/Catering by Design (now By Design Collective)

» Served as GM of MorEvents before launching Denver-based Chrysalis Hospitality in 2017

» Has produced more than 10,000 events and been recognized with several awards

» Serves on the American Red Cross and Global Livingston Institute board of directors

Best Things About Working in the Meetings and Events Industry
“The challenges, the travel, the people, exceeding expectations … ultimately, seeing the joy on guests’ faces when they have an amazing time at one of my events. It’s somewhat a thankless industry, so I personally live for the strokes of a job well done.â€

Hopes, Dreams and Plans for the Future
“I genuinely feel that I’ve achieved my dream. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I’ve wanted to own my own business since I started out. After years of learning from so many greats in the industry, I finally felt it was time to jump! My plans/dreams include building my business to just the right manageable amount so I can work hard (but not too hard), play hard, and keep doing what I love for as long as possible.â€

Advice for People New to the Industry
“From an advice standpoint I could go on for hours. Get involved in outside organizations and show up. Learn how to close a sale, become a ‘yes’ person if you aren’t one already, and take advantage of every resource you have available.â€

Ways the Industry Has Evolved
“The evolution of technology has made planning somewhat less personal over time. What used to be face-to-face meetings are now phone calls. Phone calls are now emails, and emails are now texts. … However, it’s nice to be able to generate a to-scale diagram in less than 15 minutes and have it around the world in less than 30 seconds. And being able to use a small handheld device (my phone) to basically run my business from anywhere in the world is also quite a nice perk.â€

Katherine Frost

Founder, A Frosted Affair


» Growing up in Houston, Texas, her family entertained on a regular basis at home.

» Ski instructor at Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado

» Worked for Destination Services Corporation (DSC) in Denver as a sales and account coordinator

» Established Denver-based A Frosted Affair in 2015 to plan corporate and nonprofit events and weddings

Best Things About Working in the Meetings and Events Industry
“I love that every day and every client is different, and it is incredibly rewarding to know that I’ve created a meeting or event tailored to a client’s specific needs. … Thinking through elements such as color combinations, visualizing a room, seeing the event unfold, and making that vision a reality really gets me excited about events!â€

Hopes, Dreams and Plans for the Future 
“My main goal right now is to continue growing and cultivating an amazing team and working with local clients that grant us the privilege of planning all of their events. I would also love to expand our work to collaborate more with clients visiting the state for their events.†She adds, “I’m very interested in developing a software program that helps streamline the planning process which makes it easier to create events for both the planner and the client.â€

Advice for People New to the Industry
“On one hand you have to keep the big picture in mind, but on the other you can never overlook the small details. There are always a lot of moving parts to plan for and come event time, when you’re looking at all those parts and the people in that moment, you have to be able to change things gracefully if anything just isn’t going right.â€Â 

Ways the Industry Has Evolved
“Denver has become a very hot market for events, not only due to the influx of people moving here or businesses developing new headquarters here, but because of an increase in out-of-state groups holding events in and around the city. With that increase in demand, I have seen more and more venues with less and less availability within a year of an event date.â€

Jorge Sanchez
President & Lead Detailer, Hermes Worldwide Transportation


» A seasoned business professional with more than two decades of experience in the banking, aerospace, consulting, technology and chauffeured industries

» Worked for IBM, JD Edwards, FirstBank, TCI, Honeywell Aerospace and Avaya before starting Hermes in 2007

» Since then, Hermes has established itself as a full-service ground transportation company offering a fleet of options from sedans to motor coaches as well as event planning services

Best Things About Working in the Meetings and Events Industry
“The commitment that meetings and events industry personnel make to pull off the impossible never ceases to amaze me. I have never been associated with a more committed group. The attitude is never ‘no’ it’s always ‘let me see what I can do.’ The meetings and events industry always manages to bring calm to the chaos.â€

Hopes, Dreams and Plans for the Future
“My goal is to develop Hermes into the pre-eminent transportation supplier by providing experienced personnel who understand how to meet the challenges of a fluid event and doing our part to create the wow effect.†Sanchez also emphasizes the importance of making a challenging request a reality as part of the equation. “Clients don’t want to hear no. They want to walk away from the event with a lasting feeling, and our job is to make that happen.â€

Advice for People New to the Industry
Sanchez suggests being flexible with service offerings and remembering that “the one constant is change.†He says, “Any competent person can plan an event. To stand out you have to talk to your client and listen to what they want to achieve from the event. Add your personal touch to make it memorable.â€

Ways the Industry Has Evolved
“No matter the size of the event, the lead time has shrunk from months to weeks. Clients are demanding more near-demand services in all aspects and are more focused on a personalized experience. When so much of our industry has been commoditized, the personalized experience is what will create a lasting impression.â€

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.â€

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.â€

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.â€

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.â€