Education at Connect Sports

Attendees can experience an exciting variety of engaging and informative education sessions from industry leaders like Karen McCullough,
Jim Spellos, Shawna Suckow, Cheryl Payne and Crystal Washington.


Education sessions at past Connect Sports events include:

Sporting Event Producer Mashup

As a sports planner and event producer, there is much to wrap your head around. In this deep-dive workshop, we'll cover a variety of topics to improve your performance. From tricks of the trade of being a sports event producer to learning the tools to be a proactive planner to approaching stay-in-play in a positive way, there is much to cover. Come prepared to take away new tips for your professional career!

The RISE Code  

Stepping into your own leadership and bringing out the leader in others requires a solid mindset built on four key attributes. These attributes are the foundation of the RISE code that creates a blueprint for life and work happiness, productivity and results. During this session, identify your unique RISE code and how you can use it to perform at your best.

Trends and Hot Topics in Sports

As a sports planner or supplier, what is keeping you up at night? What problems do you need help solving from your fellow industry colleagues? Join a discussion with your colleagues to find solutions to the challenges you face, as well as learn industry trends from Connect Sports.

CMP Certification: Your Questions Answered  

Achieving CMP certification proves to your colleagues and peers that you have mastered the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful event professional. Come to this session to hear the requirements to apply, how to study and why earning the CMP designation will enhance your career.

Moving to Transformative Conferences That Focus on Business Outcomes  

To be successful in the 21st century, conferences need to become outcomes-based. Planners should focus on the business needs of their target market instead of just certification requirements. Conference stakeholders attend events with very specific business objectives, and planners need to get better at identifying their business needs so they can offer programming to help them succeed.

Sporting Events and Family Engagement  

We’ve all been there: traveling over the weekend for a sporting event with the family. Taking the family along on work or volunteer trips is a common and practical practice, but does it mean we are doing it right? What struggles do you still have with including families, and how do you get more attendees based on family engagement at your sporting events outside of hotel deals? In this 30-minute, quick-fire open discussion, share your best practices, tips and trends to ensure combining family time with professional time is as current as it needs to be.

A Discussion on Diversity  

Join this casual, in-depth discussion on diversity and inclusivity at corporate events. You’ll engage with your peers to gain a better understanding of diversity and its values in events and share ways to effectively meet the diverse needs of your attendees.

Selecting and Securing the Perfect Site

This workshop is an opportunity for industry newcomers to examine and discuss all facets and issues involved in selecting event sites. After attending this session, you’ll be able to prepare event specifications, create an RFP, conduct a thorough site inspection in person or by phone, and evaluate and select the property and destination that best suits your event’s objectives.

Room Block Poaching: It Could Happen to You

If the word pirate conjures images of Blackbeard or Jack Sparrow, consider yourself lucky. Today, for a growing number of event planners and associations, the term has a dramatically different—but no less chilling—meaning. Room block poachers are modern-day scalawags that prey on unsuspecting organizations in an equally insidious way as pirates of old. The actions of these latter-day pilferers have a negative impact on hotel room blocks, resulting in headaches for planners.

Designing Inclusive Events: From ROI to Reach to Rosh Hashanah

During this panel discussion, we'll discuss how to grow your audience, manage your budget and design welcoming events. We'll explore how to avoid common mistakes as well as venue selection practices, principles of universal event design and best practices for room setups, food and beverage and transportation. We'll also look at how marketing messages, program design and logistics decisions can encourage diversity and inclusion.

Sales Slumps to Sales Success

You’re rolling along at the top of your game and then… bam! A computer crashes, a deal falls through or an important event is canceled and you lose your momentum. Things happen beyond your control, causing your concentration and drive to slip. The key to moving from slump to success is to acknowledge the slump, but make it short and painless. During this interactive session, learn a four-step process to identify what kills your momentum so you can recover quickly and move on.

Advanced Contract Strategies and Enforcement

As a senior member of your organization, you are often tasked with negotiating or reviewing key language for hotel contracts such as cancellation, force majeure, construction and attrition. And while you have been an expert on these subjects for some time, often some of the language is tricky. Join veteran hospitality industry professional Dan Moher and hospitality industry attorneys Lisa Sommer Devlin and Barbara Dunn O’Neal as they engage in an interactive discussion using real-life clauses and case studies.

Pitching Ideas to the C-Suite: Getting a Yes From the Boss

Analyzing your stakeholders and bosses is critical to the success of every project. By engaging the right people in the right way, you can greatly increase your project's chance of success. As your career develops, the projects you manage and actions you take will affect more and more people, and it becomes more likely your actions will impress those who have power and influence over your projects or career. In this session, learn concrete “Business Solutions From the Lady on the Harley” from Michele Wierzgac.

How Prepared Are You?

You dotted all your “I”s and crossed all your Ts for the upcoming event. But even the most thoroughly planned events can sometimes be interrupted with items out of your control. When you look at your emergency plan, are you prepared? Do you have a crisis preparedness plan of action? Join two professionals as they discuss how to prepare for unexpected circumstances, from preconference work to on-site incidents to post-con follow-up.

Art of the Deal: Winning Community Activation Strategies Through Sports

As a sports planner, it is important to gain support from the community at your events. From attendance to sponsorship dollars, how does a planner work with a sports commission to engage the community? As a sports commission or CVB, how do you work with community leaders to raise funds or implore the community to support an event? This case study session will dive into the best practices of community engagement in hosting events. Panelists from USA BMX and the Tulsa Sports Commission will talk about specific community touch points they used to secure support for a headquarters relocation partnership. Topics will include engaging elected officials, community leaders, school districts and additional stakeholders.

Contract Clause Clash: How to Draft Contracts From Real-Life Conflicts

Two event industry lawyers—one who represents groups and one who represents hotels—will present real contract clause examples and then give audience members a chance to spot problem language and redraft to avoid disputes. This lively game show format will have the audience vying for points to see who will be the contract clause champion.

Solutions for Doing More With Less

event professionals are being challenged to do more with fewer resources and come in under budget. In this highly interactive session, learn practical and effective ways to stretch your budget, and acquire techniques to impress your boss or client. Bring your best money-saving tips to share with your colleagues and compile strategies you can implement immediately for your own events.

Up Close and Personal With Shaq

Calling all sports professionals: This session is for you! Get your questions ready, as basketball legend Shaq will answer questions not only from Connect’s moderator, but also from audience participants. Join the conversation before he addresses all Connect attendees as a keynote presenter.

Breaking Down Participation Barriers: Best Practices for Accessible Events 

In this session, learn best practices for designing events to be accessible and welcoming so everyone is able to fully participate. We'll discuss venue selection practices and principles of universal event design, including marketing and best practices for room setups, food and beverage, and transportation.

Hot Technologies 2016 for Advanced Professionals

How are you keeping up with the technological advancements that impact your job and career? Do you find you’re barely able to keep pace with the latest developments within the hospitality industry? This session reviews what’s new and cool in technology in this fun, fast-paced look at what’s here for us to use now and what’s coming in the near future, including the latest information about augmented reality.

The RFP Rumble

The ever-popular planner/supplier rumble is back with a twist! Three planners and three suppliers will take the stage in this lively conversation full of audience participation, all centered on RFPs. Do you have a burning question you want to pose to the panel? Now's the time to bring both sides to the table for this always fun, always insightful discussion.

Instructional Design: Demystified

As organizations gain expertise in analyzing, designing, developing, implementing and evaluating instructional experiences, they can improve organization processes and procedures, as well as better coach and mentor speakers. In this program, gain exposure to the ADDIE model of instructional design and identify ways to approach your events and events with the mindset of an instructional designer.

Host Sponsor

New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau

Exclusive Partner