15. Thomas Whelan, Director of Banquets, Levy Convention Centers
In 2020–2021, my events community became my extended family. Now, looking forward to 2022, I am excited to celebrate and support them at every turn. I am so lucky to be surrounded by the most incredible people. Through the pandemic, it was the friends I had made at conferences who answered the late-night phone calls and talked me through anxiety, stress, and fear. Now, we have the same late-night calls and talk about how happy we are to be back doing what we love. I am so excited to watch all my friends plan the best events, cater the most amazing meals, and give me the biggest hugs when I see them walking a trade show floor in the future. It takes a special person to work in events—a little crazy, a bit eccentric, but with the biggest hearts. My crew, my friends, my colleagues—they deserve the world and I can’t wait to see them all get it.
16/ Meredith Commender, CSEP, Owner/Lead Event Coordinator, Significant Events of Texas
In 2022, I predict we will have clients, especially corporate clients, looking for new and creative solutions for hybrid events and virtual events. While we will be doing in-person events for those clients as well, the developments we have made with virtual events will continue to be part of the event industry, educating us on all the different methods in which an event can be experienced. These experiences will continue to benefit us now and in the future as well-rounded event professionals who can adjust to any challenge.
17. Jen Avey, VP of Marketing, Destination Weddings Travel Group
’re thrilled to see the current wedding boom start to positively impact the destination wedding industry. Resort venues throughout Mexico and the Caribbean are pulling out all the stops to ensure couples and their guests feel welcome and safe while in an international destination—this spans everything from instilling extra health and safety protocols onsite to mandating all employees be vaccinated to offering free onsite COVID-19 testing to fulfill any and all CDC requirements for returning to the United States.
We’re looking forward to more and more destination wedding celebrations getting back on track in 2022—whether that’s couples who originally postponed their initial plans who now get to ultimately see their vision come to life, or those who are recently engaged who can fulfill their dream of bringing their friends and family together in an exotic locale to celebrate together.
18. Chrissy Thompson, DES, CEO, Dynamo Events
As we move into 2022 and reflect on both 2021 and 2020, I am most grateful for the spirit of collaboration in our industry that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic forced us all to get creative fast and to keep getting creative as each new month presented brand-new challenges. That meant competitors from across the industry—hotels, suppliers, agencies, CVBs—who previously might have been tight lipped about their strategies realized, “Hey, this is going to be a LOT less painful and work out a LOT better for all of us if we share what’s working and what’s not working in real time.” Having this type of relationship with fellow boutique agency owners was essential for us in surviving the pandemic, and I know these are relationships I’ll be able to call on for years to come. I have always been a fan of the “collaborate don’t compete” mindset, so I hope this spirit of collaboration is here to stay in 2022 and beyond.
19. Julie Novack, CEO & Co-Founder, PartySlate
Our PartySlate team is especially excited about the resurgence of corporate events. Conferences, product launches, and employee events will be bigger than ever in 2022. With a larger percentage of the workforce working remotely, we are seeing companies increase budgets on events to help build culture, retain employees, and recruit top talent.
On PartySlate.com, we have also seen a huge increase in search volume for themes. Because employees have been apart for so long, we believe these fun themed parties will help break the ice and create memorable celebrations.
20. Julianne Smith, The Garter Girl
I think kindness will be on-trend for weddings and events in 2022, and it’s giving me so much hope. Whether that’s kindness our clients are sharing with overworked and stressed-out vendors (looking at myself here) or the kindness that event attendees are showing each other, I think the world is so thankful to get back to connecting in person that they can’t help but be grateful. Given all the staffing issues and supply chain problems, the only way to celebrate IRL in 2022 is to be kind.