Suzanne Morrell, Founder and Sustainability Consultant, Creating Environments
Award-winning event producer, Suzanne Morrell, founder of Creating Environments and the D.C. Event Food Waste Coalition, has been creating experiential events, globally and online, for over three decades. Notable projects include some of the world’s most high-profile events and range from government meetings to destination events. Creating Environments leads by example by raising the bar for sustainability in events worldwide by not only focusing on resource and waste reduction, but also health and wellness of all who participate in the event experience. She has a deep knowledge of sustainability standards and the broader evolving landscape of climate change and how that intersects with event management. She is a member of the Board of Directors and Leadership Team of the Sustainable Event Alliance and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.
Sarah Gabel, Founder, Green Girl Events
Orlando-based event professional Sarah Gabel started Green Girl Events in 2021 out of a desire to help preserve our natural world. As a passionate industry leader with 20 years of event industry experience, she set out on a mission to target organizations within the meeting and event industry to create educational opportunities that inspire, direct, and lead them to develop sustainable practices that can be replicated and certified. Green Girl Events serves a resource for event planners who are looking to reduce the environmental impact of their events through custom tailored plans in the areas of hotel/venue selection, sustainable menu planning, emissions reductions, waste diversion management plans, and sustainable event certification management.
Resham Shirsat, Sustainability Project Manager, City of Orlando
Resham Shirsat is a Sustainability Project Manager in the Sustainability and Resilience Office for the City of Orlando, leading the mayor's zero waste by 2040 goal. Her 15 years of professional experience has focused on the design and implementation of sustainability initiatives and projects for the public and private sector both locally and internationally. Resham has a passion for initiatives that support a zero-waste community, ecological design and construction, and natural climate solutions. Resham holds a B.S. in Biology, B.A. in Anthropology, and an M.S. in Environmental Management. She is a LEED AP and TRUE Advisor through the US Green Building Council (USGBC), as well as a certified Permaculture Designer.
Emily Zientek, Sustainability Coordinator, Sodexo Live! at OCCC
As the Sustainability Coordinator for Sodexo Live! at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), Emily is responsible for creating, maintaining, and overseeing all sustainable food and beverage initiatives and programs. After earning her undergraduate degree from Rollins College with specific focus on Social Entrepreneurship, Sociology, and Global Health, Emily chose to apply her academic education and real-life passion in the hospitality industry. Her desire for knowledge and her passion for sustainability has prompted her to continue her education at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay seeking a master’s degree in the Science of Sustainable Management. Emily is a dedicated, hardworking, and results-oriented individual that strives to achieve success through an eagerness to learn, a strong attention to detail, and an effective communication style. Emily is eager to develop and hone the necessary skills to continue to adopt and advance environmental practices for Sodexo Live! at the OCCC and beyond.
Katerina Chagoya, Sustainability Coordinator, Orange County Convention Center
Katerina Chagoya is the Sustainability Coordinator at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), where she works to reduce the environmental impact of large events while simultaneously maintaining and improving the sustainability of the Convention Center as a venue. Katerina obtained her bachelor’s degree in physics in 2016, and her PhD in mechanical engineering in 2021, each from the University of Central Florida (UCF). At UCF, she conducted research in green chemistry and fuels for 8 years, including catalytic carbon dioxide reduction, the synthesis of biofuels, and optimizing carbon-free, emissionless fuels for long-duration space flight. Between the years of 2016-2018, Katerina worked at an industrial chemistry laboratory developing a clean manufacturing process for synthesizing biofuels from agricultural wastes. From this and other research projects, she has authored 6 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. Her passion is in the Earth and positive solutions to Climate Change.
Molly Crouch, North American Corporate Director of Sustainability, Sodexo Live!
As the North American Corporate Director of Sustainability for Sodexo Live! Molly Crouch is responsible for implementing Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow 2025 global initiatives across North America with specific focus on reducing waste, driving responsible and local sourcing, boosting plant-based menus, utilizing smart serviceware solutions, and supporting local communities through donations and volunteerism. A graduate of the University of Central Florida, Molly is a results-oriented and process-driven leader with proven skills in operations, sales, marketing, and administration. She is a member of several hospitality industry related organizations including PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association), IAVM (International Association of Venue Managers), MPI (Meeting Professionals International), the EIC’s (Event Industry Council) Centre for Sustainability & Social Impact, the SENFC (Sustainable Events Network Florida Caribbean), and the AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums).
Go Big and Go Home: Local Solutions to Planning Circularly
Thursday, March 30 at 12:30 p.m.
Big Problems need Big Solutions. We are on a quest to make climate positive events the norm, not the exception. All along we've been overlooking some of the most important resources that can allow us to reach this goal. Right in our own backyard. But what's getting in our way? Competition? Fear of reuse? Using creativity and planning skills, teams of event management, hospitality, and tourism professionals can work together with event producers in ways that will still allow each to showcase their ideas to make events memorable, engaging and sustainable. Reusing rigging and trusses for a stage set up is not a new concept. It saves wear and tear on the venue, saves time for set up and tear down, and ultimately saves money. So, let's take this concept and apply it to other steps in the planning process. Flying staff around the world no longer makes sense when there are resources locally to tap into to achieve the same goal. Yes, you need your core team, but how can we maximize what's in place? How can suppliers communicate better with planners, clients and potential clients. We're not talking rinse and repeat. Rather use what we have and demand more of our local experts to enhance and create systems that challenge our wasteful ways of the past. We've always had the power. Let's appreciate the value of our local supply chain. There's no place like home!
Connect with Suzanne, Sarah, and Resham at Catersource + The Special Event this March 27-30 in Orlando.