IAHMP Conference Visits St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches

                     for 18th Annual International Educational Conference & Trade Show


The International Association of Hispanic Meeting Professionals (IAHMP); The Connected International Meeting Professionals Association (CIMPA) and The Asian Leaders Association (ALA) hosted the 18th Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show EXPO at the Renaissance World Golf Resort in St. Augustine, Florida.

Richard Goldman, President, St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau and Evelyn Vazquez, Director of Leisure Sales at the Bureau were the Title Sponsor for the conference and The Renaissance World Golf Resort was a Conference Platinum Sponsor hosting the meeting planners and the Opening Welcome Reception.

The conference participants learned that along Florida's Historic Coast, history comes alive in red-brick lanes leading to centuries-old churches, in forts where soldiers still walk the grounds, and on horse-drawn carriage rides through the historic Old St. Augustine. St. Augustine is the perfect place to hold a meeting and have conference participants learn more about this historic city as well as the modern facilities it affords.

The Pre Conference was hosted by Evelyn Vazquez, CDMP, and Director of Leisure Sales for the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau. Participants got to enjoy a trip back to nature along 42 miles of pristine Atlantic beaches and the numerous championship golf courses that make the area ideal for combining their meetings with golf. It was easy for conference participants to get caught up in the area's timeless history and romance. St. Augustine is indeed a different sort of city – a place where history is on every street corner and where the ancient buildings and narrow brick-paved streets create an ambiance that is more like Spain than the familiar feel of downtown America.

As the conference participants experienced, time stops in St. Augustine, the country’s first original Spanish settlement. Here is a place where you can explore the cultures of the Spanish and the Native Americans who first called it their land. It is also a place where you can learn about Colonial living within a historical village and also learn about Africans in Fort Mose, the nation’s first community of freed slaves. No other city can come close to matching St. Augustine's status as the nation's oldest historical city.

Following the Pre Conference in St. Augustine participants turned their attention to the beautiful turf at the famous World Golf Village Resort where the First Annual Golf Tournament was held. This event afforded the suppliers an opportunity to meet one-on-one with meeting planners and will become a featured event at future conferences. Gary Simon, Director of Multicultural Affairs, Sacramento CVB and Lida Peterson, CDMP, President of the Connected International Meeting Professionals Association were the Honorary Chairman for the very successful Supplier/Meeting Planner Golf Tournament.

The conference certification program, the Certified Diversity Meeting Professional (CDMP) continues to attract industry professionals who want to broaden their cultural competency and obtain this important industry credential. Participants enjoyed 2 ½ days learning about the new Global economy and the cultural nuances necessary to competently interact with diverse people.

Faculty members stated it is vital that industry professionals are aware of cultural nuances and valuable information on working with multicultural markets. They also learned about the overall strength of the travel, meetings and hospitality industry and its economic value to the American economy. Faculty members included:

Terry Singleton, CSEP, CDMP, President, CCP Events. In 2000 she was named, "One of the 100 Top Convention Planners" in the South by Convention South Magazine. She is recognized as a subject matter expert on special event trends and designs. CCP Events, Inc. is a woman owned business and was recognized by Diversity Business.com as a Top Diversity Owned Business in Georgia in 2006 and 2008.  Terry is an active member of the International Special Event Society and served as the Southeast Region Vice President and on the Board of Governors as International President. You can Follow Terry on Twitter@CCPEvents

Julia W ai-Yin So, Ph.D A Speaker of Diversity on Diversity is an assistant professor of sociology at the Valencia Campus of the University of New Mexico. With decades of international experience working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds while living in Hong Kong, Japan and Ecuador, Dr. So has been teaching culture and diversity since 1995 and speaks frequently to national and international audiences on Unraveling the Three Cs to debunk certain cultural communication codes that one uses or presenting the Asian/Latino Parallels about the similarities of the two fastest growing racial/ethnic minority groups in the US.

Carlos Conejo is President of Peak Performance Seminars, Training & Consulting a Thousand Oaks California based leadership and process improvement consulting firm. Conejo is the author of "Motivating Hispanic Employees: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Motivating Hispanic Employees" written for the non-Hispanic leader or manager in order to help with better understanding of the fine nuances of the Hispanic culture, approach to teamwork and other workplace issues.  He is currently serving as President of the Pepperdine University Ventura County Alumni Association.

Carole Copeland Thomas is a speaker, trainer, global thought leader, and business owner since 1987. Carole knows how to analyze the dynamics of a changing marketplace and has authored several books on diversity. She graduated with honors in 1975 from Emory University and entered graduate school in 1983 (on a Martin Luther King, Jr. academic fellowship), and received her MBA degree from Northeastern University in Boston. Carole is the Tri State Coordinator for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the Chair of the Multicultural Committee for the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. See: moderates the discussions of key issues affecting our global marketplace. She has her pulse on the issues affecting working professionals and consults with industry leaders on a regular basis. From speaking at the Federal Highway Administration, SHRM, Hewlett Packard, Verizon, Cargill, and Monster.com to www.tellcarole.com

Angela Gonzalez-Rowe is President and owner of AGR Hospitality Solutions, a full service hospitality marketing and association management firm. AGR is a cutting edge firm that relates to the fast paced needs of the hospitality industry. She is also Founder & President, Latino Hotel & Restaurant Association. formed to assist the Latino hotel and restaurant owner, operator and developer through governmental affairs, education, research, communication and value added services. She is a graduate of the University of Houston at Clear Lake and the Harvard Business School.

About the Certified Diversity Meeting Professional

Each year, millions of people travel globally to attend meetings, conventions and special events. It is therefore a necessity for people within the travel and tourism industry to be culturally aware if they want to maintain relevance and stay competitive. Connecting with your customers is no longer a luxury it’s a necessity. When you understand customer’s needs and preferences you can more effectively support your company’s efforts to delight customers and win their loyalty – which translates into greater profits for your firm.

IAHMP founded the Certified Diversity Meeting Professional designation to meet the needs of industry professionals who work and do business with people all over the world. Becoming culturally aware means understanding your customer based on a specific knowledge of a person’s country of origin, cultural nuances and among other traits such as gender, educational level, etc.

The Certified Diversity Meeting Professional (CDMP) has been awarded to professionals in the USA, Portugal, Spain, Croatia and the UK.


The conference also featured industry professionals during the educational sessions in the general assembly. These included:

Willie Chin, Regional Director, Sales & Marketing - Caribbean, IHG - InterContinental Hotels Group. Mr. Chin graduated in Business Administration from the University of South Florida, and has over 20 years experience in Hospitality Sales & Marketing in the Caribbean with branded hotel chains such as Sonesta, Williams Hospitality, Wyndham, Westin, Sheraton and currently with InterContinental as Regional Director of Sales & Marketing for the Caribbean. Mr. Chin spoke on "A Tale of Two Hotels", an interactive session with attendees describing two distinct hotels in the Caribbean.

Kim Roman Corle - Social Media and How it is used not only in the Meetings Industry but as part of any good marketing/branding effort. Twitter: How to create a hash tag to promote your event. The hash tag is also used during the event. Facebook: for updates and load photos of the event.

Brigitta Toruño, CEO & Founder, UNO Translations and Communications, LLC will speak on marketing to Hispanics living in the USA. Ms. Toruño will include examples of the best ways to reach this dynamic and very diverse group, including the importance of cultural awareness and translation.

Maria de la Luz Gonzalez, Editor, Hispanic Meetings & Travel will speak on the trends of the Hispanic Meetings Market covering such topics as the top Hispanic meeting destinations, market worth and new destinations on the horizon.

Keynote Speaker - Andrew Witt, Executive Director, St. John's Cultural Council in  St. Augustine, Florida and Guest Speakers from Mexico who included; Mayor Santos Garza Herrera, Cuatrociénegas, Coahuila;  Mayor Melchor Sanchez de la Fuente, Monclova, Coahuila and Ms. Doris Garza Lugo, Director of Tourism Coahuila

Special Conference events included a Networking Golf Putting Event Chaired by Dr. Kenneth Webster, Executive Director for Osteopathic Medical Societies, a Certified Planner of Professional Meetings who coordinates over ten such events each year.

A beautiful Reception at the Historic Lightner Museum was hosted by Richard Goldman, Executive Director, and Evelyn Vazquez, CDMP, Director of Leisure Sales for the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & the Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau. The Historic Lightner Museum is housed in the former Hotel Alcazar, built in 1887 in the Spanish Renaissance style. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Conference Honorary Chairpersons included

Roland R. Ramirez, CDMP, Corporate Liaison Manager - SER-Jobs for Progress National, Inc.

Peggy Riley, CDME, Director of Multicultural Sales - Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Armando de la Garza
IAHMP México Chapter President



St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches

Visitors and Convention Bureau

29 Old Mission Avenue

St. Augustine, FL 32084

Direct: 904-209-4431

Toll Free: 800-418-7529

Fax: 904-829-6149

Cell: 904-669-7970


Ranked by National Geographic Traveler as one of the "World's 20 Must See Places"


Lightner Museum

St. Augustine

75 King St., St. Augustine, FL 32084

Local Phone: 904-824-2874 Fax: 904-824-2712


St. Johns Cultural Council
15 Old Mission Avenue
St. Augustine, Florida 32084
T 904.808.7330























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