1st Quarter 2019 CNFBTA Educational Forum

February 07, 2019
12:30 PM - 5:00 PM
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The Conference Center at Florida Blue
4800 Deerwood Campus Parkway
Jacksonville, FL 32246

Many travel managers are now being asked to help control the cost of meetings and reduce overall risk to their companies.  Corporate meetings continues to be a major component of business travel and the dollars invested in events and meetings are often not as strictly managed as other components of a managed travel program.  This is definitely an area where you can find value not only in the bottom line but also in operational efficiencies and risk reduction.   Companies are looking to leverage not only spend and operations but to expand their duty of care programs.

Our Keynote Speaker, Nick Pupa, Category Manager, DSM Group Sourcing and GBTA SMMP Committee Chairperson will engage our attendees with provacative ideas for discussion and focus on what is most important to you.  A panel of your peers will also share their experience in travel, meeting & event management.   Moderated by Independent Meeting Consultant Steve Felahis, SMMC, our panelists will include:

  • Claire Blades, Director, Travel & Meetings, Veritas Technology
  • Vickie Corder, CMP, Senior Director, Global Accounts, Helms Briscoe 
  • Julie Jacob, CMP, Corporate Event Program Manager, Florida Blue  
  • Lisa Perry, CMP, President, Meeting Creations


Our industry spotlight, Jay Reilly, Vice President, Sales of Groupize will highlight this technology and how it can be leveraged to manage all size of meetings.

We will also include roundtable discussions on Meeting Management Hot Topics.

GBTA - 3 CE credits will apply.


  • 12:30 PM - Registration & Networking
  • 1:00   PM - Lunch
  • 1:30   PM - Educational Forum
  • 5:00   PM - Raffle


The Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park at 4812 Deer Lake Drive West is offering CNFBTA event attendees a special rate of $89 for Thursday 2/7/19.  To secure these non-published rates, please contact James Angel, Director of Sales via email at james.angel@aloftjacksonvilletp.com to make your reservation.

Please join us.  This promises to be an event to help you build or expand your strategy to deliver to Meetings Management.

Keynote Speaker

Nick Pupa, Category Manager, DSM Group Sourcing

Nick Pupa is a Category Manager at DSM, responsible for global travel sourcing strategy. He is also part of the DSM Meetings & Events Program team, which is an integral part of the global travel program. Prior to the launch of the DSM M&E Program, Nick was responsible for growing SMM within North America. Nick has a broad background in procurement/category management, from Mar(com) to Major Construction Initiatives, as well as, building organizations from Startups to global conglomerates. Before joining DSM, he was the Manager of Procurement & Supplier Quality Engineering at a pharmacy automation company in North Carolina. He is also the chair of the GBTA Meetings Committee and serves as a member of the Chapter Outreach team. Nick earned degrees in International Business & German from East Carolina University.

Panel Moderator

Steve Felahis, SMMC, Independent Meetings Consultant

Steve Felahis is best known for his marketing creativity as it relates to the meetings industry. He has over 22 years with the Canadian Tourism Commission as Director of Business Events. He received certification in Strategic Meetings Management in 2011 from GBTA. After retiring from the Canadian Tourism Commission, Steve has been doing presentations on a university level at Gwinnette Tech School of Hospitality and Georgia State University Graduate School on Strategic Thinking and Destination Marketing. He has also facilitated breakout sessions at industry events such as eventerAct and MPI WEC. He also produced a special education session on Service Level Agreements and Key Performance Indicators for international trade development officers.

Panel Speakers

Claire Blades, Director, Travel & Meetings, Veritas Technology




As the Director of Travel and Meetings at Veritas Claire is responsible for the Book to Reimburse team, policy, process and operations.

Claire began her career working in the travel industry with one of the world’s largest Travel Management Companies. She made the move to corporate travel management working at Oracle Corporation for over seven years where she was instrumental in travel policy design and on-line booking tool deployment. Claire joined Veritas in November 2004 and managed the EMEA region for travel initiatives whilst based in Reading, UK. In late 2009 she moved to Orlando to lead Symantec’s global travel program.

Today, Claire takes charge and responsibility of policy, process and operations of the Global Travel, Meetings & Events, Corporate Payment Solutions and Expense Reporting functions, providing a best in class book to reimburse program; enabling safe, effective and efficient travel solutions whilst carefully managing cost at Veritas.

In addition to her Veritas responsibilities, Claire is an active member and thought leader of the business travel community and at large serving as a member of the GBTA Aviation Committee. She was the recipient of GBTA' 2014 'Direct Member of the Year' award recognizing her commitment to the business travel industry.  In 2015, Claire graduated from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania with the designation of Global Leadership Professional for having met the highest standard of education in the business travel industry.

Vickie Corder, CMP, Senior Director, Global Accounts, Helms Briscoe

With over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Vickie brings integrity and ingenuity to the site selection process for her clients. Before joining HelmsBriscoe in 2000, she worked for the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville's Division of Education planning medical conferences nationwide and coordinated the International Visiting Clinician Program. She was also sales manager and co-owner of a leading destination management company on the First Coast of Florida for over four years. She earned her Certified Meeting Professional designation in 2000. Vickie has received the HelmsBriscoe President's Club Award since 2005.

As co-founder of the North Florida Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) in 1995, she served as the Charter President, receiving the Chapter Manager of the Year Award in 1996. Honored with a nomination by the City of Jacksonville, International Development Commission for the International Individual of the Year Award in 1999, Vickie has been volunteering in the international and multi-cultural community since arriving in the city in 1991. She has assisted with the start-up of several non-profit organizations including the Association of Corporate Growth North Florida Chapter, and has served in executive leadership roles on numerous boards taking on responsibilities of membership, fundraising and organizational management. In 2011 She was honored by Collaborate as one of 25 Industry Leaders and she was also recognized by Smart Meetings in the “Top 50 Smart Women of 2017.”   She co-chaired the MPI Global Meetings Industry Day in North Florida for 2016 and 2017 to bring together the many hospitality industry organizations and stakeholders in the region.  She is also passionate about sustainability and is currently involved in the roll-out of the Food Rescue program in Florida, endorsed by the Events Industry Council (EIC) and MPI.

Julie Jacob, CMP, Corporate Event Program Manager, Florida Blue  

Julie obtained a degree in Hospitality Management and a certificate in Event Management from the University of Central Florida and the Rosen College of Hospitality in 2006. Her experience includes over 10 years of Catering and Convention Services Management with the Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Starwood Hotels. During that time she was recognized as a member of the Team of the Year in 2007 and 2011, as well as for outstanding production achievement for 2012-2016. She was promoted to Associate Director of Events for Hyatt in 2015, leading a team that managed 116,000 square feet of event space and a budget of $8 million annually. 

Julie joined Florida Blue as Corporate Events Program Manager in June of 2017, primarily handling sales training events and conferences for the organization. In this role, Julie manages event program strategy, design, development and execution to meet business goals and objectives.

Julie has been a member of the North Florida MPI chapter since 2015 and earned her CMP certification also in 2015.  In her spare time, Julie has used her event planning expertise to support local charity events for The Ronald McDonald House of Jacksonville, and currently volunteers for the St. Johns Riverkeeper.

 Lisa Perry, CMP, President, Meeting Creations

Lisa Perry is president of Meeting Creations, Inc., a full-service event management firm located in Daytona Beach, FL. Lisa is a seasoned meeting and event management professional and has been active in the industry for more than 30 years. Prior to starting her company, she worked in a variety of organizations, including high tech, financial services, and professional associations. Lisa is actively involved in Meeting Professionals International and currently serves as Immediate Past President of the North Florida Chapter, receiving the Chapter of Excellence Award for 2018. As a certified meeting professional, she brings to the table a strong work ethic, extensive knowledge of the meetings industry and a passion for excellence.

Industry Spotlight Speaker

Jay Reilly, Vice President, Sales of Groupize

Jay Reilly is Vice President, Sales of Groupize, the easy to use, end-to-end platform for Simple Corporate Meetings. Jay’s passion and focus has been on the corporate demand side of the hospitality world, identifying clients’ needs and simplifying their lives while torturing his product teams to deliver on his great recommendations that stemmed from his deep understanding of client and market feedback and needs.  With more than two decades of corporate meeting experience, Jay helped push the original SMM snowball up the mountain with companies including StarCite and Lanyon. Closing the SIMPLE meeting gap has been the holy grail quest for Jay for many years and it is truly in his sights with Groupize vision.


Registration fee - Members - $55/ Non-Members - $95






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