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Meet the 2022 Speakers

Gabrielle Boko
Senior Vice President, Portfolio Marketing

Gabrielle Boko has spent over 22 years in the technology industry and led transformations in senior marketing roles for companies including Cognos, SAP, Sage and HPE. Her experience has focused on connecting customer success to innovative experiences in software applications and cloud services, digital marketing and websites, customer storytelling, product UX and events.

Born and raised in Alaska, Gabrielle is an avid outdoors person, wildlife photographer and advocate for protecting our natural resources and rural communities.

Cathy Breden, CMP-F, CAE, CEM
Chief Executive Officer
Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)

Cathy Breden, CMP-F, CAE, CEM is the CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). In her role at CEIR, Breden provides strategic direction and manages the day-to-day activities and business operations of CEIR. CEIR houses an online library of primary, exhibition-related research studies to help exhibition stakeholders with evolving norms, shifting marketing trends and other issues that can have an impact on the channel itself or how to use if effectively in light of trends. Reports include digital/technology, attendee/exhibitor engagement, attendee acquisition and retention, generational workforce shifts, economic performance and impact, and exhibitor studies evaluating motivations for use of the exhibition marketing channel. She has been working with CEIR since 2006.

Cathy also serves in the capacity of Executive Vice President/COO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE), a trade association representing the exhibitions and events industry. She began her association management career in 1984. She is the 2022 Chairperson of the Events Industry Council Board of Directors. She earned the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 1990, the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 1995, the Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designation in 2019 and was recognized as a CMP Fellow in 2022.

Dane Chamorro
Head of Global Risk Analysis and Business Intelligence, Americas
Partner at Control Risks

Specializing in political/regulatory risk and business intelligence, Dane Chamorro regularly advises strategic and portfolio investors and private equity firms on political and partner risks, corporate governance and high-profile business disputes globally.

A former U.S. diplomat with over 30 years’ professional experience in the Asia Pacific region, Dane previously served as the Markets and Partnerships lead for Control Risks in Asia Pacific, as well as Managing Partner for the Southeast Asia business. Prior to this he acted as Director of Global Risk Analysis for the Asia Pacific region and Managing Director of the company’s North Asia business, encompassing Greater China, Korea and Mongolia.

An expert on China and Asian politics, governance, and investment, Dane is regularly featured in the media and at international conferences. Before joining Control Risks, Dane worked as a government integrity programs manager for Swiss group SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance), developing fiscal governance programs for sovereign clients in South and South-East Asia. Dane also worked as a consultant for the Hong Kong office of Chicago’s Technomic Consultants, Thailand’s Manager Media Group, and advised on government relations for the world’s largest nuclear fuel trading firm.

Dane has a degree in international finance from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and completed graduate research on comparative Asian political-economy and security issues at the University of California. He is an honors graduate of the U.S. Army Intelligence School, speaks Mandarin Chinese and is a Certified Fraud Examiner and licensed investigator in Singapore. Dane is also a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Bob Costello, Chief Economist & SVP, International Trade Policy & Cross-Border Operations American Trucking Associations

Bob Costello is the Chief Economist & Senior Vice President of International Trade Policy and Cross-Border Operations for the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the national trade association for the trucking industry. As Chief Economist, he manages all of ATA’s collection, analysis and dissemination of trucking economic information. This includes several monthly trucking economic indicators, motor carrier financial and operating data, an annual freight transportation forecast, driver wage studies, weekly diesel fuel price and economic reports, and a yearly trucking almanac. Bob also conducts economic analyses of proposed regulations and legislation affecting the trucking industry.

Shawn DuBravac, Ph.D., CFA
Futurist, Professor, Economist and Trendcaster

Dr. Shawn DuBravac is author of the New York Times Best Seller Digital Destiny: How the New Age of Data Will Transform the Way We Work, Live, and Communicate (Regnery, 2015), which explores how the world’s mass adoption of digital technologies portends the beginning of a new era for humanity in the realms of business, healthcare, finance, transportation and culture.

DuBravac is a well-regarded futurist and trendcaster who writes frequently on disruptive technological shifts. He advises companies and C-level executives on market opportunities and industry strategy. He is president and founder of Avrio Institute which provides consulting, research and advisory services to CxOs on a myriad of topics including digital transformation strategies, business model disruptions, the pace of technological change and overcoming myopic thinking. For over a dozen years DuBravac served as chief economist for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer tech companies and owner and producer of CES.

DuBravac has been widely published on the topics of technology, finance and economics. His keen insights regarding the economic drivers of the global tech industry and future trends have made him a highly sought-after keynote speaker and commentator. DuBravac travels both internationally and domestically to meet with tech industry leaders and present on technology trends and the economy. In addition, his analysis has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, Washington Post, Wired, Los Angeles Times, Barron’s and on-air with CNBC, Bloomberg, CBS and other media outlets.

DuBravac shares his many insights and ideas at and on Twitter at @shawndubravac.

Steven G. Foster, CMP
Managing Partner
Foster+Fathom Full-Throttle Leadership

Steven G. Foster, CMP, is Managing Partner of Foster+Fathom, a Leadership and Goodness Development Group in Dallas, TX. An award-winning speaker, author, meeting facilitator and business consultant, and Steven is “One Man on One Motorcycle on One Mission” – to help organizations and individuals “Build their Tribe and Fuel their Ride” with Passion, Power and Purpose.

That’s not surprising, considering he is a Harley-Davidson LIFE member who embarked on a 13,000-Mile, 32-Day, 34-State solo motorcycle ride around the perimeter of the United States in 2013 to support the Boot Campaign, a national veteran’s organization where he serves as an Ambassador and Advisory Board Member. That journey is chronicled in his book, “Full-Throttle Leadership: Passion, Power & Purpose on the Edge of America.” (Fulton Books)

A passionate advocate for service in the communities where we live, work, and meet; Steven collaborates with organizations and individuals to build high-performance teams; and along the way has been named one of the most influential people in the Meetings and Events.

He also has a “Full-Throttle” resume; receiving more than 15 top industry awards, including induction into the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Community of Honorees. In 2000, Steven and Wendy Foster became the first husband/wife business team to earn the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation; and both have been profiled by CNN/Fortune as a Small Business Success.

Steven is a Past-Chair of the Travel, Exposition and Meeting Management Advisory Board at Richland College in Dallas, TX. He has served on the Board of Directors for both the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Hotel Association of Tarrant County, and in 2011, he was appointed Vice-Chair of the Volunteer Services Action Team for the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee.

Carrie Freeman Parsons
Chair of the Board

Carrie Freeman Parsons grew up in the business, and as the third generation of Freeman leaders (her grandfather is founder Buck Freeman; her father is Chair Emeritus Don Freeman), Carrie employs forward-thinking strategies that maintain the company’s reputation as an industry innovator while staying true to its core values.

Carrie has been frequently recognized by her peers and the industry at large for her outstanding contributions and achievements. She is involved with numerous organizations and nonprofits — one passion is her involvement with Girls Inc. — and begins and ends each day fulfilling Freeman’s obligation to positively affect employees, stakeholders, and the community. She’s unwilling to claim success based solely on the bottom line; instead, Carrie is dedicated to leading a socially responsible organization. Just as she pushes the boundaries on what it means to create an amazing brand experiences, she simultaneously provides future generations with the skills needed to make the world a better place.

Joey Graziano, J.D.
Senior Vice President of Business Operations and Strategy
National Basketball Association Global Events

Joey Graziano leads strategic planning, business development, data analytics and process improvement for the NBA’s marquee global events including the NBA All-Star Game, NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV, NBA Draft, NBA Draft Lottery, MGM Resorts NBA Summer League, Jr. NBA Global Championship, international preseason and regular-season games, and affiliate league events with USA Basketball, WNBA, and the NBA 2K League.

Prior to joining the NBA, Joey was the Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel of The Headfirst Companies – growing a 15-employee startup into an industry leading immersive live event company with more than 1,500 employees operating in 20 states and four countries.  At scale, Headfirst operated events for one-third of Major League Baseball teams, as well as the English Premier League, Barcelona Soccer, and 150 colleges and universities.

Joey was previously an associate with the international law firm Jones Day, where his practice focused on complex civil and criminal litigation. A Mitchell Scholar, Joey received an LLM in Public Law from the National University of Ireland, Galway and worked at the Office of Evaluation and Suspension within the World Bank, focusing on bribery and corruption investigations surrounding World Bank grants. Joey is an ardent supporter of veterans and has founded the Academy for Veterans and served as a law clerk with the National Veterans Legal Services Program to ensure governments honor their commitments to veterans. He also helped start a nonprofit in the Dominican Republic that uses baseball to encourage literacy for the children of a barrio in Consuelo.  Joey received his B.A. and J.D. from Georgetown University summa cum laude where he played for the baseball team.

Vinnie Polito
Managing Director
mdg, A Freeman Company

Vinnie Polito spent the first part of his career as an event producer and event organizer and has successfully taken tradeshow brands around the world. He’s had two international postings and launched events on five continents. Although he still thinks like an event producer, he has been with mdg, the industry’s largest full-service marketing and strategy agency since 2011 as an owner, managing director and now as president. He is a past chair of IAEE, the leading organization in the trade show and events industry and a recipient of that organization’s highest honor, the Pinnacle Award.

Sam Potolicchio, Ph.D.
Preparing Global Leaders Forum (PGLF)

Dr. Sam Potolicchio was named one of “America’s Best Professors” by the Princeton Review, the Future Leader of American Higher Education by the Association of Colleges and Universities, and winner of the OZY Educator Award as one of the six outstanding American educators. He was also profiled in a cover story on his leadership curriculum by Newsweek Japan as the “Best Professor in America.”

Sam is President of the Preparing Global Leaders Forum and Distinguished University Professor, Department Chairman and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Political Science at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. He is a visiting lecturer at the University of Bologna (Italy). He is a columnist for Newsweek Japan, a Distinguished Global Scholar at the Canterbury School of Fort Myers, and a lecturer on Leadership at the Library of Congress for OWLC, an international leadership program of the United States Congress. Sam is an adviser to prominent business, non-profit and government leaders. He created and designed the first undergraduate degree in Global Governance and Leadership in English in the Russian Federation where he serves as Academic Director.

From 2015-2019, Sam served as the Director of Global and Custom Education at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, has been a visiting professor at New York University, and joined Senator Richard Lugar as tag team senior lecturers at UIndy’s Semester in Washington. Sam has delivered lectures in over 85 countries, from Oxford, LSE, Cambridge and Yale to Iraq’s Komar University and Donetsk State University. As a middle-school basketball coach he led his Little Hoyas to 6 league titles and previously served as a 5th grade Latin teacher, public high school teacher of Law and History and secondary school admissions officer.

Sam received his B.A. Government from Georgetown, B.A. Psychology, Georgetown, M.T.S. Theology and Culture from Harvard, PRSE, Harvard, MA, Government, Georgetown and PhD, Government, Georgetown.

Hervé Sedky
Chief Executive Officer

Hervé Sedky joined Emerald in January 2021 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Hervé is a results-oriented leader who develops, grows and transforms global businesses while driving profits. Prior to joining Emerald, Hervé spent six years as President of the Americas for events giant, Reed Exhibitions (RX), leading more than 100 sector-leading exhibitions and events in North and South America each year, as well as the company’s global quirky pop culture & lifestyle focused offshoot, ReedPop. Before his time at RX, Hervé spent over 20 years at the American Express Company, ultimately serving as Senior Vice President and General Manager of American Express Global Business Travel, as well as on American Express’ senior management team.

His business profile is complemented by a profound commitment to community development and the nonprofit sector. Hervé serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Children’s Health Fund, is on the board of the French Cultural Center/Alliance Française and is an active member of his community.

Hervé earned a B.S. in International Business Administration from Northeastern University and is a graduate of the Executive Management Program (PMD) at Harvard Business School.

Yvette Simpson, Esq., MBA
Founder & CEO
Yvette Simpson, LLC

Yvette Simpson is the Founder & CEO of Yvette Simpson LLC, Your Power Unlocked, a strategic consulting firm focused on executive strategy, politics, policy, and program development. Yvette is also a Political Contributor with ABC News and a panelist for NPR. She is also a licensed lawyer, who serves as Counsel for Ulmer & Berne, LLP.  She served six years on Cincinnati City Council, including four years as President Pro Tempore.

Yvette earned two undergraduate degrees at Miami University, a law degree from The University of Cincinnati, and her MBA from Xavier University.

Active in her local community, Yvette has served on several boards and commissions.  Yvette was named YWCA Career Woman of Achievement, A Top 100 Influencer by the American City Business Journals, a Woman of Influence by Venue Magazine, A Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, and a Woman Who Means Business by the Cincinnati Business Courier.

Yvette is a proud Cincinnatian, a home vintner and proprietor of Vette’s Vineyards, the wife of cartoonist and home brewer Joe Hoffecker, and the bonus mom to three amazing adult daughters: Katie, Maggie, and Annie.

Megan Tanel, CEM
Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)

Megan Tanel joined AEM in the mid-‘90s as an intern, becoming a full-time employee later the same year. She quickly grew in leadership to her most recent position of Senior Vice President, Construction & Utility Sector. For many years Tanel led AEM’s exhibitions and events initiatives and helped launch World of Asphalt in 2001, served as Show Director for The Utility Expo (formerly ICUEE) and CONEXPO-CON/AGG, North America’s largest construction trade show. Through her leadership, she and the team she developed, grew AEM trade show revenue by 80 percent over 12 years, worked internationally to establish strategic relationships with our global partners in support of AEM services, and led the effort to extend key contracts for AEM shows, most notably CONEXPO-CON/AGG.

Tanel assumed the role of President of AEM on January 1, 2022. As president, Tanel sets the strategic direction and operation of all AEM programs, focusing on core service areas of market information, public policy advocacy, and exhibitions.

Tanel currently serves as a member of the Milwaukee Women’s Leadership Group. She previously served as Chair and Education Committee Chair, of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) in 2015, and served on customer advisory boards for the cities of Las Vegas, Louisville, Ky., and Orlando, Fl.
The IAEE recognized Tanel with both their Woman of Achievement Awards and Distinguished Service Award in 2017.
Tanel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, PR, Speech, and German from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and a Certificate in Exhibition Management from IAEE. Tanel enjoys spending time with her husband, four daughters, and two dogs, a St. Bernard and an English Bulldog.

Tricia Wang, Ph.D.
Sudden Compass and CRADL

Tricia Wang is a tech ethnographer obsessed with designing equity into systems. Part data geek, part designer, and part community organizer, her belief that technology must serve humanity is the thread across her work from the public to the private sector. She is the co-founder of Sudden Compass, a consulting firm working with Fortune 500 companies and tech startups from Spotify to P&G and Google. She co-founded CRADL, Crypto Research and Design Lab based out of The World Economic Forum with leading protocols and players.

Tricia’s tech career started with selling some of the first texting and mobile phones services to researching the rise of social networks in Web 2.0 and to now advocating for Web 3.0 to deliver social impact through crypto and blockchain-enabled technologies. Her focus on tech has always been in adoption amongst marginalized communities from the U.S. to China to South America.

Tricia began her career as a documentary filmmaker at NASA’s Earthkam, a program started by Sally Ride to give students opportunities to interface with the International Space Station. She transitioned into social justice work in NYC by running The Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s Youth Channel, the world’s first television station for youth-produced media. She went on to do HIV/AIDS organizing in AAPI communities. She is also proud to have co-founded, H2Ed, the first national hip-hop education initiative in collaboration with Bronx Museum of Arts, Queens Museum of Arts, and The Schomburg Center; eventually turning into the Hip Hop Education Center at New York University. Tricia went on to conduct her doctoral work as a sociologist researching the emergence of mobile phones, social media, and Chinese Internet culture.

Tricia advises start-ups and nonprofits that are working at the intersection of community and technology. She is an advisor to Decentral Labs at the University of Lisbon and several crypto and blockchain startups. She is a fellow at Geo Tech Atlantic Council, an affiliate at Data & Society, and has served as a member of the World Economic Forum Global Futures Data Council. She was also a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, a Fulbright Fellow and National Science Foundation Fellow.

Tricia optimizes her life to be spent dancing, eating, hanging with her dog Elle, and her grandma. She holds Perú, Oaxaca, and Malmö close to her heart. Tricia’s life philosophy is that you have to go to the edge to discover the center. Follow her on Twitter or instagram @triciawang.