Conference Speakers

        Duane Parrish, Director SCPRT
       Tuesday, February 12  |  9:45-10:45am
       How to Cancel Your Event & Keep Your Reputation
         Duane Parrish is the Director for the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (SCPRT). Parrish has dedicated
            more than 40 years of his professional career to the hospitality industry, including extensive experience in hotel property
            management and development throughout South Carolina.
            Since his appointment to his current cabinet position by then Governor Nikki R. Haley in January 2011, Parrish has led South Carolina’s tourism industry through continued positive development, resulting in five consecutive years of record-breaking economic growth (2013 – 2017). As Director of SCPRT, Parrish helps to advance the state's tourism economy through domestic and international branding and marketing, sports tourism partnership and destination development, film and television project recruitment, and tourism and recreation project development. Under his leadership and direction, South Carolina State Parks has achieved an unprecedented 96% operational self-sufficiency. Parrish is also responsible for initiating the technology enhancements and reconstruction of the state’s Welcome Center facilities.
Prior to his appointment as Director of SCPRT, Parrish served as President of Premier Hospitality Group, a hotel management and development firm. Parrish has also held several senior management positions within the hotel industry at distinguished organizations including Promus Hotels (now Hilton Hotels), Holiday Inns, and Hampton Inns. Parrish has opened, operated, or renovated 19 hotels, ranging from a 32-room independent inn to a 260-room full-service hotel. His hospitality experience also includes management of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina in Business Administration, Parrish has served as an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College teaching hotel management and hospitality courses. He is a former Chairman and active member of the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. Parrish also serves on the Board of Directors of the US Travel Association and is Vice-Chair of the National Council of State Tourism Directors.

        Ben Fanning, Best Selling Author, The Quiet Alternative
        Tuesday, February 12  |  12:30-1:30pm
        How Leaders Create the Job They Love...Without Quitting

         Tuesday, February 12  |  2:40-3:40pm
         How To Increase Sales by Just Being You

         Ben Fanning is Chief Engagement Officer at and built his consulting and training company to help
organizations develop leaders, boost employee engagement, and reduce the catastrophic cost of turnover. Ben is the #1 bestselling author of the, “The QUIT Alternative┬«: The Blueprint for Creating the Job You Love…Without Quitting”. The book has been distributed in over 39 countries, and received praise from corporate leaders at DHL, The Sports Authority, Kraft, Carefusion, and Universal Hospital Systems. He is a leading columnist at INC. Magazine and has also been featured in Forbes, Yahoo! Business, Business Insider, and Live Your Legend. He has published the “The Leader’s Guide to Employee Engagement – How to Quickly and Effectively Engage Your Team”.
He draws from his unique blend of experience with 20 years in Fortune 1000 organizations (including Honeywell and Russell Corporation) as well as coaching, improvisation, and storytelling. These experiences inform his engaging speaking and training style, which he has shared with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Counterterrorism and companies such as Bridgestone, Dollar General, and Dell. Ben holds a MBA from Georgia Tech and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama. He is a certified coach through the International Coach Federation with an additional coaching certification from Newfield Network.

         Tess Vismale, CMP, DES, iSocialExecution, Inc.
         Tuesday, February 12  |  2:40-3:40pm  

              Tess is passionate about smart technology for hospitality professionals.  She's always on the road educating event  
              professionals on the latest and greatest technologies (40+events annually), as well as practical tech solutions that can make
              their lives easier and more efficient.  She thrives on site management events.  Technology merged with events is her passion.

              Tess is Chief Event Executioner for iSocialExecution, Inc.; Tech Whisperer with DAHLIA+ AGENCY and Speaker.  She is the
              former Senior Event Lead, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Tech Evangelist with The Meeting Pool and Conference Center Manager,
              Atlanta Technical College, where she served on the President's Leadership Team.  Tess is a CMP (Certified Meeting Professional, DES (Digital Event Strategist), stage manager for TEDxPeachtree, and "Meetings Trendsetter 2014" & awarded the GaMPI Shining Star Award.

Tess was featured in the Connect Meeting Intelligence Magazine's article, "How I Work: Tess Vismale on Executing Events." She has presented for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE); Who's Who in Black Atlanta, Connect's Collaborate & Diversity Marketplaces; and PCMA's Convening Leaders Conference, on tech tools and social media for event and fundraising professionals. A native Chicagoan by way of Atlanta, she holds a BA from Spelman College, enjoys social media, creative visionary thinking, tennis & watching mixed martial arts (MMA).   

SC Festival & Event Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.
Post Office Box 42205  |  Charleston, SC 29423  |  843.614.2357

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