With over 20 years in the meeting and event industry, Colleen Connor, CMP has forged a successful career that has included the complete management of both national and international conferences, trade shows and expositions. Ms. Connor’s versatility and strategic leadership has resulted in dynamic event programs in a variety of industries including: luxury lifestyle, financial services, music and entertainment, and sports. Ms. Connor graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA with a degree in Sports and Recreation Management, and later earned the distinction of Certified Meeting Professional from the Event Industry Council.
Beginning her professional career as Director of Trade Show Operations for the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA), Ms. Connor organized and executed all pre-event and on-site operations for a Top 200 Tradeshow and its 14,000 attendees and exhibitors. Her career continued with the San Diego Padres Baseball Club where she served on the ballpark’s opening team and managed operations of the Suites and Club Seating areas for the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Ms. Connor then moved on to become a member of the opening team of the House of Blues in Atlantic City, New Jersey, – the largest House of Blues club venue in the country, as the Foundation Room Sales Manager.
At House of Blues, she planned events for high-end membership clientele and topped yearly revenue goals. Upon returning to Southern California, Ms. Connor joined LPL Financial as Manager of Conference Services and then Assistant Vice President of Conference Services. During this time, she managed domestic and international conferences for 40-5,000 attendees, and developed an expertise in negotiating vendor contracts, hiring and managing speakers and entertainers, and creating and adhering to all budgets. After eight years with LPL Financial, Ms. Connor stepped in as Associate Vice President of Events and Sponsorships at Fast Forward, where she worked with ownership to strengthen business strategy and performance of its more than 40 annual events and conferences in luxury lifestyle, culinary and hospitality industries.
She is currently VP, Head of Conferences for Cetera Financial Group, where she manages a team of conference professionals and leads strategy and curation of the organization’s meetings and conferences. An active participant and leader in the Southern California meeting and event industry, Ms. Connor currently is an active member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and has volunteered as a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Study Group Committee Member, where she helped students prepare them for their CMP exam. In her spare time, Ms. Connor enjoys traveling, spending time at the beach, and indulging in an occasional Italian dinner. She is a passionate music and sports fan, and is at her happiest at a live music venue or cheering on her favorite sports teams.