Speakers

We search the world for the best and brightest minds in our industry. We are bringing them together at GO WEST 2020 for your to learn from and connect with. Our speaker line up is strategical curated to provide you with the greatest value. All our speakers are committed to immersing themselves in and being prevalent throughout the 3 days. This is your opportunity to engage directly with industry thought-leaders.

Here are our confirmed speakers to date. We will be adding more daily in the coming weeks.

 
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David Merrell, CEO & Creative Director, AOO Events

Since founding AOO Events, Inc. in 1989, David Merrell’s name has become synonymous with cutting-edge event design and production.

David and his team at AOO have been honored by a wide range of professional organizations with more than 25 International awards in a wide range of categories, a testament to the diversity and talent within his company. David himself was named Designer of the Year by Event Solutions Magazine and has taken home the prestigious Crystal Site Award from the Society of Incentive and Travel Executives. David was most recently awarded the Klaus Inkamp Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017 by the International Live Events Association (ILEA) and the 2019 Steve Kemble Leadership Award.

He has served on the ILEA board as president of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter and currently sits on the Advisory Board of Catersource and BizBash.

Continuously leading the market in a forward direction with authoritative momentum, David E. Merrell and AOO Events can respectively be considered a driving force in today’s event industry.

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Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group

Having graduated from Oxford University, UK, in Politics, Philosophy and Economics in 1998, Carina began her career in retail and catering. She entered the meetings industry in 2002 as the Marketing and Operations Director for the IMEX exhibition in Frankfurt. Following the expansion of the IMEX brand into America in 2009, Carina was appointed CEO of the IMEX Group. In this role, Carina is responsible for all aspects of the business. She retains a special focus on strategic partnerships and PR. She is the driving force behind the two largest global meeting exhibitions, IMEX Frankfurt and IMEX America.

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David Adler, CEO and Founder, BizBash

David Adler, a lifelong media executive, is the C.E.O. and founder of BizBash, the leading trade media for the event and meeting industry. He has also been an advisor to the State Department (USA) in areas of protocol and events. Previously, he was vice president of corporate communications for Primedia and Macmillan Publishers. Upon graduating from American University, he founded, operated, and successfully sold a society and political magazine for the nation’s capital (USA) called Washington Dossier.

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Lara Mcculloch

A renowned, results-driven marketing expert with over 20 years as a Brand Consultant for multinationals like Cadbury-Adams, Unilever and Shell, Lara brings ‘Big Brand Thinking’ to small business.

Her consulting firm is focused on building growth, reputation and evangelism for companies around the world. She’s been touted as a pioneering force in the marketing revolution, founding one of the world’s first Twitter communities (#eventprofs). She’s travelled throughout the world as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, changing the way that companies think about their brands. The culmination of Lara’s passion and experience has heralded leadership posts on numerous industry Advisory Boards, a monthly column for an international magazine and recognition with three National Awards for dedication, spirit and leadership as well as the esteem of Industry Innovator. She has graduated from Ivy Business School’s prestigious Executive Program, but it’s the title of Mom that brings her the most pride.

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Alex Plaxen, President and Founder, Little Bird Told Media

Alex Plaxen is President and Founder of Little Bird Told Media, a consulting firm for strategic digital communication and engagement for events. He graduated with a Master’s in Tourism Administration with a focus on event and meeting management from George Washington University. Alex is actively involved in leadership roles in the meetings and events industry, most recently sitting on the MPI Potomac Chapter Board of Directors. He has been recognized as a top social media influencer at conferences such as Hubspot Inbound and Dreamforce. Alex was most recently named to the inaugural BizBash Top 500 People in Events in 2018.

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Brent Barootes, President and CEO, Partnership Group– Sponsorship Specialists®

Brent Barootes is one of Canada’s leading sponsorship experts and very active with his national sponsorship/sport marketing consulting firm. Over the past 25 years he has worked with many Canadian brands, corporations, small and medium businesses as well as municipalities, sport and recreation departments, charities, non profits, professional and amateur sports teams, to develop, audit, enhance, design, and build effective sponsorship marketing programs for them. In addition, his role directly with the charitable sector as a Director of Development, his tenure of a decade in the sport marketing industry with two NHL franchise properties combined with his role on several non-profit Boards and dealing with organizational bankruptcy in an orderly fashion for member associations and societies his expertise is far reaching and well integrated.

Brent is also the author of Canada’s best-selling sponsorship book, Reality Check – Straight Talk about Sponsorship Marketing. He speaks regularly at conferences and conventions as well as a TEDx presenter on “Busting the Work-Life Balance Myth”.

 
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Panos Moutafis, CEO, Zenus

Panos has eight years of experience in face recognition. He received his B.Sc. in Statistics from the Athens University of Economics & Business in Greece, and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Houston. He has a dozen publications in leading journals and conferences along with a book chapter in Face Recognition Across the Imaging Spectrum. His distinctions include the IEEE Homeland Security Conference Biometrics, Forensics, and Physical Security best paper award. He serves on the advisory board at the Lone Star College and enjoys offering talks to schools and universities about startups and careers in science and technology.