WILMI 2021: A Photo Journey

The women’s leadership event from Northstar celebrated in-person collaboration in Miami.

The 78 female professionals at Northstar’s annual WILMI event (Women in Leadership, Meetings + Incentives) were thrilled to gather in person at the EPIC Kimpton Hotel Miami last week. While still observing health-safety protocols, hosted buyers and suppliers gathered to network, meet, play, dine and enjoy downtown Miami.

The event was supported by a number of generous sponsors: the Kimpton EPIC Hotel Miami, American Airlines, Club Med, Goodman Speakers, Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel, Lady Biscayne Yacht and the Greater Miami CVB. In addition, SafeAccess securely managed participants’ health credentials, and Volan Technology provided contact-tracing technology.

Northstar Meetings Group will hold a full slate of in-person events this year. Planners and suppliers can register their interest in attending upcoming meetings at any time.

We invite you to view, download and share photos from the WILMI Photo Gallery, with credit to photographer Ketara Gadahn/Studio Alani. (Please tag @studioalaniphoto on Instagram or Facebook, and Ketara Gadahn on LinkedIn.)

Following are highlights from WILMI 2021.


Welcome to WILMI


Our host property, the EPIC Kimpton Hotel Miami, provided a chic base camp in downtown, right on the waterway.


The group received a warm welcome and a property tour with Eric Jellson, director of marketing and strategy for Kimpton Hotels Florida & Cayman Island.


Many of our group meals, including WILMI’s opening reception (pictured), were enjoyed poolside at the EPIC.


Instagram-worthy backdrops, both natural and hand-crafted, created a buzz on social media. (Pictured, Loren Edelstein, vice president and content director, Northstar Meetings Group)

Day One


Each day started with a temperature check, and a colored dot on name badges indicated that you were “cool” enough to participate.


Buffet-style breakfasts on the EPIC pool deck were served by masked and gloved catering staff.


Morning speaker Alexa Carlin, founder of Women Empower X, brought her high-power entrepreneurial spirit to the stage, and emphasized how getting personal sets you apart from your competition in business. (See related article.)


Distanced seating and masks did not put a damper on one-on-one meetings between buyers and suppliers.


We enjoyed a leisurely lunch aboard the Biscayne Lady, courtesy of Biscayne Lady Yacht Charters.


The scenic backdrop to our lunch: courtesy of downtown Miami and perfect weather.


The Kimpton Surfcomber welcomed WILMI participants for a plated dinner on the sand.


Planner Sarah Buchbinder gratefully accepts the Kimpton Surfcomber’s signature beverage, artfully served in a coconut shell.

Day Two


It was an honor to welcome Olympic Gold Medalist and World Cup Soccer champion Briana Scurry as our morning keynote, provided by Goodman Speakers. After sharing her personal journey, which completely captivated and inspired attendees, the legendary goalkeeper answered questions from Northstar’s Loren Edelstein (pictured) and WILMI attendees.


Keynote Briana Scurry passed her two Olympic Gold Medalist through the audience. (They’re heavier than you might realize!) Here, Rhonda Brewer, vice president of sales for Motivation Excellence, eyes the coveted prize.


Volan Technology, which sponsored geo-tracking technology for WILMI, saw a high-level of interest from planners, noted Shannon McCallum (center), Volan’s vice president, hospitality.


Unable to travel from the U.K. due to Covid restrictions, Tatiana De Los Reyes, director of global sales for Cashel Travel, met with planners virtually.


Planner Cindy Dodson, CMP, SGMP, president of Meeting Services Inc., waves a distanced goodbye after our closing lunch, provided by the EPIC.


Northstar colleagues celebrate another successful event. Pictured (left to right): Rita Bergman, manager, events and trade shows: Claudia Davila, business development director; Angela Cox, senior director, meetings and events; Cindy Binder, director of buyer development; and Shalise DeMott, vice present of sales, Northstar Meetings Group.