. Women in Leadership Meetings + Incentives | Northstar Meetings Group

Women in Leadership Meetings + Incentives

A Conference for Women, by Women


Hosted by Northstar Meetings Group, WILMI (Women In Leadership Meetings + Incentives) is an exclusive conference for executive-level women in the industry – by women, for women. At WILMI, leading female meetings and incentives buyers and suppliers will join together to network, engage in dialogue on present and future challenges and opportunities, and plan and do business together. WILMI 2020 will be held in the nation's capital Washington, D.C.

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  • Nearly 65% of the workforce in hospitality overall in the United States are women
  • Over 77% of meeting planners are women
  • Over 72% of travel agents are women
  • Women make over 70% of all travel-buying decisions



Learn from, and be inspired by the leading women in the meetings and events industry.



Connect during the one-on-one business appointments and unique experiential activities.



Network during the unique experiential planned activities showcasing the nation's capital Washington, D.C.

Beth Surmont

Beth Surmont

As an event planner for more than 19 years, it is Beth’s job to be a project manager, experience designer, content curator, storyteller, motivator, leader, behind-the-scenes cheerleader, logistics director, contract negotiator, researcher, trend analyzer, innovator, visionary, partner, builder, thinker, problem-solver, entrepreneur, and customer service specialist, sometimes all within the space of a single day. She has been a Certified Meeting Planner since 2008, a Certified Association Executive since 2016, and served as chair of the ASAE Meeting & Exposition Council from 2016 to 2018. In 2019 Beth writes a blog full of event planning tips called Otter Talk. And she currently lives in New Jersey with her wife, stepchildren, and two dogs.

Elise Keith

Elise Keith

J. Elise Keith is the founder and CEO of Lucid Meetings, the author of Where the Action Is: The Meetings That Make or Break Your Organization, and regular contributor for Inc. and other publications. Lucid Meetings conducts original research into effective meeting practice and provides meeting culture diagnostics, meeting education, software and resources that help thousands of organizations worldwide implement a system of successful meetings.

Deirdre Van Nest

Deirdre Van Nest

Deirdre Van Nest is the go-to expert on the topic of speaking to groups. She is the creator of the "Crazy Good Talks Blueprint," a system that teaches financial advisors, leaders and sales pros how to bring in business faster and impact more lives through the power of speaking. Deirdre is an international speaker and trainer, the host of Crazy Good Talks TV, a certified speaking coach, a contributing author of the Amazon bestseller World Class Speaking in Action and author of Fire Your Fear.


Wednesday, March 18

All Day
2:00pm – 5:00pm
Registration - Willard
5:00pm 6:00pm
Willard Tour (Planners Only)
6:00pm 8:00pm
Welcome Reception

Sponsored by Willard InterContinental

Thursday, March 19

7:45am 8:30am

Sponsored by Convene

8:30am – 9:30am

Who Has Time for Innovation? Instructions for Time-Strapped Meeting Professionals 
Presented by Beth Surmont

Everyone talks about innovation like it’s a skill to acquire, but in reality, it’s a daily practice of many small things that enhance your creativity and spur ideas. In this session, Beth Surmont, Director of Experience Design for 360 Live Media, offers ways to give yourself brain space to reveal your most creative thinking — and foster a culture that celebrates innovation within your team.
Learning outcomes:

  • Learn how to kick-start your innovative thinking
  • Explore ways to find new strategic potential in your events
  • Hear tips and tricks for building innovation into your daily schedule
  • Discover three simple formats to accelerate innovation at your next meeting


9:45am – 10:45am
One-on-One Appointments
10:45pm – 11:00am
11:00pm – 12:00pm
One-on-One Appointments
12:00pm – 12:30pm
12:30pm – 1:30pm

How to Stand Out and Own the Room Every Time You Speak
Presented by Deirdre Van Nest, sponsored by Goodman Speakers

As a female professional, do you need to work harder to command attention when you speak? Let’s fix that! Whether it’s for 1 minute or 1 hour, others will judge your competency based on your speaking skills. In this dynamic session, WILMI participants will learn to own the room every time they speak, whether in face to face negotiations, client-facing discussions or on stage under a spotlight. 

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand how your mindset affects your effectiveness as a speaker
  • Develop a new skillset for dynamic speaking 
  • Learn to immediately capture the attention of any audience
  • Discover — and avoid — the mistake almost every presenter makes
  • Learn to make a strong impression and an emotional connection in everyday conversations
1:45pm – 3:30pm
One-on-One Appointments
2:30pm – 2:45pm
3:30pm – 5:00pm
Happy Hour
Dinner on your own

Friday, March 20

7:45am 8:30am
8:30am 9:30am

How Women Leaders Use Science to Design Powerful Business Meetings
Presented by Elise Keith, Founder and CEO, Lucid Meetings

There's no shortage of advice about meetings out there, but what really matters? In this interactive session, you'll learn:

  • What science reveals about business meetings (of any size), and how leading women researchers like Brené Brown use these insights in their team meetings
  • Simple systems used by top leaders to keep meetings productive and drive effective decision making
  • How high-performing teams make their everyday meetings a source of meaning and pride
9:45am 10:45am
One-on-One Appointments
10:45am 11:00am
One-on-One Appointments
12:00pm 1:00pm
Lunch & Closing


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At Northstar Meetings Group we are committed to supporting our communities — not only where we live, but also wherever our business takes us. It is for that reason WILMI is teaming with BRICK X BRICK Studio, an art-for-charity organization in Washington, D.C., that integrates art and kindness. Founder Rachel Edelstein, an architectural designer and talented painter, decided to create watercolors of local houses, buildings and monuments, to be sold in limited-edition prints, with 100% of the proceeds going to Calvary Women’s Services. Calvary empowers homeless women in Washington, D.C. to transform their lives through housing, health, education and employment programs. Cavalry is founded on the belief that every woman has the innate strengths and gifts to be successful if given the opportunity. BRICK X BRICK helps fund that opportunity.

Rachel will be available at WILMI to talk about using your interests and passions to add more goodness into the world. She will also bring prints from her new collection depicting the Capital District’s iconic monuments, as well as her first collection of DC’s historic row houses. Her prints will be available for purchase during WILMI registration on March 18. Again, every dollar of profit will be given to  Calvary Women’s Services. Allison Kraemer, Calvary’s Development Manager, will also be joining us to share details of their extraordinary successes. This partnership is about the big picture. It’s a labor of love. It’s about women empowering women to believe in themselves.



Those who are selected to attend will participate in:

  • Two days of networking with leading female meetings and incentive suppliers
  • Unique experiential networking activities showcasing Washington, D.C.
  • Motivating and insightful educational sessions from leading industry women experts

To learn more, please contact Cindy Binder at [email protected].


Individual Package


  • Beautifully furnished display table for pre-scheduled one-on-one appointments
  • Experiential networking activities, off-site functions and meals
  • All supplier expenses covered (excluding airfare & hotel) 


Enterprise Package


  • Beautifully furnished display table for pre-scheduled one-on-one appointments
  • Experiential networking activities, off-site functions and meals
  • Full-page print ad
  • All supplier expenses covered (excluding airfare & hotel) 



Exhibitor Package Rates & Premium Sponsorship Opportunities

For exhibitor package rates and premium sponsorship opportunities, please contact your business development director or: Angie Kimmel at [email protected].

Request Info Destination WILMI



2020 Exhibitors

  • Aruba Convention Bureau
  • AM Resorts
  • British Virgin Islands Tourist Board
  • Caribe Hilton
  • Casa de Campo
  • Cashel Travel
  • Chattanooga Tourism Co.
  • Colombia
  • Convene
  • Discover Newport, Rhode Island
  • Dominican Republic
  • Goodman Speakers, Inc.
  • Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun
  • MC&A
  • Melia
  • Mexico Planners
  • PRA Washington, D.C.
  • Resorts World NYC & Catskills
  • Shepard Exposition Services
  • Silversea Cruises
  • Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater
  • Visit Raleigh
  • Willard InterContinental
  • Windstar Cruises

Click below to see the 2019 list

Loews Logo

Willard InterContinental
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

Buyers: We will make your reservations for you.

Suppliers: You will receive information as the event approaches to book your accommodations.

convene logo -  2

600 14th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

Advisory Notice Regarding Outside Solicitations

Please be advised that numerous companies have been emailing and calling our attendees attempting to book them into hotels for Northstar events.

Here are the companies and their representatives that we have been made aware of:

  • CBS International
  • Corporate Booking Services
  • EHRS
  • Exhibition Housing Services
  • Global Housing Corporation
  • World Wide Travel

Be advised that these companies and individuals have no relationship with our events. Our attendees are encouraged to disregard any communication received from these companies or any others that are not affiliated with Northstar Meetings Group.


"Thank you for all of your hard work that went into making the Women in Leadership weekend a huge success! I had a wonderful time and feel it was well worth the investment."

- Amanda Lewin, Bellagio Las Vegas

"It was a privilege to spend a forty-eight hour journey with you. It was a pure joy to reconnect with past life friends and connect with new during our time together. "

- Dorothea Calabrese, Maritz Travel

"Thank you for a brilliant program! Your careful attention to all the details, your welcoming attitude and the amazing speakers and the ability to network with women exceeded my expectations. The speakers were inspiring; I think we all left with a desire to get off our own X and create groups and workplace environments that encourage inclusivity through inspiire creativity!"

- Lisa Fredette, RTTI




Buyers Contact:

Cindy Binder

Director of Buyer Development

[email protected]

Suppliers Contact:

Angie Kimmel

Senior Director of Global Event Sales 636-273-5816

[email protected]

Event Logistics Contact:

Heather Griffin

Event Director

[email protected]