Wednesday, March 4, 2020
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

This event is designed to connect the event planning community, share information, and showcase event resources. By the end of this conference we want you to have more connections, information, and tools to create the most successful events possible.

This conference offers 3 general sessions, 3 concurrent sessions, networking opportunities, exhibitors, breakfast, lunch, coffee and snacks.

Our attendees can also enjoy an optional Meet & Greet on Tuesday, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Burger Theory inside the Holiday Inn.

This event is produced by local event planning company Emerge Events in collaboration with our fantastic partners. We are passionate about connecting the event planning community and showcasing information and resources for event planners.


Tickets include 3 general sessions, 3 concurrent sessions, networking opportunities, and exhibitors. Attendees will also enjoy delicious food, including breakfast, lunch, coffee and snacks. And door prizes!

-Regular Tickets – $95
-Full-Time Student Rate – $45


Tuesday, March 3, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. (come & go)
Burger Theory, Holiday Inn

Conference attendees can join us for an informal Meet & Greet on Tuesday evening, 5:30-7 p.m. at Burger Theory inside the Holiday Inn. Enjoy a complimentary beverage and appetizers.


Holiday Inn
6553 US 49, Hattiesburg, MS
Room Rate: $105


8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
Musician, Victoria Beyea, Harpist

Enjoy the beautiful sounds of the harp as you arrive at the conference and enjoy breakfast. Victoria Beyea is a professional wedding and event harpist. She has played the harp since she was six years old, and enjoys sharing her passion for music at events. Victoria’s professionalism, extensive repertoire, and easygoing attitude have been praised by clients for many years. She continues to deliver a high standard of excellence with every event, from small and intimate gatherings to grand events.

 8:30 – 8:45 a.m.
Jennifer Clark, Emerge Events

Jennifer Clark, owner of Emerge Events and founder of the Connect & Emerge Event Planning Conference, is excited to welcome you to this conference! We are passionate about connecting the event planning community, sharing information, and showcasing event resources.

Paige Hunt, Visit Hattiesburg

Paige Hunt is the Director of Sales & Visitor Services at Visit Hattiesburg. VisitHattiesburg’s mission is to actively position Hattiesburg as a year-round premier leisure and business destination in the Gulf South.

8:45 – 9:45 a.m.

I Need to Plan an Event, Now What?
Meeting Professionals International – Gulf States Chapter

We will hear from three of the most experienced event planners in New Orleans through a panel style program. This is your chance to learn some best practices from the leaders of Meeting Professionals International, Gulf States Chapter. Each speaker will bring a different perspective- from BBC Destination Management Company, Event Planning & Consulting KMD Designs, and Catering at Windsor Court. This will be a moderated event so questions are encouraged- come prepared!

9:45 – 10:00 a.m.

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
BREAKOUT SESSION 1 (choose one)

I Need to Plan an Event, Now What? PART 2
Meeting Professionals International, Gulf States Chapter

Your chance to delve deeper into the topics mentioned in the opening session. Get up-close-and-personal with three of the most experienced event planners in New Orleans through a continuation of this panel style program.

How to Speak Photography
Kelly Dunn, The University of Southern Mississippi Photo Services

Learn tips for working with photographers to achieve the best outcome for your events. Also learn photography tips when shooting your own images using smartphones and other camera systems.

11:00 – 11:15 a.m.

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
BREAKOUT SESSION 2 (choose one)

Engaging the “Platinum Rule”: A Motivation Conversation
Michele Baker, CVA, Baker & Associates

You already know the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” But an even better rule is Platinum: “Do unto others as they would *like* to be done unto”! Bad grammar aside, proper motivation is critical to every job’s success. Using The Motivation Chart, discover what resonates and motivates an employee (or volunteer, or donor, or team member) to complete every task with enthusiasm and care!

Promoted Events and the Mississippi Department of Revenue
Kesha Smith, Mississippi Department of Revenue

Learn about the laws, rules, and regulations concerning Promoted Events in Mississippi. Information will be provided regarding the promoter’s responsibilities as well as laws concerning temporary beer and liquor permits.


12:15 – 12:30 p.m.
The Southern BelleTones, a capella ensemble

The Southern BelleTones is a female a cappella ensemble from The University of Southern Mississippi. Women who form this ensemble come from various campus disciplines and vary in age from freshman to graduate students. Their repertoire is designed to be entertaining and mobile. Performances include campus and community concerts, recruitment tours, activities, and private functions and parties.

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
The University as a Venue
Tiffany Hammond and Lydia Coffey Pierce, Conference and Event Services at The University of Southern Mississippi

Restaurants, hotels, meeting space, outdoor areas, fitness center? Where can you find a plethora of venues for different events? A University! Illustrious scenic landscapes, sophisticated corporate meeting space, stunning ballrooms and world-class catering truly enhance the Southern charm of our prestigious campus. Southern Miss Conference and Event Services can transform any event into a memorable success! Get a behind-the-scenes look at how conferences and events work on a university campus, as well as get tips on how to partner with local universities and ask questions.

1:30 – 1:45 p.m.

1:45 – 2:45 p.m.
BREAKOUT SESSION 3 (choose one)

Art At Your Event
Vixon Sullivan, Vixon Sullivan Art

Art At Your Event will outline the importance of adding art to and event. We will outline the mutual benefits between, artists, event coordinators, and attendees. Next, we will explore the possibility of adding artists to sell, entertain, teach, and facilitate interactive demonstrations. We aim to make this presentation more fruitful by answering questions about booking and working with artists. Lastly, we hope to engage with the audience by asking them to share their ideas about the topic.

Making Magic with Your Message
Lici Beveridge, Hattiesburg American

Sharpen your communications skills by learning to improve your message one word at a time. Once you’ve perfected your message by making it magical, memorable and meaningful, find out now to get it in front of your audience through a variety of pathways.

2:45 – 3:00 p.m.
Jim Reyelt, Classical Guitar

Jim Reyelt is an award-winning classical guitarist and full-time graduate teaching assistant at the University of Southern Mississippi. He completed both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in classical guitar performance at Florida Atlantic University, studying with Dr. Ken Keaton. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in classical guitar performance at the University of Southern Mississippi under the instruction of Dr. Nicholas Ciraldo. He currently teaches guitar lessons out of his home and via Skype in Hattiesburg.

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Purpose Driven Events 

Jennifer L. Prather, Mississippi Main Street Association

Whatever the purpose, special events serve as a crucial component of community and social development within organizations and cities. Whether it may be shining a light on your local assets, strategic fundraising, tourism promotion or to serve as an economic generator, all events serve a purpose and defining that mission can be the key to ultimate success in event planning. We will talk about WHY we do events and how the WHY always impacts the experience.

4:00 p.m.


Do you have products or services for event planners? Do you want to support an event that provides professional development to event planners and aims to connect and strengthen the overall event planning scene?

If so, please consider sponsoring or exhibiting at the Connect & Emerge Conference!





Emerge Events


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