FastFive – September 2017
Cheryl Smith, HMCC
Specialty Markets Manager
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

1. What story in our industry impacted you the most in 2016 and why?
The upcoming expansion of convention and meetings spaces, and the growth of wellness in meetings locally was and continues to be the big story that caught my attention in 2016 and so far in 2017. Last year the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority secured funding for the Las Vegas Convention Center District expansion and renovation project with the passage of Senate Bill 1 by the Nevada legislature. That project will allow us to grow the current 3.2 million-square-foot Las Vegas Convention Center by approximately 1.4 million square feet, including 600,000 square feet of new exhibit space.

In 2016 and into this year, a variety of other properties, including Aria, MGM Grand, Flamingo Las Vegas, and more have either announced, begun, or completed expansion and renovation projects in their meetings spaces. Additionally, MGM Grand’s Stay Well Meetings have been so successful that the upcoming convention center’s expansion will include growth of the program, and other hotels are also launching wellness-inspired meetings programing, including Mandarin Oriental, which introduced its Mindful Meetings program this spring. Seeing our local community invest billions into the local convention and meetings industry is a great indicator of the success, and importance, of meetings and meeting planners.

2. What advice would you give your younger self?
  1. Early is on time. On time is late.
  2. It’s not important to be liked but it is important to be respected. Stand by your principles – always.
  3. Take risks and never be afraid to learn.
  4. Never make the same mistake twice.
3. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Spa days, cheesecake and hotel rooms with ocean views.

4. What does your current “just get it done” playlist look like?
Anything by Heart, Queen, Journey or Chicago.

5. What’s your favorite city and why?
Las Vegas, of course! What happens here, stays here.

About Cheryl
Cheryl Smith is the Specialty Markets Manager for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). Through a variety of global business sales strategies, industry relations activities and strategic opportunities, Smith is responsible for marketing and promoting Las Vegas as a premier international health and wellness travel, cultural tourism and wedding and romance travel destination. She also oversees World Trade Center Las Vegas sales for the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Prior to joining the LVCVA in 2012, Smith was the president and managing partner of Banyan Communications Group, LLC, a Las Vegas-based niche consulting firm specializing in health care, physician practice marketing, and strategic business development. Her 20-year background in the health care industry includes roles as the director of marketing and the system-wide media spokeswoman for HCA Sunrise Health System and the director of public relations and marketing for Good Shepherd Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital and Advocate Health Care, near Chicago. Cheryl has marketed numerous medical specialties including neuroscience, neurosurgery, neurology, orthopedic, cardiovascular, oncology, emergency and trauma, diagnostic imaging, ambulatory surgery, ophthalmology, rehabilitation, behavioral health, bariatric, obstetric, pediatric, outpatient and preventative health and wellness services.

Cheryl holds a Masters in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor’s in Mass Communications/Print Journalism from Western Illinois University. She is certified in Generational Communication, Healthcare Medical Meeting Compliance and is a published author and speaker. She serves on the boards of the Las Vegas Hospitality Association, Las Vegas HEALS and Family to Family Nevada, and is a member of the Las Vegas Spa Association and the past-chair of the Healthcare Special Interest Group of the Las Vegas Chapter of the American Marketing Association. She is currently a member of the MPI Medical Meeting Advisory Panel and sits on the Wellness Advisory Board of the Global Wellness Institute. Smith also has served on the boards of several local philanthropic organizations. In 2014, she was named one of Las Vegas’ “Women to Watch” by Vegas Inc.