January 26-29, 2020
St. Pete Beach, FL

The exclusive hosted-buyer educational conference for the highly sought audience of leading independent planners. 

Meet with the top hotels, CVBs, DMCs, and venues from across the country three highly educational and productive days at The Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach, Florida, from January 26-29, 2020.

↓ Learn More ↓

About IPEC

Hosted by Northstar Meetings Group, IPEC (Independent Planner Education Conference) is the exclusive event – the first and the best! – tailored to the unique needs of independent planners that are not associated with any 3rd party organizations. At IPEC the leading independent planners will meet face-to-face with top destinations, hotels/resorts, cruise lines, DMCs, DMOs and tourism offices from the U.S. Attendees participate in one-on-one pre-scheduled appointments, gain industry insights from our guest speakers and network with this exclusive group—all while enjoying Florida's "Pink Palace," The Don CeSar located in St. Pete Beach. This unique event is hosted by Northstar Meetings Group’s leading brands —Successful Meetings, Meetings & Conventions, and Incentive Magazine—in partnership with Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Florida and The Don CeSar.


Learn from, and be inspired by, our guest speakers who will provide targeted education specific to independent planners.


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


Network during the exclusive activities showcasing Florida's legendary The Don CeSar.


Please check back for the updated speakers list


John Ayo

John Ayo is a keynote speaker, naturopath and author who inspires and empowers professionals to stay energized, healthy and balanced while traveling. Prior to forging a career in natural health, John spent almost 30 years in sales and sales training at IBM, where he achieved remarkable results as a seller and speaker. He led the team that closed the largest software deal in the history of IBM (of over $1B), earning several commendations. However, after two decades in Corporate America, John began to suffer stress-related health issues that couldn't be resolved via traditional methods. This led him through a journey of discovery, with a determination to lessen stress and evoke a more balanced, grounded and healthier self. It also spawned a unique desire to help others lead more balanced, healthy lives. John has taught more than 4,000 people in 26 countries his secrets to better health on the road — and back at home. His book, Travel Balance, is based on his experiences and the wellness strategies he preaches to audiences worldwide. John holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, a Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA) and a Doctorate in Naturopathy (ND).

Loren G. Edelstein

Loren Edelstein is Vice President and Content Director for Northstar Meetings Group’s industry-leading brands: Meetings & Conventions, Successful Meetings, Incentive and Meeting News. She oversees editorial content across NMG’s many platforms, including print, digital and face-to-face events. Loren joined M&C in 1993 as a Senior Editor, after spending six years at Corporate Travel magazine, where she rose from Assistant Editor to Executive Editor.

Gary Hernbroth

Gary Hernbroth is an engaging and results-oriented professional speaker, trainer, author and business coach. After 18 years in the hospitality business in sales, marketing and operations management, Gary founded Training for Winners in 1995.   He has built his solid national speaking and coaching reputation as a straight-talking presenter who challenges the status quo: He aligns teams to work better together. He tears down silos. He works to inspire his diverse audiences and clients with enthusiasm and confidence, guiding them to action with real-world tools, not pie-in-the-sky theories. Gary is a graduate of The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University and is a member of its Alumni Board of Directors. His meetings and hospitality clients include hotels, resorts, CVBs/DMOs, convention facilities, clubs and meeting planner groups. Gary is currently completing work on his first book.

Steve Jones

Steve Jones will change the way you look at business, marketing, customer service, branding and personal growth. He is a 30-year music industry veteran, one of the world’s leading radio programmers, and author of two highly acclaimed marketing books: Brand Like a Rock Star and Start You Up. Steve has worked alongside some of the biggest names in music. He will show you how music stars like AC/DC, U2, Madonna, Jimmy Buffett, Kiss, Fleetwood Mac and Taylor Swift have created powerful brands, built legions of loyal followers, thrived in changing times and turned casual customers into raving fans. His presentations are entertaining, energetic and loaded with actionable information. Combining music and video with his engaging stories from the legends of rock, Steve creates an experience that is much a concert as a keynote. Steve is currently the VP/Programming at Newcap Radio, overseeing more than 90 radio brands. Throughout his career, he has helped create and guide successful radio brands in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. He has spent over three decades in music and media, witnessing the rise (and sometimes fall) of countless rock legends. In addition to being a popular speaker at conferences worldwide, Steve works with media brands and companies in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean to turn their customers into raving fans.

Linda Spelling

Linda Spelling, President of Buzz Inc., is a 30-year hospitality industry veteran. Her results-driven, detail-focused approach has proven tremendously effective in producing comprehensive meetings for a wide array of companies, including several Fortune 500 firms.   Linda started her career in public relations, and worked for a number of agencies in New York City. In this capacity, she created Ovation Studios, a meeting planning company that supported the PR company’s diverse client base. From there, Linda spent 15 years as the director of a boutique meeting planning agency based in New Jersey, managing and producing programs for clients including Johnson & Johnson and Quest Diagnostics.   In 2016, she launched Buzz, Inc., her own corporate meeting planning company. Linda works closely with clients to develop engaging, well-rounded programs customized to meet and exceed their unique objectives.

Brett J. Sterenson

Brett J. Stevenson, President of Hotel Lobbyists, brings more than twenty years of supplier side experience both from the hotel side and the last 12 years as a small business owner.  Brett worked in government sales for both Millennium Hotels and Resorts out of Boston and Kimpton Hotels out of Washington, DC.  His firm, Hotel Lobbyists, was founded in April 2007. He's also a seventeen year member of SGMP with five years on the local National Capital Board, three years on the Gilmer Institute of Learning, and fresh off a four year term on the National Board of Directors. With more time for himself now, Brett speaks at industry chapter and national events as well as CVB sponsored educational days. He is married with a 5yr old son and 3yr old daughter and lives outside of DC.

Tracy Stuckrath

Tracy Stuckrath, Founder and president of thrive! meetings & events, award-winning meeting industry consultant Tracy Stuckrath has had a 27-year career in corporate, association and private event planning. In 2009, her personal health journey changed the trajectory of her career to integrate comprehensive, inclusive menu planning into her meeting, event planning and consulting business. thrive! is a first-of-its-kind company that specializes in accommodating the diverse dietary requirements of employees, clients and patrons in safe, yet deliciously satisfying ways. By understanding the wide range of dietary needs and preferences and how to manage them, Tracy delivers an unrivaled participant experience in which everyone feels valued. Tracy has educated more than 100 companies, corporations and member associations across five continents on this emerging topic, to reduce risk of allergic reaction, illness and legal liability. Tracy has also co-authored two books and over 30 published articles — including Meetings & Conventions — in support of her mission: Every shared meal is an opportunity to create a culture of inclusion, to benefit individuals, organizations and society as a whole.

Jerald R. Vaughn

Jerry Vaugh, Managing Partner and CEO, Corporate Events and Premium Leisure Travel Services, has extensive experience conducting events internationally and domestically in land resort, cruise ship and dedicated convention and conference venues. In 1999, he created and developed CEALS, a specialized travel service focusing on premium leisure and business and association meetings, conference and event planning services, as well as innovative and dynamic incentive awards programs.    Earlier in his career, as Executive Director of the 23,000-member International Association of Chiefs of Police and 19,000-member Public School Employees of Washington, Jerry had overall responsibility for organizing, planning and executing large annual conferences, exhibitions, regional and international meetings and professional development programs, the largest of which drew more than 13,000 delegates from 93 countries for annual five-day conferences. 


Sunday, January 26, 2020
2:30pm - 5:30pm
2:30pm – 5:30pm
Supplier tabletop set-up
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Welcome Reception
Monday, January 27, 2020
7:30am - 8:30am
8:15am – 9:15am
Educational Session (More Details)  
9:30am - 1:00pm

One-on-One Appointments

1:00pm – 1:45pm       
1:45pm – 2:45pm       
Educational Session (More Details)  
3:00pm - 4:00pm       
Planners: Site Tour 
4:00pm - 6:00pm

Free Time

6:30pm - 9:30pm


Tuesday, January 28, 2020
7:30am - 8:15am
8:15am – 9:15am
Educational Session (More Details)  
9:30am - 1:00pm

One-on-One Appointments

1:00pm – 1:45pm
1:45pm – 2:45pm
Educational Session (More Details)  
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Educational Session (More Details)  
4:00pm - 6:00pm

Hospitality Happy Hour

Dinner On Own/At Leisure
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Breakfast On Own & Departures Throughout the Day

Hosted Buyers

All qualified buyers will be fully hosted by Northstar Meetings Group, including airfare, accommodation, meals, and planned activities.


Those who are selected to attend will participate in:
  • Two productive days of pre-scheduled meetings with key suppliers from across the United States
  • Insightful educational presentations from inspiring speakers
  • Opening reception, great meals, and numerous networking opportunities with other elite buyers
  • Unique experiential activities showcasing St. Pete Beach as a premier meetings and incentive destination  

To learn more, please contact Cindy Binder at

Supplier Info/Exhibitors


Event Only Package

Event Only Package

Event Only Package

Event Only Package

• Display table & appointment
• All event activities
• Buyer profiles via event app

Gold Package


• 1/2-page ad
• Display table & appointments
• All event activites
• Buyer profiles via even app

Platinum Package

• Full-page ad
• Display table & appointment
• All event activities
• Buyer profiles via event app

Exhibitor Package Rates & Premium Sponsorship Opportunities

For exhibitor package rates and premium sponsorship opportunities, please contact your business development director or: Angie Kimmel at 636-273-5816 or


2019 Exhibitors

Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach

Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau

Andaz Maui

Associated Luxury Hotels International

Atlantc City - Meet AC

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa - Reno

Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center

Boise Centre

Caesars Entertainment

Carey Meetings & Events

Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau

Club Med Resorts

Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Discover Dunwoody

Discover Newport, Rhode Island

Discover Puerto Rico

Evelyn Hotel


Experience Columbia SC

Explore Charleston

Florida Keys and Key West

Fort Smith CVB

Fredericksburg CVB

Georgetown CVB

Goen South Events

Goodman Speakers

Grand Sierra Resort & Casino and SLS Las Vegas

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center

Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

Kiawah Island Golf Resort & The Sanctuary

Las Vegas CVA

Long Beach Area CVB

Los Angeles Tourism

Los Cabos Tourism Board

Louisville Tourism

M Resort Spa Casino

Marin Convention & Visitors Bureau

Meadowlands Live CVB

Meet Hawaii

Memphis Tourism

Monterey County CVB

Myrtle Beach Convention Center

Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades CVB

Ocean Center

Ocean Properties, Hotels, Resorts & Affiliates

Odessa Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

Paradisus Los Cabos

Plaza Hotel & Casino

PRA Event Management

Prince Hotels Hawaii



San Diego Tourism Authority

San Mateo County/Silicon Valley CVB

Sonoma County Tourism

Sony Electronics, Inc. - Incentive Programs

South Point Hotel Casino & Spa

South San Francisco Conference Center

St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB

The Broadmoor

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

The Guest House at Graceland

The Mirage

The Row Reno

The Shores Resort & Spa

The Wigwam

Tropicana Las Vegas - A DoubleTree by Hilton

Tubac Golf Resort & Spa

Velas Resorts

Visit Albuquerque

Visit Alexandria

Visit Carlsbad

Visit Central Florida

Visit Denver

Visit Fort Worth

Visit Lubbock

Visit Greenville

Visit Loudoun / The National Conference Center

Visit Oakland

Visit Park City / Park City Mountain

Visit Maine

Visit San Antonio

Visit St. Pete / Clearwater Florida

Visit Tampa Bay

Visit Vail Valley

Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge

Westgate Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort

Myrtle Beach Convention Center

Visit Park City

Las Vegas CVA

South San Francisco Conference Center

Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge

Visit Fort Worth

Fredericksburg CVB

Host Global (TX, LV)

Boise Centre

Visit Oakland

Daytona CVB

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

Visit Alexandria

Visit San Antonio

St. Augustine & Ponte Vedra Beach

Sonoma County Tourism

Wigwam Resort

2018 IPEC Exhibitors


Atlantis Casino Resort Spa

Awesome Alpharetta CVB

Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center

Boise Centre

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

Caesars Entertainment

Charleston CVB

Daytona Beach Area CVB

Discover Newport RI

Dominican Republic Tourism Board

Eldorado Resorts (Silver Legacy)

Florida Keys & Key West

Fredericksburg CVB

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

Goodman Speakers Bureau

Grand Sierra Resort

Grandover Resort

Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB

Greater Palm Springs CVB

Greater Portland Maine

Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach

Inns of Aurora

KLC Ireland

Las Vegas CVA

Louisville CVB

M Resort

Marriott Hawaii

Meadowlands Liberty CVB

Meet Atlantic City

MEET Hawaii

Melia Hotels International / Paradisus Los Cabos

Memphis CVB

MGM National Harbor

Mohegan Sun

Myrtle Beach Convention Center

Naples Grande

Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB

Ocean Center

Ocean Properties

Palms Casino Resort

Peppermill Resort Spa Casino

Plaza Hotel & Casino

Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau

Reno Tahoe

Resorts Casino Hotel - Atlantic City

Salamander Hotels & Resorts

San Diego Tourism Authority

San Mateo County CVB

Savannah Convention Center

Seagate Hotel & Spa

South Point Hotel & Casino

South San Francisco Conference Center

St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

The Iroquois NY

The Modern Honolulu

The National Conference Center / Visit Loudoun

Travel Juneau

Tropicana Las Vegas - A DoubleTree by Hilton

Vail Resorts

Velas resorts

Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club

Visit Alexandria

Visit Berkeley

Visit Denver

Visit Houston

Visit Oakland

Visit Raleigh

Visit Savannah

Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater

Visit Vail Valley

Westgate Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

Click below to see the 2018 list


The Legendary Pink Palace of St. Pete Beach
Opened in the heyday of the Gatsby Era in 1928, The Don CeSar has been welcoming travelers for nearly a century. From high society's playground to starring on the silver screen to being a Gulf Coast icon, The Don CeSar boasts a rich and glamorous history. Distinguished celebrities such as Clarence Darrow and F. Scott Fitzgerald have stayed at the Pink Palace on St. Pete Beach and even served in the Great War. With a sugar-fine beach, radiant sunsets, a world-class spa, and a vibrant food scene, you really can have it all. More than a landmark, The Don is epic style. Timeless. Majestic. Cool.
The Don CeSar
3400 Gulf Boulevard
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

Hotel Website

Buyers: We will make your reservations for you.

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


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. 


"I applaud Northstar for caring enough about Independent Planners that they designed a meeting just for us. We are critical to the industry and have different needs than the other niche Planner demographics."

—Tess Vismale, iSocialExecution, Inc.

"In two short days IPEC accomplished two very important goals for me - it provided an intimate forum where I could meet with suppliers I've been interested in meeting; and just as importantly, it enabled me to network and share best practices with respected colleagues who do just what I do all across the country."

—Brett Sterenson, Hotel Lobbyists

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Buyers Contact:

Cindy Binder
Director of Buyer Development

Suppliers Contact:

Angie Kimmel
Senior Director of Global Event Sales

Event Logistics Contact:

Christy Froehlich

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