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Interview with Dahlia El Gazzar

Posted by: Hali Cooper, CMP - Meeting Expectations! on Monday, December 5, 2011 at 1:00:00 am

Are you ready to meet Dahlia El Gazzar, CMP, and Vice President of Strategic Alliances & Events for our Chicago Area Chapter of MPI?  Well you better have your running shoes on … because Dahlia is full of energy and never slows down!  I have been lucky enough to serve with Dahlia on the Board and can attest to her boundless enthusiasm for our chapter.  Dahlia’s “paying job” is Vice President of Marketing with onPeak, an industry leader in group housing management.  She holds the CMP designation and is always willing to give back to our community.  

Dahlia’s passion? Utilizing her out-of-the-box thinking to provide solutions and strategies to the hospitality, travel, meetings and conventions industries that she operates in daily.  Prior to her tenure as VP of Marketing at onPeak, Dahlia worked with Passkey and many major hotel affiliates such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts, IHG and Marriott Hotels & Resorts. Among her many specialties are international business and global marketing, having spent professional stints in Egypt and Germany as well as other U.S. cities. From the single property level to tourism organizations and travel innovations & technology firms, Dahlia has developed a holistic understanding of the meetings & events industry.  Please enjoy getting to know Dahlia as I have these past few years!

Hali:  Dahlia, How long have you been a member of MPI?
Dahlia: I believe it’s since 2005!

Hali:  What are some of the positions you’ve held with MPI-CAC on both the committee and the board level?
Dahlia: I was actually nominated to serve straight on the MPI-CAC board (strong armed is more like it!); but in a very friendly, MPIish type of way. I started in 2008 with Marketing & Communications as Director of Marketing & Communications (MarComm), with the guidance of Char, Alisa, Sean and plenty of other amazing MPI folks. Then took the VP or Marketing & Communications role and my partner in crime Jiwon and I did amazing projects together with an incredible committee. And now I serve as the VP of Strategic Alliances and Special Events.

Hali: What has been your greatest success in your current position on the Board?
Dahlia: Well given that MarComm was actually not even an existing committee 2 years ago - look at it now! This amazing machine that generates the buzz for all our chapter events on all fronts; social media, PR, email campaigns, and the website. We are one of those chapters that have an incredible dedicated MarComm team that touches all our events. I don’t think that any other chapters have a committee like ours. Or a chapter like ours. I’m biased.

Hali: What are some of the greatest challenges you feel the Chicago Area Chapter (or MPI as a whole, you choose) faces in this economy?
Dahlia: First, obviously it’s keeping members. And second, keeping those members engaged and involved. Everyone has so much going on right now; from personal to professional. The one thing that everyone in MPI-CAC has in common is how we are wired. We are wired to network or ‘flock’ with our own kind, and making those connections that satisfy us whether on a personal or professional level. What we need to understand is that we all face the same challenges and MPI-CAC brings us together on so many levels. It’s amazing how these connections come into play.

Hali: What is your favorite MPI-CAC event to attend, and why?
Dahlia: I love the Holiday Party! I love the festive atmosphere with not only our members, but also the entire meetings community in the Chicago area.

Hali: Tell us about your family.
Dahlia: You mean the 2 divas – Aisha and Lilly?! I’m going through a little Justin Bieber fever right now with them, but it’s great to let loose with a 4 and 7 year old sometimes! My husband is Dutch, a fantastic cook, amazing dad and husband. And yes, I can’t forget our 2 cats.

Hali: What do you like to do in your spare time?  (not that we have spare time as working Mom’s, but you know!)
Dahlia: What spare time?! When I do have some time, I love to unwind and catch up on my TV shows and movies. Netflix and Hulu+ are my besties with a nice glass of wine. I do love to catch up with my old friends from wherever they are. Good times.

The next time you are lucky enough to see Dahlia, be sure to take some time to speak with her.  I promise you will walk away with a new friend.


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