Building Strategic Partnerships to Help Support Atlantic City’s Meeting and Convention Industry

Meeting and Convention Industry Header

By Donna Albano, EdD, Professor of Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management, Stockton University

After a year of brainstorming, zoom meetings, bridging contacts from industry and the University, Meet AC and Stockton University have collaborated to offer programming and educational opportunities, including continuing education, professional development, experiential learning and potentially CEU’s to Meet AC’s customers as an added value offering when visiting Atlantic City.

Donna Albano
Donna Albano, EdD,
Professor of Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management, Stockton University

In the works already was a
Stockton Women’s Leadership Council (SWLC) Panel for Fall 2021 including local esteemed female leaders representing hospitality, healthcare and academia. The SWLC had provided this format in the past, so this was an easy initial event on which to collaborate. Stockton’s Office of Continuing Studies joined the collaboration to build and deliver workshops on inclusion in the workplace, cultural competence, affirming attitudes, inclusive leadership skills, search advocacy and communication. Meet AC sponsored the event and invited customers to attend and learn.

In a testament to the success of that event, we are already collaborating on a fall 2022 SWLC panel, workshops, and interactive learning experiences with a focus on Latinos, Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities. We are all looking forward to a long-term mutually beneficial partnership.Meet AC, Atlantic City’s Destination Management Organization, is a non-profit sales organization whose mission is convention development. Meet AC creates visitor spending and economic impact through meeting and convention bookings in Atlantic City. In January of 2021, our colleagues from Meet AC reached out to discuss collaborating on several initiatives revolving around (but not exclusively) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) that could include working with their industry advisory boards to help drive more diverse business to the city.

Beyond that event, Stockton University presented to the Meet AC Executive, Administrative, Marketing and Sales Team the scope of educational offerings in our 160+ areas of study at multiple instructional sites so that they can share with their Meet AC customers going forward. 

Additionally, as a result of this budding partnership, Stockton University was represented at the Together Again Job Fair and Expo in Atlantic City to support live event industry leaders, innovators, and professionals as part of the National Trade Show Alliance.  

Women's Leadership Council Panelists
Women's Leadership Council Panelists Grace Chow, Susan Davenport, Charisse Fizer, Jacqueline Grace, Roxanne Passarella and moderator Valerie Hayes at the Stockton Women's Leadership Council conference at the Atlantic City campus.

Most recently Stockton’s Office of Continuing Studies has worked to more fully develop a set of deliverables for Meet AC and Stockton to better communicate our offerings to our constituents.  We are confident that we can be the premier customized training partner in the Greater Atlantic City region, offering professional development training, experiential education workshops, and national networking opportunities. These customizable trainings offer academic experts in their field, showcase Stockton’s unique geographic regions and state-of-the-art amenities, and provide a diverse menu of experiences for any meeting or conference organizer.  All workshops and experiences are built to the needs of the organization and are designed to engage adult learners in interactive learning.

Meet AC and Stockton University view this strategic partnership as the way forward in Atlantic City, shifting perceptions of the city as a thought leader in DEI, Sustainability, Leadership, Nonprofit Management, Human Trafficking, Social Work and Local Arts and Culture. As our society and country have evolved, destinations need to evolve too, by providing solutions - both academic and experiential - to give convention attendees new reasons to visit a city.