TEA Connect Blog

04 March 2020

TEA Summit 2020 Day One speakers and sessions - July 9 at Disneyland Resort

LEARN, NETWORK, CELEBRATE! TEA SUMMIT DAY ONE KICKS OFF THEMED ENTERTAINMENT'S BIG WEEKEND - The 2020 TEA Summit conference organized by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) will take place July 9-10, followed by the 26th Annual TEA Thea Awards Gala (July 11).

This big weekend of TEA events takes place at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Many thanks to TEA Summit 2020 Presenting Sponsor Barco and Keynote/Book sponsor The Hettema Group, and to TEA Thea Awards Gala Presenting Sponsor Chimelong.

"Start With Why" - Matt Dunsmoor, Igniter for Simon Sinek Inc. will keynote TEA Summit Day One

TEA Summit Day One (July 9) is an opportunity for the industry to gather and talk about work through a business lens. It encourages lifelong learning for industry members, at all stages of their careers. Summit’s focus as “the business of the business” allows TEA to bring current, relevant topics to the forefront, and focus on the "why" behind business decisions made, and their outcomes. 

Summit Day One co-chairs are TEA Past President Christine Kerr of Kerr Creative Company, TEA Past President Steve Birket of Birket Engineering and TEA Eastern North America Division Board President Melissa Ruminot of The Companies of Nassal. 





TEA Summit Day One

Confirmed speakers & sessions

Check back for updates - all info subject to change

"Start with Why" - Matt Dunsmoor

Keynote speaker Matt Dunsmoor will open the conversation with topics from Simon Sinek’s global best-seller, “Start With Why,” to set the framework for all Summit Day One sessions. Examples like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Wright Brothers prove that great leaders think, act, and communicate in the exact same way - and it’s the complete opposite of what everyone else does. The Golden Circle is a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

Matt Dunsmoor, Igniter for Simon Sinek, Inc. - Matt is obsessed with exploring the future of work and what’s possible when organizations sit on the foundation of a strong, values-based culture. His curiosity has led him into a diverse array of roles, from marketing and sales, to product management and customer service, to helping companies implement organizational governance. He first attended a Why Discovery Workshop in 2015 and subsequently became a workshop facilitator and trainer himself. Matt now travels across the country, combining Simon’s concepts with his own experience to help teams and individuals discover their Why and pursue more purposeful work.

Nancy Seruto, Portfolio Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering - Nancy Seruto’s primary focus is developing and leading Imagineering teams to execute future growth opportunities, following the successful opening of the first-ever Disney park in mainland China. Previously, Nancy led the Creative Studio where she developed WDI-wide strategies to expand excellence in all Imagineer-created products and experiences. Nancy joined WDI in 2011 as executive producer for Treasure Cove at Shanghai Disney Resort. With Luc Mayrand, she led an interdisciplinary team of 100+ Imagineers on the land’s creative development. She is the 2020 recipient of the Buzz Price Thea Award Recognizing a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements. Read more about Nancy Seruto

Phil Hettema, President & Creative Executive, The Hettema Group - Since founding his company in 2001, Phil has led the creation of iconic visitor experiences around the world, including three Thea Award-honored projects. Phil started his career in the costume shop in Disneyland and went on to become SVP of Attraction Development for Universal Creative for 14 years. In 2018, the TEA recognized Phil with the Buzz Prize Thea Award for a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements. Phil serves as President of the Board of Directors for Ryman Arts and sits on the Full Circle Alumni Board of ArtCenter College of Design. Read more about Phil Hettema

Succession planning, employee engagement and learning from failure

TEA Summit 2020 Day One Breakout Sessions

The afternoon program for Summit Day One consists of three interactive breakout sessions, in three locations within the Disneyland Hotel. The “choose your own adventure” approach allows attendees to participate in the session that is most relevant to the priorities or passions currently driving their business or their career. The active participation style of our facilitators will guarantee lively collaboration and spirited conversation. The results will be shared with the larger group back in the main conference space. 

Oh Shoot! I Screwed Up - Brian Morrow and Sean Kelley

Mistakes happen all the time - it’s how we respond and learn from those mistakes that makes the difference. We will explore the importance of failure. Participants will have an opportunity to share their personal stories of epic failure and ultimately choose and celebrate the biggest failure story. 

Sean Kelley, Senior Vice President, Director of Interpretation, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site - Sean Kelley has run all public programming at Eastern State Penitentiary since 1995, when he was hired as the organization’s first full-time employee. He produced the site’s award-winning audio tour, now heard by more than a million visitors. He has curated more than 100 site-specific artist installations at the site, and curated the exhibit Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration which won the 2017 Overall Award for Excellence from the American Alliance of Museums. He visits active prisons and writes critically about museums and social justice.

Brian Morrow, Founder, BMorrow Productions – Brian Morrow has a passion for turning ideas into living entities, from creative concept through execution. His international reputation as Project Principal, Executive Producer and Creative Director spans 22+ years and 1.2Billion in projects. Brian was VP Attraction Development for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks before founding BMP in 2018, a unique co-op studio with a team of designers, artists, live entertainment and producers at the forefront of invention, immersion and gamification. Brian’s clients and collaborators include for Europa-Park, Baha Mar Resort, Weta Workshop, Universal Creative, Sally Dark Rides, Kennedy Space Center, SeaWorld and more.


Hackathon: Employee Engagement - Jamie Murdock

Jamie will use hackathon methodology to explore and solve for the challenge of employee engagement. This group hack will generate ideas, strategies and solutions for this industry-wide hot topic.   

Jamie Murdock, VP of Sales at Experient, a Maritz Global Events Company is responsible for leading the strategic sales team. He is passionate about inspiring his team to be curious and encourages collaboration across departments and resources. Prior to joining Experient, Jamie led the national sales team for Disney Destinations. He also held sales executive leadership roles at Zentila, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Gaylord Hotels, where he received its CEO’s Leadership Excellence Award. Most recently he was awarded Citizen of the Year by Experient and named one of the Top 500 People in Events by BizBash in 2018.


The 5 Surprises of Succession Planning - John O'Dea

Key strategies owners can use to avoid turning their story from an adventure/comedy to a personal and financial tragedy. The session will highlight the risks of voluntarily or involuntarily transitioning from owner to non-owner, including the common mistakes and surprises owners experience during their own exit or transition.

John O’Dea, CLU®, CExP, CPFA®, Financial Advisor - John is hired by business owners to help them calculate the net personal effect of business decisions such as exit, succession, and transition.  He is an active speaker and writer on topics of financial planning, exit planning, estate planning and more. John serves as a financial advisor at Summit Financial based in San Ramon, CA.  He is also a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative of Securian Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.  Summit Financial Group is independently owned and operated.


The new entertainment venue: Social media as a place for connection, engagement and storytelling

Corey Padveen, Partner at t2 Marketing International, a global media and brand consultancy - Corey Padveen has worked on some of the most innovative data, influencer and Millennial-oriented campaigns across a number of industries. He speaks on his work and research at events around the world, and is a member of a number of futurist-based advisory boards in the United States and Europe. He is also the author of Marketing to Millennials For Dummies, and a contributing author of Digital Marketing All-In-One For Dummies.

TEA Summit 2020 Day One Co-Chairs

The TEA Summit 2020 Day One co-chairs - Top left, Melissa Ruminot of The Companies of Nassal;
bottom right, Christine Kerr of Kerr Creative Company; bottom center, Steve Birket of Birket Engineering

Steve Birket PE, VP Business Development, Birket Engineering - Steve has worked in the themed entertainment industry continuously since 1979, first as a parade and waterski performer at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and later as a project manager for Universal Creative and Walt Disney Imagineering. He is a past TEA Eastern Division and International Board President and is licensed in Florida as a Professional Engineer and Electrical Specialty Contractor. Birket Engineering is a provider of life-safety hardware & software control systems for world class rides and shows. Birket equipment may be found in every Disney and Universal park in the world.

Christine Kerr, President, Kerr Creative Company - Christine has been involved in the development and operation of parks, attractions and events in North America and Europe for 30+ years. From leadership roles in operations and entertainment at Canada’s Wonderland, CN Tower and LEGOLAND Parks in England and the US, she moved to creative and project development for clients in sports, culture and entertainment as a VP at BaAM Productions. In 2019, Christine launched Kerr Creative Company and is currently working as an Executive Producer and Project Director for clients in Gilroy (California) and Toronto. Christine is a Past President of the TEA.

Melissa Ruminot, VP of Marketing & Client Development, The Companies of Nassal - Joining themed entertainment eight years ago from the finance industry, Melissa developed a love for all things attractions – from a new theme park land, to a new habitat for African Elephants, to the display of a 250-year old artifact in a museum exhibit – but most of all, being part of an industry that tells compelling stories in memorable ways. Melissa currently serves on TEA’s International Board of Directors. At Nassal, she is part of an award-winning scenic and theming company with offices in Orlando, Los Angeles, and Osaka. Read "Meaningful connections" - Read "Meaningful connections: TEA Summit" interview with Melissa 


TEA leadership

TEA International Board President Michael Blau of Adirondack Scenic, with
TEA Chief Operating Officer Jennie Nevin

Michael Blau, VP Business Development, Adirondack Studios - "I often tell new TEA members to jump in and meet people, tell stories and make new friends. When you put energy in, it comes back to you many times over. We want to wake up every day and be excited about the work we do." Michael Blau was officially installed as Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) International Board President in November 2019 at IAAPA Expo Orlando. Michael Blau’s leadership participation within TEA began with his being elected to the TEA Eastern North America Division. He served for three years as VP of the Eastern Division Board followed by three years on the TEA International Board. 

Jennie Nevin, Chief Operating Officer, TEA - Now in her seventh year at the executive helm of TEA, Jennie Nevin has become a familiar face in the attractions industry while stepping up as an effective leader. She has helped the Association reach new milestones on many levels including membership expansion, member services, brand identity, financial stability, internal organization, staffing and global growth. Previously, Jennie served as Director of Operations and Development and Deputy Executive Director for the Hollywood Radio & Television Society in Los Angeles. Based in TEA’s Burbank headquarters, Jennie’s dedication to TEA also takes her into the field to know and represent the industry first-hand.
































Posted by Judy Rubin



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