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Girl on Fire: With 20 years at AMA Executive Conference Centers, Valerie Mazzilli-Brown makes all the right calls...

Girl on Fire: With 20 years at AMA Executive Conference Centers, Valerie Mazzilli-Brown makes all the right calls...
This year American Management Association welcomes its 90th birthday. At the helm of the celebrations is Valerie Mazzilli-Brown, who has just as much reason to mark the occasion. In twenty years, she has risen from an administrative assistant role to a noted position as the manager of meeting planning supporting the company’s five locations in Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. With her unique marketing strategies and an eternal love of working with people, Mazzilli-Brown is ready to bring her company into its Centennial.

Unique Venues: What has been your favorite part of your job thus far?

Valerie Mazzilli-Brown: “We used to organize two large conferences – the Administrative Professionals Conference and the Human Resources Conference, both for more than 2,000 attendees. I became the planner for the APC, which was the highlight of my career. It was a three-and-a-half day event with 20 concurrent sessions at a major venue such as Vegas or Orlando. I loved creating themes and working with vendors to make it a reality.”

UV: What skills have helped your career succeed?

VMB: “Negotiation and people skills. I’m good at negotiating and understanding contracts but I also love working with people—from my vendors to my suppliers to the customers. I’ve found that quick follow-up is important, especially with leads. I look forward to talking to customers and seeing if we can fit their needs at one of the AMA centers.”

UV: What have been some of the strategies you’ve developed to make AMA thrive?

VMB: “First I interpret data that comes in, anything from industry segments to job titles and locations. Then I research the marketplace. I analyze what companies do business with us now and I pursue other similar individuals. I also develop solid partnerships with convention bureaus, neighborhood alliances and chambers and see what marketing opportunities they have available. Event marketing and getting the word out is really the focus of my job so I’ve created online campaigns and e-blasts that have been effective. Most of my job is in figuring out where people can find us so I really try to find ways to reach customers.”

UV: Have you found any challenges?

VMB: “When you’re dealing with the public, there’s always something to handle. At other conference and meeting centers I’ve worked at, I dealt with everything from Internet blackouts to fires, choking victims, non-working escalators and floods. As a planner, you preplan as much as you can for your event so when things like this happen you are on autopilot and ready to find solutions. You have to know your resources, whether it be people or your history of working with venues.”

UV: What benefits does AMA offer to planners?

VMB: “We don’t nickel and dime anyone, and we have no service charges. Our purpose and premise is to make meetings simple and affordable. We run 3,000 meetings and training seminars inside and outside our centers every year; because we’re planners, we have a strong understanding and empathy of what planners want and need.”

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AMA Executive Conference Centers
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