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Talk Derby to me: Ask Me Anything attendees learn about the NCRA Conference in LU-a-VIL

By Jill Parker Landsman

The Ask Me Anything ZoomUp: Focus on Louisville took place with an audience of more than 35 attendees last month.

Attendees wanted details about the 2024 NCRA Conference & Expo location featuring world-renowned restaurants, distilleries, museums, and places to see and be seen bundled with an action-packed Conference agenda. First-time and veteran attendees heard how to ramp up their Derby vibes, make new friends, and learn about the latest trends in the industry.

AMA Louisville

Moderator and NCRA Vice President Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, welcomed attendees, stating that the Conference is the place to be for networking, investing in professional development, and opening doors to new opportunities. Throughout the session she highlighted the Kentucky Derby Gala theme and this year’s Conference schedule.

Lisa Migliore Black headshot
Lisa Migliore Black

Panelist Lisa Migliore Black advised everyone to dress for comfort and come prepared to practice. “If you are doing the software training, you at least need your laptop,” she advised. “I will bring my machine for extra practice time. In terms of clothing, you can be very casual to overdressed. No one is judging you.” Humidity is a culprit in Louisville, Migliore Black warned, so pack accordingly.

Be prepared for temperature changes, advised panelist Yolanda Walton, FAPR, RPR. “Bring sweaters. No telling if the rooms will be really cold or really hot.” Walton sported her homemade fascinator which she assembled at the last minute since she was preoccupied with trial work. She rounded up her fascinator materials between Michaels and Goodwill.

The camaraderie is always a part of the experience, noted panelist Tammy McGhee, RMR, CRR, CRC. “Nothing beats a group of reporters,” she said. “Everyone is there for the same reason. Everyone is networking.”

Events Director Terpse Gentile, CMP, cited the advantages of this year’s Conference schedule and venue (The Galt House Hotel). “We changed the footprint and consolidated,” she explained. “Vendor training will be in the morning on Thursday. Regular sessions will start on Thursday afternoon with a Welcome Reception later. Breakfast will be in the Expo Hall, which is huge. All presentation rooms are large. All sessions will be in the East Tower on one level with very few on the second and third floors.”

While Gentile recommended the Visitors and Convention Bureau website for travel hotspots, Migliore Black was the resident Louisville travel expert extraordinaire. She was also ZoomUp’s leading fascinator fashionista.

Details matter. She suggested that everyone first learn how to pronounce Louisville like the natives. LOUIS-ville is not correct, she shared. Sound like the locals, please, she urged. “LU-a-VIL and LU-EE-VIL are acceptable pronunciations.”

MInt julep

The town’s signature drink is the mint julep. “It is straight up bourbon with a little sugar and mint leaves,” Migliore Black said. “It could light your breath on fire. If you are not a drinker, it is a strong drink.

“You can’t come to Kentucky and not do a bourbon tour,” she added. “There is one right down the street: The Old Forester [Distillery]. You need to book tours early. You need to plan ahead. They have two-hour tours and tell you why we have great bourbon and great racehorses.” (For more local recommendations, see Lisa’s Louisville Guide.)

Panelist Tami Keenan, FAPR, RPR, CPE, past NCRF Chair, plugged this year’s 2024 NCRF Clutch for a Cause raffle which will give away a Gedebe evening bag at the Membership Recognition Gala. Keenan said that at the Conference attendees will learn about everything NCRF does with members’ donations.  “We always appreciate what everyone does,” she said.

Watch the full ZoomUp with the recommended list of Louisville tourist destinations and NCRA Conference offerings.

Jill Parker Landsman is the NCRF Manager and can be reached at