Back by popular demand, Customer Service Master Class: It's Hospitality Y'all will bring together frontline hospitality workers from across Dallas on March 6, 2020. 

Dallas is full of unique attractions, amazing restaurants and hotels that keep guests comfortable, but the signature hospitality that each visitor receives at these places is what keeps them coming back and sharing their experience with family and friends – that is the "Dallas Difference."

Presented by Southwest Airlines® and VisitDallas, the immersive, one-day experience will give hospitality professionals – whether you have been in the business for three months or 30 years – a chance to learn the "Dallas Difference" from the best in the business. Customer Service Master Class: It's Hospitality Y'all is free and requires a short application process.

Registration for the 2020 event is now closed. 



You can never stop learning new ways to better service your guests. I love being able to hear a wide variety of speakers in the hospitality segment and how they currently do things that are making them successful in that realm!

Andrea Meza, Dallas Marriott Suites, 2018 MasterClass Attendee 



Come join Dallas-area hospitality warriors in a day of learning from notable North Texas companies and leaders. 


7:30 a.m.

Registration, Light Breakfast, Networking

8:30 a.m.

Doors open

8:45 a.m.

Derek Hubbard, Emcee

Welcome & Overview of Day

8:50 a.m.

Steve Goldberg, Southwest SVP Operations & Hospitality

Welcome & Hospitality Southwest Style

9:00 a.m.

Craig Davis, VisitDallas President & CEO

Why Dallas?

9:15 a.m.

Morning Keynote - Libby Spears, Founder, Bravo CC

What do you bring to the table?

10:40 a.m.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions (Each participant selects)

James Ashworth, VP Customer Support & Services, Southwest Airlines
Inside Out: Enhanced technology for employees that elevate hospitality for customers

Jamie Murdock, VP Sales, Experient, a Maritz Global Events Company
Impact from the front line

Valerie Hope, Leadership Coach & Professional Speaker, Connect to Joy, LLC 

Empathy begins with you

Gretta Brooks, CEO & Founder, SalesBoost,LLC Top 10 ways to be innovative for emerging leaders

11:40 a.m.

Lunch break

12:45 p.m.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

1:45 p.m.

Afternoon break

2:15 p.m.

Afternoon Keynote - Dave Davlin, Speaker

The Game-Winning Three

3:15 p.m.

Closing remarks

4:00-5:30 p.m.

Graduation Party & Celebration


Inside Out: Enhanced Technology for Employees that Elevates Hospitality for Customers    
James Ashworth, Vice President of Customer Support and Services  
Southwest Airlines  

Southwest Airlines is known worldwide for its culture and hospitality and is continually evolving to meet customers and employees where they are. Join Vice President of Customer Support and Services, James Ashworth, for a look at how Southwest invests in their employees to maintain that outstanding reputation, as well as take a deep dive into leveraging technology to enhance hospitality experiences and explore key methods to be inspired to own your company culture through thoughtful initiatives.


Empathy Begins with You  
Valerie Hope, Leadership Coach  
Connect to Joy, LLC  

Science has proven that all human beings are wired for empathy. There are brain circuits specifically devoted to "feeling with others." Those specialized circuits can easily go "offline" when juggling multiple tasks and countless customer requests in a limited time. As a result, some people may find it challenging to remain connected to themselves, their colleagues and those they serve. Resulting in poor service and high stress. 

Extraordinary service performance is centered around the way team members listen and then choose to communicate with bosses, customers, colleagues and other stakeholders. In this session you'll practice remaining present and grounded during stressful situations while navigating listening and empathy to better solve conflict.  


Impact from the Front Line   
Jamie Murdock, Vice President, Sales   
Experient, a Maritz Global Events Company   

Hackathons are quickly becoming the most talked-about conference experiences, as they deliver on two key attendee expectations for events: learning and networking. In this session hosted by VisitDallas, Jamie Murdock will open his playbook to share proven techniques for tapping the collective wisdom to create potential solutions for all.  

Engaging a diverse set of perspective in constructive debate, participants will flesh out new ideas with peers during this mini hackathon. Come join this fun, interactive and competitive session!   

Challenge:  How can we ensure "front line wow impacts" occur when a customer is conducting a site inspection of Dallas? 


Top Ten Ways to Be Innovative for Emerging Leaders
Gretta Brooks
CEO & Founder, SalesBoost LLC

The battle for relevancy is the new differentiator for emerging leaders that will create a competitive advantage, growth opportunities and ultimately, career success. With the rapid development of technology and the changing business climate today, staying relevant is a challenge that all emerging leaders must take on to be innovative. Whether you're in need to learn a new skill, reskill or upskill, flexibility and change it is vital to ensure a continual and consistent approach to innovation. Learn how to be innovative, bring your best self, stay relevant and increase your hospitality intensity level. As a result of this session, you will understand how to apply the Top Ten Ways to be Innovative for your benefit both personally and professionally as well as receive an Innovation Resource Guide and Workbook to use as you continue to cultivate and grow your career in hospitality.


James Ashworth 
Vice President of Customer Support and Services  
Southwest Airlines 

James Ashworth has been in and around the airline industry for almost 30 years. His airline education started when his dad joined Eastern Airlines as a Ramp Manager in 1987 and James helped him with his city code test.  

In 1992, James started his own airline career with Ogden Aviation Services as an Appearance Technician. Two years later in 1994, James joined ValuJet as a Reservations Agent, and when ValuJet became AirTran in 1997 James continued to grow with the company. He was promoted to several leadership positions during his tenure at AirTran and became the General Manager of the Atlanta Call Center prior to joining Southwest as the Sr. Manager Center Operations in 2012. James' first major assignment at Southwest was consolidating the three AirTran call centers into one Georgia Center. James most recently served Southwest as Regional Director Center Operations and was instrumental in the successful integration of AirTran Call Center Operations into Southwest Customer Support and Services. 


Gretta Brooks
CEO & Founder, SalesBoost LLC

Gretta is a proven leader in the hospitality sales industry with 30+ years of experience running three global sales organizations, leading award-winning hotel sales teams and earning numerous sales and service awards. She developed SalesBoost after years of searching for the most effective sales training for her sales teams and not finding it anywhere. She wanted training that would be interactive and fun, show immediate results, and give her team the ability to practice, practice, practice. With the idea in place, she brought together other experts to help create a comprehensive package that uniquely trains individuals through the entire sales process.


Craig Davis 
President & CEO 

Craig T. Davis is the President & CEO of VisitDallas, the city's tourism, sales and marketing organization. He directs and manages all of VisitDallas' strategies, operations, activities and staff of more than 80 individuals as the nonprofit organization works to achieve its mission: generate convention, trade show and leisure travel business for the city of Dallas, which greatly impacts the economy and helps support more than 65,000 jobs.

Davis has worked in the hospitality industry for more than three decades. He began his tenure as President & CEO of VisitDallas in January 2020. Prior to VisitDallas, since 2012, he served as President & CEO of VisitPittsburgh. During his 19-year career at VisitPittsburgh, Craig also served as Executive Director of Convention Sales and Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Davis' extensive background in the hospitality industry includes experience in marketing and sales at hotels in Pittsburgh, Chicago and Toronto.

Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Davis became a U.S. citizen in 2001. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. In 2002, Davis became a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) and now serves as a course instructor for its leadership program. The CDME status is recognized within the convention and visitors bureau industry as its highest educational achievement. Today, he serves as the Chairman of Destinations International Association.


Dave Davlin (keynote speaker) 

Over 25 years ago, Dave Davlin began bringing smiles to faces with a form of entertainment he developed as a young boy. His amazing ability with basketballs even landed his name and picture in the 1990 Guinness Book of World Records. Combining his entertainment ability with a powerful message of contribution and service, Dave has made a difference in the lives of thousands, and his impact continues to grow each year through speaking and writing.  

Steve Goldberg
Senior Vice President, Operations & Hospitality 
Southwest Airlines   

As Southwest Airlines' Senior Vice President Operations & Hospitality, Steve Goldberg serves the world's finest operations employees that deliver the best hospitality and customer Service in the airline industry. With more than 25 years of experience in the airline industry, Steve joined Southwest in 1996 as a customer service agent in Las Vegas. Since that time, he's had the joy of leading people across Southwest's operations.  

In 2013, Steve assumed the responsibility of Managing Director of Ground Operations. A year later, Steve was appointed Vice President of Ground Operations, and then in 2017 he became Senior Vice President Ground Operations & Provisioning. Today, Steve oversees the strategic planning and operational execution of Southwest's Ground Operations & Provisioning, Cargo & Charters, and Customer Support & Services Departments, as well as champions hospitality efforts for all Southwest employees.

Valerie Hope  
Leadership Coach & Professional Speaker  
Connect to Joy, LLC  

Being a curious and creative learner has set Valerie Hope apart in becoming an accomplished leadership coach and professional speaker. She regards life as the best teacher and the human being living it, as the star pupil. Her winning combination features engaging with individuals and groups to empower them to discover, develop and contribute their talents to the planet. She has a gift for activating people to achieve their potential in creative ways. 

Valerie received her executive coaching certification from UC Berkeley and holds a B.A. in Public Relations and Spanish from the University of Alabama.  

For more than 20 years combined Valerie has worked for the international leadership program, Up with People, the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce and Hyatt Corporation in roles focused on public relations, training, recruitment and leadership development. In 2018, she cartwheeled into the world of entrepreneurship as the CEO of her company, Connect to Joy, LLC. Her clients comprise organizations such as: Headington Companies, Mujeres de HACE (Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement,) Enaxis Digital Consulting, Women's Hospitality Network, International Performance Management Institute (IPMI), The Bank & Trust, and Bed Bath and Beyond.  


Derek K. Hubbard 
Sr. Specialist  
Southwest Airlines  

Derek K. Hubbard's career began when Michael J. Fox, Katie Couric, and Tina Brown told a then 20-something to pursue a career in broadcast and media. Now, Derek is privileged to tell stories for social and digital mediums as a member of Southwest Airlines' External Communications Team. Derek's work has been recognized when PR News named him a 30 and Under Rising PR Star. 

Whether on-camera hosting, interviewing people or navigating music and entertainment content, Derek chases stories that transport people to new worlds, while satisfying his hunger to tell unique stories.  

Jamie Murdock 
Vice President of Sales 
Experient, a Maritz Global Events Company   

Jamie Murdock is Vice President of Sales at Experient, a Maritz Global Events Company and has responsibility of leading the strategic sales team, who cultivates new customers for the organization. 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 was recognized as the Salesperson of the Year and received its CEO's Leadership Excellence Award. Most recently Jamie was awarded Citizen of the Year by Experient and named one of the Top 500 People in Events by BizBash in 2018. 


Libby Spears (keynote speaker) 
Bravo CC  

Libby Spears, the founder of Bravo CC, a Communication and Consulting Venture, is an educator, liberator, and entertainer. Libby developed her talent for talking, educating, helping people and making them laugh into her greatest strengths over the years and carries her Texas hospitality with her all over the world. When working with companies and leaders who want to tap the power of their communication to stand out in a crowded and competitive marketplace, Libby challenges leaders to answer "What do we bring the table?" as a simple and memorable strategy to stand out among the rest.  


It was an incredible experience! The class was just what I needed to get out of the rut I was in and get excited again about creating moments that matter. I've never attended anything like it and I've been sharing it with my team every day. Thank you for putting in the long hours to create such a memorable class, I can't wait for 2019!
Karolina Empey, Topgolf, 2018 MasterClass Attendee