The Room Block Podcast with Jen Salerno 

383.7 million. That’s the number of global podcast listeners there are… per month! Over the years, podcasts have become an invaluable resource to share your knowledge with others, or even just chat about shared experiences with like-minded individuals — kind of like what I just did with the wonderful Jen Salerno on her podcast, The Room Block!

Jen’s podcast is unlike any other I’ve been on in the events industry, so I was beyond honored when she had me on as a guest! We talked about all things entertainment, namely about how my earliest experiences “performing” in my childhood kitchen and sweating in the Virginia summer sun evolved into what are now my biggest strengths. Here’s a quick preview of the podcast, which is out now!

But First, More About Jen Salerno! 

Jen Salerno, CMP, DES is a 20-year veteran of the hospitality and events industry — which, from one long-time professional event emcee to another, is a major feat! Her expertise spans a variety of niches, including hotel sales and operations, citywide convention hotel program development, convention and visitors bureau (CVB) services, and even contract negotiation.

Throughout her impressive career, Jen has crossed paths with and consulted for some of the biggest trade shows in the country. Her specialty in strengthening the relationships between event professionals and the hospitality community is unmatched and is part of the reason why we were put into contact in the first place. Jen is an old friend of Debi Kinney, who’s currently my VP of Sales and Operations, and also has a robust background in the meetings and event industry.

Today, Jen is the host of The Room Block podcast, which draws a ton of inspiration from her widespread career. Jen is also the owner of JTS Connect, LLC, where she is a fellow professional event emcee as well as a facilitator and moderator for live and virtual events. With so much in common, I knew I would have a fantastic time chatting with Jen on her show!

The Buzz on The Room Block Podcast

The Room Block podcast is the space where hospitality and event professionals meet each week to learn more about what they do in their roles and their space in the industry. Almost every episode features guests from all facets of the industry, from Thom Singer to me, Jeff Civillico! Other episodes, dubbed “The Courtesy Block” are bite-sized bursts of best practices and tips from Jen herself. 

I could not help but laugh when Jen called me — ME! — the most famous guest she’s ever had on the Room Block Podcast. Though, to be fair, she did base her judgment on my Wikipedia page… which is pretty robust! But to be honest, I was just happy to be in such fantastic company with the other The Room Block guests and Jen, who is such a force in the industry. 

You can check out The Room Block wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts: 

“Entertaining Events & Impactful Experiences” with ME!

As I spoke with Jen, I was struck by how much my unique past contributes to my career today. We discussed how our past chapters connect to the present, and how sometimes small moments from our past are ultimately our “missing puzzle piece” or evidence of a grand plan. Jen and I are both in a self-described period of momentum, and it was a joy to learn more about how we got there!

Something that Jen wrote in her description of this podcast episode, titled “Entertaining Events & Impactful Experiences,” that truly stuck with me is how my earliest struggles paved the way for my current ability to perform under pressure and engage an audience. What I do each day is bring people together through entertainment, which I’ve done since I was 10-years-old. 

3 Highlights from The Room Block Podcast Episode 

While I don’t want to spoil the episode for those who haven’t listened yet (keyword, YET!), I couldn’t resist the chance to pull a few highlights to share on the blog. Here are three instances of how my past experiences helped mold me into the professional event emcee and entertainer I am today. 

  1. From the Kitchen to the Las Vegas Strip. When I was 10-years-old, my family and I visited my brother Gene at Harvard, where I was picked to be the volunteer for Peter, a stage performer. A few spinning plates and spotlight later, and I was in my kitchen day in and day out performing my newest juggling tricks for anyone else who would watch. Even then, my ultimate dream was to land on the Las Vegas Strip, where I eventually became a Headliner a decade later. 
  2. The Art of Faking it Til You Make It. When Jen asked how I was able to get performing jobs so young, my answer was simple — fake it ‘til you make it! I did dozens of free shows purely out of passion, just to get the experience. I wasn’t paid, but I performed in local talent shows, at school, for birthday parties, down the block, you name it. And what do you know, I finally made it!
  3. It’s Not Enough to Perform, You Must Entertain. My second “performing job” was in Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia during the blaring August heat. I learned very quickly that park visitors didn’t want a juggler, they wanted a performer. So, I began to learn how to engage and connect with people on the job, which are skills I leverage to this day. 

Looking for More Podcast Recommendations? 

If you’re a huge fan of podcasts like me, I’ve got you covered with a few other recommendations similar to The Room Block podcast that you may enjoy. Once you’ve tuned into Jen’s latest episodes, including Entertaining Events & Impactful Experiences with me, check out these other features. 

Think I could be a good fit for your meetings or events podcast? Reach out today!