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Shall We Gather?

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As I write this month’s column, I have just returned from the CMP Conclave at the MGM National Harbor where more than 400 events professionals gathered. As always, it was a wonderful experience and brought a new perspective.

For me, it started on Sunday attending our CMP Governance Commission meeting. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting four of the five incoming commission members who were invited to attend and observe. I am very excited for all of us as I believe their broad experience and resources will result in many fine contributions to the CMP program. I hope some of you had opportunity to meet them at Conclave.

Also on Sunday, more than a dozen of our colleagues had volunteered with CMP exam development by participating in item review.This is a long day that starts about 7:30 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. I made sure to stop by and visit with these individuals and to thank them for their hard work. (And yes, I also wanted the free lunch that came along with it!) These folks are truly the unsung heroes of our certification, giving their time and knowledge to support the integrity and standards of the exam.

Of course, congratulations are in order for the inaugural class of CMPs who earned the Sustainable Event Professional Certificate.This program, which took place Sunday and Monday, was very well received. You will hear about more opportunities to earn this certificate over the next few months.

Monday’s Opening Program with Pegine Echevaria was both invigorating and enlightening. What a fantastic way to kick off the event. MGM National Harbor raised the bar again at the Welcome Reception with over-the-top food, beverage and décor, affording us a great opportunity to connect and network with friends, both old and new.

For example, the buffet line. Do you ever think about the people you randomly meet in a buffet line? I do, and maybe it’s because I spend a lot of time at the buffet. Honestly, I met some great people, and isn’t that a major part of why we all attend events? We engage and learn from each other. We depend on each other — we push to innovate, and we help curate new opportunities.

Tuesday gave us a full day of learning with sold out experiential sessions, concurrent breakouts offering everything from the latest on music licensing to successfully navigating global issues to how sharing diverse perspectives helps build productive and lasting relationships.There was truly something for everyone and then some.

One of the highlights for me was the luncheon general session and open mic conversation with Michael Dominguez. Led by our Master of Ceremonies, Glenn Thayer, it was informative, intuitive and thought-provoking. Having Michael available to provide immediate responses to attendee questions and concerns created a valuable exchange and dialogue.

We finished the afternoon with a meet-and-greet in the Sponsor Marketplace, again with great food and beverage. As you know, I am Italian, which means it is always about the food.

Wednesday morning we continued with even more current and intriguing breakouts before reconvening for the closing keynote and brunch. We have all had the privilege of experiencing many great keynote speakers, but I must say that listening to our final CMP Conclave keynote, Jade Simmons, was without a doubt one of the best. A big wow!

This year’s Conclave hit all the high notes.The Conclave Education Committee led by Carol Norfleet, CMP, and her team of dedicated, passionate volunteers created an experience we will carry with us for some time. I want to give a special thank you to them, the Events Industry Council staff and all the Conclave attendees gathering together to change our perspective and re-energize the commitment to our profession.

I’m already looking forward to Birmingham 2018. Hope to see y’all there. (And, yes, I said that with a Boston accent!)

My very best to all of you,

Matt DiSalvo, CMP


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