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Eric Blanc and Phelps Hope Join the 2013 CMP Board of Directors

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Can you explain what the CMP Board does and how you see yourself fitting into that picture? 

Eric Blanc: My understanding of the CMP Board is that it provides guidance and leadership on all aspects of the CMP program.  These tasks include, but are not limited to, marketing and public relations to ensure that the CMP designation remains prominent in the hospitality industry, as well as design and development of testing criteria for the application and exam.

Phelps Hope:  The CMP Board is a representation of the different segments of the conventions industry, and the members role is to guide the growth of the CMP designation throughout the many facets of our industry to ensure the industry is able to maintain a professional level of standards and help guide members’ development.

How has your member organization benefitted from being a member of CIC and why did it join? 

Eric:  CIC remains the leader in the hospitality industry for industry related associations.  CSPI is in the middle of a growth stage that can only be enhanced by the our membership in CIC.  The ability to learn from other associations that are currently members brings invaluable resources to CSPI as we continue our efforts to grow and provide services to our members. 

Phelps:  An AMC is a corporation that is in business to be an association, and managing conferences and conventions is primary to an AMC’s duties. It is important to AMCs that the highest standards are adhered to in all aspects of the association management discipline, so it benefits AMCi to be a member to help its members maintain the high standards within meetings management as they do in all other aspects of their AMC duties. 

Why did you want to be on the CMP Board of Directors and what do you hope to accomplish? 

Eric: I have always been interested in serving the hospitality industry.  I have served in leadership positions in several industry associations and this appointment is a natural progression for me.  I hope to bring a fresh set of ideas and a different view point to an already dynamic group of professionals. 

Phelps: I chose to be on the Board to help wherever I can to grow the CMP designation throughout the AMC community, and to expand globally.

What specific qualities, knowledge or past experiences do you bring to this appointment that will help you be successful? 

Eric: With 20 years of experience in various areas of the industry, I feel like I bring a much different view point than most.  With experience in managing events, producing events, selling events, as well as a tenure as a general services contractor salesperson, I feel like my background brings a plethora of practical knowledge that can play a role in the future development of the CMP process. 

Phelps:  Having worked for many years in the international hotel industry, owned a corporate meetings & events production company, owned a DMC, and currently working at the executive level for a global association management company, I have the unique experience to understand the many segments of our industry and perhaps can help lend advice from those experiences.

What major changes in the industry do you see on the horizon and how can CMPs stay ahead of the curve?

Phelps:  Technology is the biggest ongoing change, with the globalization of our industry and the generational influences being the biggest other potential for changes on our doorstep.

You have been involved in the meetings and convention industry since 1992. How have you been able to stay relevant in the marketplace and/or current in the ever-changing landscape, particularly when it comes to embracing social media?

Eric: I stay current with the industry through many avenues.  In my current position as Director of Sales, Marketing and Convention Services, I read quite a bit via electronic newsletters as well as traditional print magazines.  Additionally, I attend several industry educational events throughout the course of the year.  These include PCMA, MPI, ESPA and CSPI Annual Conferences.  All of these present a different educational agenda which helps me stay on top of what’s current.  As for social media, I currently manage the Tampa Convention Center’s website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Foursquare accounts.

How do you spend your downtime? 

Eric: My downtime is spent primarily with family and friends.  I play basketball and golf when time permits. 

Phelps: Downtime for me is travel. I love to see this world and all the wonders it holds. I figure, if someone lives there, then there must be some redeeming value and I want to see it.

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