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Chair's corner

By Barbara Connell, CMP, CAE

Believe it or not, I was one of the first people to sit for the CMP exam.

I was working at the American Dietetic Association (ADA) — now known as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — in the early 1980s when I heard about this new designation. Immediately, I wondered what it was and how it could help me do a better job in my position at the ADA.

I’ve always been interested in events, conferences and exhibitions and it was important for me to do the best I could in whatever role I held. When I realised the value the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) could give me, I leapt at the chance to be in the very first CMP exam class in 1984. I even remember one of the questions on that first exam: “What is Riesling?” I knew that one!

Since then, I’ve been involved with the Events Industry Council (EIC). This November, I was elected as Chair of the CMP Governance Commission at EIC. It’s an honour to hold this position, not only because of my personal mission to move this industry forward, but because this organisation has been part of my life for so long.

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Featured articles
By Nicole Brusewitz, CMP
For many years, I assumed that stress and exhaustion were just part of the meeting professional package. And the higher your standards for success, the greater the exhaustion. Convinced there had to be a better way in this profession I loved so much, I looked back to my roots in the wellness field and began testing those strategies in the toughest event settings. 
Imagine being clear-headed if a guest were to go into cardiac arrest in a room filled with hundreds of people, or keeping those negotiation skills strong when your caterer runs out of food. In the ever-demanding role of a meeting professional, it is more important than ever to have a toolkit of strategies to keep you on top of your game, not just for yourself but for all your event stakeholders.   
Initially, I was quiet about my practices thinking they may be perceived as self-indulgent. However, I came to realise that it wasn’t just about me feeling more rested and energised, it was that I could be a better decision-maker and problem-solver. I then began to see how I was making a positive impact on the event’s bottom line and event outcomes.
When facing uncertainty or crisis, identifying reliable and timely sources of information is critical to making responsible decisions. The recent outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus nCoV has raised global concerns that will have both short-term and long-term impacts. The Events Industry Council has gathered some important resources for CMPs to help address coronavirus.
Events and programmes
The IMEX-EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award has been designed to celebrate event professionals driving sustainability forward through innovation, collaboration and idea sharing. The award recognises the meeting or project owner, and other stakeholders such as the planner, the venue and other key suppliers, rather than individual achievements by a single supplier or event.
Submissions are now open for the 2020 IMEX-EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award. The deadline for applications is today (31 January 2020), however, once started, applicants have until 7 February 2020 to complete documentation.
Should you have any questions, please contact
Today’s landscape is changing to demand greater corporate citizenship. Many leading organisations are already demonstrating their commitment to responsible practices by integrating them in their event design. Join us to learn how you can join the growing community of event professionals who are taking urgent action to address global sustainability concerns.

Learning objectives:
  • Hear from the UN Climate secretariat about the urgent need to take action for climate
  • Hear inspiring case studies of event organisers who are improving corporate, environmental and social justice performance with sustainable practices
  • Learn how to leverage your organisation’s sustainability mandate to create sustainable events
  • Learn how to effectively communicate your event’s sustainability story to better engage your stakeholders
  • David Fiss, CMP, Director of Business Development, Partnerships & Event Strategy, Sustainable Brands
  • Meghan Green, SAP Global Events, Marketing Communications
  • Hannah Messenger, Global Event Strategist, UN SDG Action Campaign
  • Miguel Naranjo, Programme Officer, Climate Neutral Now Lead, UN Climate
  • Moderator: Mariela McIlwraith, CMP, CMM, MBA, Director, Industry Advancement, Events Industry Council
IMEX is calling on the whole business events community to help make transformational industry change. As part of their NATURE Talking Point research, powered by Marriott International, they’d like to understand how climate change, sustainability and the circular economy are changing the way you think, travel, work and organise events.
Please share your thoughts, insights, and experiences in this short survey. The first findings will be shared freely at IMEX in Frankfurt in May.
The closing date is 14 February.
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TCF Center
CMPs in the news
Industry leader Jim Monroe, CMP, CSEP, passed away on 31 December 2019. He and his wife, Jayna Monroe, CMP, founded Dallas-based J Monroe Designs in 2003.
According to Special Events, Monroe was a fixture in the events industry since the 1970s. He also was a renowned educator, writing the college textbook Art of the Event. The book received the Esprit Award from the International Special Events Society as Best Industry Contribution in 2006.
A celebration of life is planned for Monroe at Canton Hall in Dallas on 10 February.
Three CMPs were named to the board of directors for the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE). The association represents caterers, event planners and event professionals. Those named were:
  • President-Elect Morgan Montgomery, CMP, CPCE; Paisley & Jade, Richmond, Va.
  • Vice President James Filtz, CMP, CPCE; The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, New Orleans, La.
  • Past President Ed DiAntonio, CMP, CPCE; Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
To see a full list, visit
On the move
Have you been quoted in an article? Do you have some exciting news to share?
Contact us at and we can share it with the leading individuals and companies involved in the events industry!
©2020, Events Industry Council. All rights reserved.
Published by Naylor Association Solutions in association with the Events Industry Council.



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