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Featured Article
Roger Rickard to CMPs: Communicating Your Value Has Never Been More Crucial
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March 11, 2013

In This Issue

Featured Article
CMP Events
Global Perspective
CMP Program News
Industry News
Research and Trends
CMPs in the News
CMP on the Road
On The Move

As the voices attacking the meetings industry get louder, so should the responses from CMPs advocating the value of our work. Leading advocacy professional Roger Rickard, President and Chief Advocate at Revent and Founder of Voices in Advocacy, calls CMPs to action and offers a preview of his Conclave keynote session, where he will show meeting professionals exactly how to be their own best advocates.


What is the biggest challenge the meetings industry faces in the next 12 months?


The relevance of meetings and our ability as an industry to speak out on the vital role meetings and conference play in advancing our society. This is not a new challenge for the industry; however, it has become a front and center issue due to the climate and actions in Washington: The tightening of the approval process for travel and conference planning within the federal government. The media slant that meetings are about "wine or tasty dishes" or "boondoggles in the sun." These are examples of what we must do to move the dialogue from social attacks to key objectives such as sparking innovation, fostering collaboration, and providing unique learning and training opportunities.


What is your biggest frustration with what you observe in the industry today?

Two things immediately come to mind. First, education within the meetings industry - we must provide people with a proper platform to learn and grow. Second, it is the understanding that the meetings industry is in fact its own industry and not a subset or part of another industry. Meetings, conferences and events are a vital component to all successful organizations regardless of their product or service, their industry, across any boundary, and in any socio-economic system.

As a keynoter for the Convention Industry Council's Conclave '13 in June for CMPs, what message are you planning to deliver to them, and what advice can you give them specifically in their efforts to elevate awareness and professionalism in our industry?

The message is "The Value of the Meeting Professional." All meeting professionals should be able to quickly and effectively answer this question, as posed by the leader of their organization, "What value do you bring my organization?" The answer might not be what you think it is. It is, however, vitally important to not only know the answer but to additionally have the ability to effectively communicate your answer. I am excited to be able to deliver this to CMPs who have already made a commitment to advancing the standards of their industry through their accreditation.

Read the entire interview on

CMP Events
At the Spokane Convention Center, It's Very Easy Being Green

Spokane, Washington, is widely known for its fresh air, relaxing environment and the overall high quality of life enjoyed by its residents. Those things not only make Spokane an attractive place to live and visit, but also make it an increasingly desirable place to hold meetings and events. And the Spokane Convention Center, the city’s premier hosting destination, is helping make it easier for those meetings to mirror the city itself by going green.

Originally built on a "brownfield" (contaminated) site, which was rehabilitated and cleared of contaminants and pollutants, the Spokane Convention Center is eco-friendly, literally, from the ground up. Located on the scenic Spokane River, the convention center even has historical environmental significance - the first environmental world fair, Expo ’74, was held there. Now, the Spokane Convention Center boasts being one of the first buildings in the greater Spokane area to be awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) rating; it is also only one of three convention centers in the United States to achieve such an award. In fact, the Spokane Convention Center has integrated green practices in its day-to-day operations, using recycled materials and local resources, conserving energy and water use, and improving the air quality inside the center, making it a healthy environment for both employees and guests. During the 2013 Conclave, attendees will experience the benefits of these methods and see, first hand, the seamless integration of environmentally friendly practices with successful large-scale event hosting.

Once in Spokane, attendees will notice that the convention center is located in the heart of downtown. As such, the "Lilac City," as it’s affectionately known, is easily accessible by mass transit, bike trails and pedestrian walkways. That convenience, coupled with its close proximity to dining, shopping and entertainment, go a long way to reducing energy and emissions.

Inside the Spokane Convention Center, the green measures flow so inconspicuously with the décor, and compliment it so well, that they often go unnoticed. The abundance of windows serves a dual purpose- providing beautiful natural lighting and reducing the center’s electrical needs. Attendees may take care to notice the well kept accommodations, maintained through use of the center’s "green" cleaning policy, which employs the use of cleaning products that meet certain Green Seal and EPA standards, thus reducing environmental damage and guests’ exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals. Clean air and water are also a priority. The indoor air is monitored for carbon dioxide concentrations and smoking is prohibited within twenty-five feet of any of the center’s entrances. Drinking local water is encouraged and supplied by the Spokane Aquifer, which is the sole source of drinking water for the 500,000 people in the region. At the Spokane Convention Center, even the dining experience is committed to being "green." Centerplace, the food and beverage provider, purchases local fare from nearby farms and businesses whenever possible and donates excess food and beverage left over from events to local shelters and soup kitchens. The convention center also has a composting program, a recycling program and works diligently to reduce paper consumption.

The beauty of Spokane is not only in its picturesque views and lush greenery, but also in its commitment to valuing its environment and keeping it clean. So, when in Spokane, attendees will have the opportunity to see and be a part of that process, while learning more about green meetings during the 2013 Conclave session "APEX Sustainable Meetings," with Amy Spatrisano of MeetGreen. Additionally, knowledgeable staff at the convention center will be available to consult with any CMPs interested in more information on conducing, or incorporating green practices into their events, showing you that it really is easy being green.

For more information on how to make your meeting or convention more sustainable, check out these helpful tips, provided by Visit Spokane.

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Global Perspective
Shirley Chang Shares How An Internship with CIC Broadened Her Perspective

As a Finance major in my senior year of college, I came to the U.S. all    the way from Tunghai University in Taiwan. Taiwan is a beautiful country where liberal diversity and multiculturalism thrive. I see a lot of similarities between the convention industry and Taiwan. I think that is what makes me feel like home when I am almost 8,000 miles away.


Out of the kindness of Talley Management Group and Prudential Foundation, I received a scholarship to participate in The Washington Center’s spring training program, which allows me to take academic courses and work as an intern and a global citizen here in the United States.

I am currently interning at TMG where I work with the Convention Industry Council on the highly prestigious "Hall of Leaders" awards program. I am surprised to find that, in only a month, this internship experience has actually re-navigated my goals and shifted my future career path to a totally different direction.

Before I got this internship opportunity, I wanted to work as a composer or PR/Communications professional at music centers as I love music and have been composing songs for my church back at home. However, this internship experience has lifted my career planning to a new horizon.

Back at home where I’m from, the meetings industry is virtually unrecognized. I didn’t know people actually treat convention and event planning as a profession, or even an industry. As I come to know more about meeting and convention planning, this industry simply fascinates me! I’ve never seen a business like this where the momentum is jointly driven by highly dependent interconnections among multiple industries and sectors of society. Due to the unique nature of dynamic diversity in the meetings industry, everyone is able to contribute regardless of their profession or background.

Through the past month of my internship, I’ve been looking through the documents of "Hall of Leaders" inductees from the past 25 years and I’m amazed at how they shaped the industry with innovations from various fields of profession. Whether it is financially defining the ROI (Return on Investment) on conventions and meetings, implementing technology like WWW (World Wide Web) and online registration systems to the industry, or strategically growing an originally small hotel to one of the most diversified financial corporations in business, the passion and the diversity of this industry invited me in!

By the end of this program, I hope I’ll be able to take advantage of more learning and networking opportunities in meetings and hospitality and eventually become part of this wonderful industry as a professional in the future!

Visit Spokane
Commentary: Sequestration Provides an Opportunity for the Meetings Industry to Get Stronger, Not Surrender

The recent decision to allow a government sequester to take effect sent shock waves throughout agencies around the country and created ripple effects in a number of related industries, among them, those of us who work in meetings and conventions.

The meetings industry, which has increasingly been under attack in recent years, will be hard hit from multiple fronts – delays in airline flights and security wait times, making it more difficult to properly plan logistics, , increased scrutiny of conference travel affecting attendance by government participants, as well as bearing the brunt of public outrage. In fact, in a recent "Travel Weekly" article, Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association is quoted as saying, "Travel has the very real potential of becoming the face of the March 1 sequester cuts." And so, the industry must gird itself for tough times ahead.

With a growing national debt that stands at upwards of $16 trillion, we all understand the need to trim the budget, but issuing mandatory, across-the-board spending cuts, a number of which will specifically target travel and meeting expenses, may end up causing more harm than good.

Travel has most recently been put under the microscope since a 2010 report detailing excessive spending at a General Services Administration (GSA) agency conference held in Las Vegas. The public outcry, professional embarrassment and negative publicity prompted the Office of Management and Budget to require agencies to reduce travel spending significantly through 2016. Agencies are now more carefully scrutinizing the need for travel, requiring additional approvals and, in some cases, denying travel altogether in favor of web broadcasting or other means of disseminating the information to employees. But even with more stringent regulations and the enactment of a significant number of cuts, agencies cannot seem to shake the GSA stigma; in fact, GSA recently cancelled its 2013 Training and Expo, citing the current fiscal climate and the need for all agencies to make tough spending cuts. And meetings continue to be viewed by many under a harsh and unforgiving light.

While cutting travel spending will indeed save money and trim the budget, it also comes at a significant cost. Virtual meetings and online training certainly have value, and a place in the industry; however, the importance of face-to-face meetings does not decline as fiscal uncertainties increase. The results of a recent study conducted by the IMEX Group, in partnership with the Meetology Group, speak to the higher quality and number of ideas gleaned from face-to-face sessions versus meetings conducted over the phone or by video chat. Soon, companies may feel pressure, or a desire, to opt out of face-to-face meetings in favor of virtual events or no meetings at all And saving money at the cost of employee education and professional development is not really a cost savings at all and can end up hindering an organization’s growth and competitiveness in the long run.

As certified meeting professionals, we will be called on more and more to not only justify our services, but to do more with a lot less. Our challenge, therefore, is to be flexible and swift enough to adapt to what may become a hostile environment, driven by volatile global economic conditions, and provide the knowledge and leadership to guide this industry, and those who depend on it, into the future. The economic climate may not improve for the foreseeable future, but we form a powerful base and must continue to advocate the value of events and be committed to promoting professional practices and facilitating the exchange of information and ideas. This is why it is also important that we value our own continuing education and training and take advantage of opportunities like the 2013 CMP Conclave, where we can gather, face-to-face, with other CMPs to discuss the current climate and put our heads together, with guidance from leading industry professionals, to come up with best way to move our industry forward. To that end, we have confirmed meetings industry advocate Roger Rickard as one of this year’s keynote speakers. His session on "Meeting Professionals as Advocates" and the round table discussion he will moderate on "The Value of the Meeting Professional" are not to be missed. Invest in the kind of professional development you deserve and one that will help move you and the industry forward.

Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP is the Chief Executive Officer of the  Convention Industry Council. 

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CMP Program News
Welcome to the New CMP Class


Meet Gayle Dahlman, Certification Director of the CMP Program


Last month, Gayle Dahlman joined CIC as the Certification Director of the CMP Program. With nearly a decade of certification experience, Gayle comes to the program with a wide breadth of knowledge and a repository of fresh ideas. From strategic management and positioning of certifications to expertise in keeping certifications current with rapidly evolving professions to best practices in program administration, Gayle’s experiences will help propel the CMP program to its next levels. Here, she shares with CMP Today her goals for the CMP program over the next year and a little bit about herself.

You have an extensive background in the certification field. How do you see those experiences helping you in your new role at CIC?

 I’ve worked with a wide range of certification programs, including established and new certifications. I hope to bring these experiences to the CMP program to help maintain the program’s reputation while also leading it into the future. Whether it’s building the program’s global engagement or addressing emerging professional specializations, I believe that my experience will be an asset to CIC. At my most recent position, for instance, I directed the creation of the new certification, which was launched in March 2011. I will use this experience to help develop the new healthcare subspecialty certification for CIC.

What will be your main focus over the course of your first year with CIC?

Ensuring that the CMP remains the preeminent certification for meeting professionals and advancing the globalization strategy is very important. I will also be focusing on communicating the value of certification, marketing the program and working with our wonderful CMP community.

What’s a typical day for you like?

For now, my biggest goal is to roll out the new subspecialty to our CMPs working in the healthcare meeting planning field. I am working with a number of dedicated subject matter experts on this program and welcome anyone with an interest in this subject to contact me (hint, hint).

You do not currently hold a certification as a meeting professional. Do you anticipate that being a challenge in your new role? If so, how will you address it?

Each new position is a challenge and I look forward to learning more about the CMP certification as we work to expand the program. My role is to ensure that the CMP program adheres to best practices in the certification field, which is not profession-specific. It’s the role of the CMP Board and other meeting professionals to provide subject matter expertise. Together, we make a perfect team.

Share with us something about yourself we wouldn’t be able to guess by looking at you.

Although I take my job seriously, in my off hours, I can be pretty goofy. Maybe because I’m from New York, my humor leans a little to the sarcastic side. And I like to think I can take it as well as give it. I enjoy golfing, but am not particularly good at it. (I like to say that what I lack in talent, I make up for in enthusiasm.) I love anything related to the beach and my dream is to one day retire to a golf community near the shore.

Industry News
IAEE Collective Announces Its First-Ever Women's Leadership Forum
LGBT Travel Takes a Front Seat at State Department Symposium
Research and Trends
IMEX Study Find Greater Benefits in Face-to-Face Meetings
CMPs in the News
Naomi Wagschal, CAE, CMP Inducted Into the Canadian Association of Exposition Management Hall of Fame

Naomi Wagschal, CAE, CMP, who works as the Meetings and Exhibitions Business Manager for The College of Family Physicians of Canada, was recently inducted into the Canadian Association of Exposition Management (CAEM) Hall of Fame. The CAEM is the national association for professionals involved in the production, management, and planning of trade and consumer shows, and for events of a similar size and scale. Members of the Hall of Fame are industry leaders who have achieved prominence for both the honour they bring to the exposition industry and as a result of their activities within CAEM. Each winner is an industry professional committed to quality and excellence, as well as a mentor who shares wisdom and trade knowledge for the betterment of the association as a whole. "Our inductee is a champion of CAEM," said Sheila Wong, CEM, in her introductory speech of Wagschal. "She has always given of herself to CAEM, selflessly, selflessly and without her own agenda. She continues to serve humbly." Wagschal, who has been a member of CAEM since 1997, and who has served in a number of capacities since that time, including on its executive board, was among three inductees this year.

CMP on the Road
See Us At...
Destination Showcase
March 14, 2013
Washington, DC
CIC will present an information session and participate in a panel discussion on industry certifications. CIC will also be available in the exhibit hall at booth 142 to answer your questions about CMP, the Hall of Leaders, APEX and more!
On The Move
CMPs On the Move

John Ehlenfeldt, CMP is now the Vice President of Sales & Marketing with Huntington Beach Marketing & Visitors Bureau.

Blanca Ferreris, CMP, CMM was promoted to Senior Manager, Meetings & Events for the Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS) in New York, NY.

Jennifer King, CMP was promoted to Manager, Corporate Events at SYNNEX Corporation in Greenville, SC.

Ann Luketic, CMP is now the Marketing Event Manager at Equity Trust Company in Berea, Ohio.

Allison N. Marrero, CMP was promoted from Senior Sales Manager at Hyatt Regency Savannah to Director, Strategic Accounts, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts.

Lindsay Padilla, CMP is now Assistant Manager of Meetings for the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Christine Pauley, CMP, CEM is now a Project Manager at Maritz Travel Company.

Maureen Platt, CMP is now the Conference Manager at PentaVision, LLC in Ambler, PA.

W. Alan Skipper, CAE, CMP attained the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in January. Mr. Skipper is the Director of the Specialty Society, Meeting and Education Services for the North Carolina Medical Society in Raleigh, NC.

Mary Ann Torres, CMP is now Senior Event Manager at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Candis Yeager, CMP, CEM is now Events Coordinator at Triad Retail Media in Tampa, FL.

Made an awesome career move? Let us help you celebrate! Send the details of your latest career triumph to And while you're at it, be sure to log into and update your official CMP record.


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