MPI Potomac FYI
New Member & Volunteer Spotlight

Board Director: Shelli Vasser Gilliam, CMP, SEPC, Vasser Gilliam LLC

Co-Chair: Sigrid Vélez-Nelson, Senior Sales Manager, Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay


Co-Chair: Carla Fernandez, CMP, Physicians Program Manager at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery

The Career Development Committee is led by Co-Chairs Sigrid Velez-Nelson and Carla Fernandez, CMP, and includes three awesome, dedicated committee volunteers — Carla Cobos Hull, CMP, MBA; Kerry Lambert, CMP, and Renee Stake, CMP. Shelli Vasser Gilliam, CMP, is the board director, leadership & career development. The committee coordinates the CMP Winter Boot Camp as well as the CMP spring and fall 10-week sessions.

This year, they have had many successes including securing speakers for all of the courses and managing the CMP Winter Bootcamp in early January during the first snow storm of 2019. They attribute much of their success to the volunteers, sponsors and network. This committee has learned that it's important to attend MPI educational sessions and industry networking events so that you can meet and engage with members who share a similar passion for career development. They have consistently secured many of the same facilitators for each study group. One challenge the committee is facing is that class sizes have become smaller. They would love to see more participants who are interested in achieving their certification.

The Career Development Committee is looking for members able to help coordinate details of study group sessions and members with their CMP to facilitate future sessions. If you are interested in joining this committee or would like more information, please contact Co-Chairs Sigrid Valez at and Carla Fernandez at

Virginia Beach CVB
You deserve a new perspective on meetings
Virginia Beach is more than a top meeting destination with unbeatable service. It’s a real game-changer in how you see a great meeting experience. Offering an abundance of modern amenities, unique venues, and timeless coastal appeal, Virginia Beach will give you a new perspective on meetings excellence– all just a short drive or train ride away.
Plan your Virginia Beach meeting today!
Galveston Island CVB
News & Announcements

Creating Positive Change with Diversity & Inclusion

Why does diversity and inclusion matter in the event and hospitality industry? Research has shown that diversity improves business results for clients, teams and employees and a more inclusive environment proves to be more innovative. An industry that hears and embraces many voices and perspectives will shape better outcomes and a stronger future for the meeting and hospitality industry. Join us for a dynamic panel conversation where diversity and inclusion professionals from various perspectives explore key issues and best practices to advance our organizations.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore the impact of dversity and inclusion in the workplace.
  • Discover how inclusion can foster innovation.
  • Illustrate the advantages of teams with diverse generations, abilities, genders and cultures.

When:  Wednesday, March 20
            4 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Where:  The Eaton Hotel
1201 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
Metro: Metro Center (Red/Blue/Orange)

Register here!


The digital version is available here. Share what you think on our Facebook page!

Write an article for the next one and submit it to the Publications Committee.


Congratulations MPI Potomac from MPI Global! Our chapter had the highest growth of new members in December 2018 in comparison to December 2017 of ALL MPI chapters, as announced by MPI Global in January. Thank YOU for your continued support being a part of our chapter!

 ~ Maximize ROI of ANY Event (Capture It!)

    Click here to learn more

~ Inclusion: Beyond the Law for Meeting Professionals Focus on Gender, Allergies, Families, Ability,       and Class Before It Is Legally Required

    Click here to learn more

Detroit Metro CVB
The Hotel at the University of Maryland
Upcoming Events

Time to sign up for the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Study Group – 10-week session

  • Are you ready for the next step in your career?
  • Have you submitted your CMP application and been approved to take the exam? 
  • Need some study tips and tactics?

MPI Potomac will provide its CMP Study Group to review the body of knowledge covered on the exam.

When:   One night per week* between Feb. 25 – April 29

*Monday nights with three exceptions; see registration link for full schedule

Time:     5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. each night

Where:  Financial Services Institute, 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Metro Stop: Metro Center (Red line); Federal Triangle (Blue line)

More information/Register

Visit Alexandria
Get off the beaten path & meet in the unexpected

Consider a waterfront destination just minutes from D.C. alive with over 200 restaurants, boutiques and museums set amongst centuries of history. Nestled in the heart of it all, four-star boutique and conference hotels accommodate groups up to 700. Alexandria, VA, named a 2019 #3 Best Small City by Condé Nast Traveler is a destination guaranteed to excite attendees and ignite a spark in your next meeting.

Take a quick peak at Old Town’s new vibe
MACE! 2020
Join the 2019 Mid Atlantic Conference and Expo #MACE

Start 2019 right and register to join an exciting day of education and networking at MACE! Mark your calendar for Friday, Feb. 22 at the MGM National Harbor and visit to learn more. 

The Mid Atlantic Conference and Expo (MACE) is a one-day educational conference and business forum for the meetings and events industry presented by MPI Potomac. This year, we are excited to offer seven (7) CEC credits and a series of diverse sessions for everyone. We will again be using the AgendaPop app to view the entire agenda conveniently and make connections. Below are some key takeaways you can expect.

General Sessions

Opening General Session:

It’s a Multigenerational World! Are You Ready? 
By Sonia Aranza, Aranza Communications 

This engaging learning experience is considered the next generation approach to diversity and inclusion. It explores the science, research and impact of unconscious bias on personal and organizational excellence. Ms. Aranza utilizes engaging activities and media to help participants deepen their understanding of diversity and the human condition of bias. Participants become aware of the impact of bias on decision-making and learn ways to mitigate bias in order to have more inclusive results.

Attendee Key Take-Aways:

  • Deepen understanding of diversity and inclusion.
  • Understand the human condition of bias and its impact on decision-making.
  • Acquire skills and practices to evolve as an individual and as a leader.

Lunch with Keynote:

Eating at a Meeting: How to Create Safe and Inclusive F&B Environments 
By Tracy Stuckrath, Thrive! Meetings and Events | Sponsored by: MGM National Harbor

Attending an event for some is a requirement, for others a source of inspiration, others a crucial business opportunity and others an indulgent affair. For those with food allergies and other dietary restrictions, attending events like this — or any other type — is a game of chance, a tale of survival. Meeting planners spend an incredible amount of time and money on food and beverage when planning an event. Event participants with dietary restrictions do the same. But for them, it’s a game of risk. As event professionals, we are committed to providing environments where everyone is treated with the same respect, dignity and courtesy. But in today’s society, that is not necessarily true. In this session, we’ll explore ways to create unforgettable food and beverage experiences that are personal, distinctive, inclusive and devoured by your attendees.

Attendee Key Take-Aways:

  • Understand different dietary needs and successfully feed attendees with them.
  • Determine processes to work with vendors and participants on meeting needs.
  • Address challenges and obstacles that are presented circumstantially.

Closing General Session:

Out with the Old (Media): Business and Marketing in the Snapchat Era
By Joanna Coles, former chief content officer, Hearst Magazines

With her signature sharp wit and humor, Joanna Coles shares anecdotes and expertise from a career spanning traditional media to the cutting-edge world of Snapchat.

Attendee Key Take-Aways:  

  • The future of digital communications: Where content trends are heading for marketing, public relations, advertising and branding
  • The importance of authentic communication: How to use social marketing initiatives to form personal relationships with customers and stakeholders
  • The media landscape's rapid transformation: Why the intersection of new and old media channels is more important than ever

Breakout Options

Crisis Communications: Anticipate and Communicate

Alex Plaxen, president and founder of Little Bird Told Media, is an award-winning speaker and social media strategist.

Attendee Key Take-Aways:

  • Discover the results of a poorly developed, poorly executed or nonexistent plan.
  • Understand the basic principles of creating a crisis communications plan and effective emergency management.
  • Learn best practices for internal and external communications during a crisis.

Beyond Expectations: Creating Social Media Goals for Our Events and Achieving Them

Alex Plaxen, president and founder of Little Bird Told Media, is an award-winning speaker and social media strategist.

Attendee Key Take-Aways:

  • Discover what a strong social media strategy for your events looks like.
  • Develop social media goals that you can achieve beyond vanity metrics.
  • Learn how to prove social media ROI to the stakeholders in your organization.

GDPR, Privacy and Events – Lessons Learned and Looking to the Future

K.C. Hopson, M.S., CMP, president, CEO and founder of EventRebels, has been doing business with meeting planners, associations and others in need of registration, trade show, mobile and conference software solutions for over a decade. 

Adam Lewis has over a decade of events experience, planning meetings for multiple clients annually with 300 to 10,000+ attendees. Adam came to MMS after 10 years at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. where he oversaw membership programs, fundraising galas, awards events, and the organization’s annual academic conference.

Razvan Miutescu is a business, technology and information governance attorney. His practice focuses on privacy and data security, information technology transactions and licensing, intellectual property, and data management, including data broker transactions, cloud services, distributed ledgers + blockchain, and related regulatory and compliance matters.

Attendee Key Take-Aways: 

  • An understanding of the fundamental concepts of GDPR
  • Overview of steps needed to be GDPR-compliant
  • Long-term understanding of the need to create a privacy-first environment for their organization and events

“Could You Just Do One More Thing?”

Lynne Wellish, CMP, CHSE, CHO, is an award-winning speaker, consultant, trainer and hospitality educator with

Attendee Key Take-Aways: 

  • Identify the term “scope creep” and learn three ways to use it to your advantage.
  • Add five new resources to assist you while your “to do” list keeps expanding.
  • Triage a request and determine the best plan of action based on the eternal dilemma of quick, cheap or right.
  • Learn preventive measures to reduce scope creep’s occupancy in your planning cycle.  

Effective Feedback

As a full-time speaker, Tyler Enslin of Tyler Enslin International has had the privilege to present at over 700 live events in the past five years. From the age of 17, when he started his first successful business, he realized that his favorite part of any day at work was helping people.

Attendee Key Take-Aways: 

  • Become skilled at limiting technical triggers that stop helpful dialogue.
  • Discuss and employ eight techniques that, when applied to any difficult conversation, will make it the most beneficial to both giver and receiver — before, during and after dialogue.
  • Learn how giving and receiving feedback effectively will create positive results and develop strong internal relationships.

Advancing Women in Leadership

Michelle Allgauer, CAE, CMM, CMP, is the vice president of meetings, marketing & education for Financial Services Institute. She spent the first few years of her career on the hotel side before switching over to associations.

Tammy (Moore) Kockaya, CMP, CMM, is director, events & meetings at KPMG. Tammy is a corporate meeting professional with expertise in team leadership, strategic decision-making, stakeholder relationship development, and project and event management.

Attendee Key Take-Aways: 

  • Tap into a powerful network of highly successful females.
  • Incorporate best practices to enhance your management skills.
  • Lead with lasting impact.

Write Striking Statements

Keasha Lee Ince began her career as the public relations manager for the world’s largest credit union. After some time in various roles, she decided to grow as an entrepreneur and launch her own company, Striking Statements.

Attendee Key Take-Aways: 

  • Attendees will walk away with tips and tricks for writing marketing copy that converts.
  • Attendees will learn how tonality impacts written copy.


Safety Has No Quitting Time: The Road to Excellence in Safety

Randy Powell is a high-energy motivational speaker and coach, providing exceptional platform and conference breakout sessions.

Attendee Key Take-Aways:

  • Creating, collaborating and identifying key players is the most "essential element of success."
  • Location and logistics have the greatest impact on "safety and security."
  • Human performance and leadership will create and support an "exceptional risk management outcome."

Maximize Your Presentation Impact

Nadia Bilchik is an internationally renowned television personality, communication and professional development training expert, author and keynote speaker.

Attendee Key Take-Aways:

  • Pre-presentation preparation
  • Top techniques to communicate information
  • Effective nonverbal communication tools

Hottest Trends in Audiovisual Production 

As a multiple-award winning audiovisual rental, staging, and production company, BAV offers the complete package of conference, meeting, and special event services.

Attendee Key Take-Aways: 

  • Hot trends in AV technology 
  • Ways to implement cutting-edge technology in their meetings 
  • Things to ask for of venue and vendors to implement hot trends in meetings
Click here for more details and to register today!
Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau
MGM National Harbor
The Cavalier Virginia Beach