Past Issues/Subscribe | Printer-Friendly | Advertise | Send to a Friend | | Engage Archive May 2012
In This Issue
Galveston Island CVB

As concerned members of the meeting and event industry you are undoubtedly aware of and following closely the escalating state of affairs surrounding the General Services Administration (GSA). We, at MPI, have been closely monitoring and reporting the story to you throughout the month of April on MPI's blogs and website.

The US House and Senate both voted to approve two separate amendments to two separate proposed pieces of legislation that would strictly limit the spending by government agencies for the purposes of holding future conferences and events (see the amendment language and MPI's specific concerns here). We are especially concerned that potential ripple effects of this legislation will be felt by all MPI members-not just those in the government sector.

It is important to note that while the legislation has passed through Congress, it has not yet been signed into law by President Obama. We are therefore working closely with ASAE and other industry associations, as well as the US Travel Association, to inform and educate legislators of the potential impact, unintended or otherwise, that this legislation will have on the US economy if signed into law. You can join the collective meeting and event industry's effort by sending your own letter (click here for a sample) to your Congressmen (find your Congressmen's contact info here).

Along with sending your own letter, MPI also encourages you sign on to ASAE's industry-wide petition to Congress. ASAE will be collecting support before sending an open letter to Congress representing our industry.

Our industry's message is simple: The gross mismanagement of any public trust should be dealt with immediately and stridently, which it has been. But, that the across-the-board imposition restricting government employee attendance at conferences and events is also negligent and irresponsible and will only further disrupt our nation's recovering economy.

Now more than ever, it is vital that we stand together as the MPI community and also that we properly prepare ourselves to clearly describe to anyone the diverse business value face-to-face events. MPI offers its members an arsenal of tools to aide in the preparation for these presentations

MPI will continue to closely monitor the situation and will post regular updates for you on our website and in The Pulse e-newsletter this coming Tuesday.

Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau
Upcoming Events

We’ve saved the best for last! Join us May 23rd for our final Grab & Go event of the year featuring three Certified Special Event Planners from ISES (CSEP) each paired with a PMPI vendor partner as they present a very exciting and fast paced session titled Creating the Shape of Your Event! Also plan to join us at The Hilton Washington DC / Rockville Hotel & Executive Meeting Center in Rockville, MD for our final Educational Event on June 7 featuring Mike Malinchok, president of S2K Performance Coaching, who will teach you how to implement Strategic Meetings Management Programs (SMMP) into your organization!

May Grab & Go – Creating the Shape of Your Event

The theme for your event has been set, the content for your event is in place and the audio visual technology packages have been specified and secured. The next step is to create an environment for the attendees that will enable learning and excite them when they enter the room to take their seats.

  • Are there seating options other than traditional hotel chairs?
  • Are there table options for your banquet event that will add energy to the evening?
  • Can you stage panel discussions in a more engaging fashion?
  • Are there creative ways to layout a space to encourage audience engagement and participation?

The answer to each of these questions is YES and this session will explore emerging trends in furnishing audience seating areas, stage presentation areas and creatively decorating special events that occur during the course of your event. Budget and planning challenges will also be discussed.

Join Ashley Dorfman and Eve Villard in Alexandria, Virginia at the American Society of Clinical Oncology:

Ashleigh Dorfman, CSEP President & Event Producer of posh productions, LLC

Ashleigh is a certified special events professional and owner of posh productions LLC, an event management, marketing and consulting firm specializing in corporate, non-profit and personal celebrations. With over 17 years of event management experience, Ashleigh previously produced worldwide corporate marketing events and healthcare association meetings. Ashleigh earned her Master’s degree in Event Management and Marketing from The George Washington University and Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from George Mason University. She lives in Reston, VA with her husband and three children.

Eve Villard Account Executive, CORT Event Furnishings

Eve is on the Strategic Events committee for the second year with PMPI, and has been an Account Executive with CORT Event Furnishings for over 3 years, helping corporate clients and event venues to maximize their space and increase brand awareness and functionality in event settings. She travels frequently to industry events and tradeshows and enjoys educating her clients on new event trends and products. She graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a degree in Journalism and PR and is now lives in Maryland with her family.

Join Karen Gibson-Serrette and Dave Fritz for the DC session at Destination DC:

Karen B. Gibson-Serrette, CSEP Senior Event Producer, Fandango Productions

Karen B. Gibson-Serrette has enjoyed a 13-year career in event management that spanned the corporate, government, university and association worlds. After spending nearly a decade building Bravo! Events by Design into an award-winning event management company with her former business partner, Karen founded her own event consulting firm in September 2010, BGS Consulting. Karen is currently a Senior Event Producer for Fandango Productions where she manages events for a variety of clients.

She has a Master of Tourism Administration degree with a concentration in event management from George Washington University where she also served as their Director of Alumni Events. Karen has taught event administration at Stratford University and has spoken at several event industry conferences including The Special Event and Eventworld.

Dave Fritz Account Manager, CORT Event Furnishings

As a Cort Event Furnishings Account Executive, Dave helps clients create exceptional environments with event furnishings. These furnishings enhance the meeting or event experience. Dave has over 15 years of experience in the event industry. Dave has won the Presidents Excellence in Sales Award 3 times in his 6 years with Cort Event Furnishings, a Berkshire Hathaway Company.

Dave is an alumnus of the University of Delaware, where he was an All American in football. Dave lives in Ellicott City, Maryland with his wife, Allison, and two girls.

Join Tracy Bloom Schwartz and Heide Berger in Maryland at the Goodwill Industries International, Inc. headquarters in Rockville:

Tracy Bloom Schwartz, CSEP President, Creative Parties

Tracy Bloom Schwartz, CSEP is the second generation president of Creative Parties. Prior to her start at Creative Parties, Tracy did corporate events and conferences for IBM and Lotus. Following her graduation from Walt Whitman, she earned her BS from Bradley University and MBA from Boston University.

With responsibilities ranging from managing the Creative Parties boutique to planning events herself, Tracy’s favorite is working directly with clients as they inspire and delight her with new fresh thoughts and requests. Tracy has developed strong green/eco-friendly initiatives throughout Creative Parties. Tracy is a member of ISES, the Bethesda Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, active in Bethesda Green and involved in various charities. In her spare time, Tracy has started to golf, adding to her favorite hobbies of reading and swimming.

Heidi Berger Account Executive, AFR Event Furnishings

Prior to opening the Washington, DC division of Room Service, which is now AFR Event Furnishings, Heidi was a designing member of the Creative Services team at the premier Destination Management Company in Orlando, FL, producing events for a wide range clients from intimate celebrations for Fortune 500 companies to farewell parties for groups of 7,500 participants.

With an honors degree from one of the top hospitality colleges in the country and her vast experience, she is excited to add DC ISES President-Elect to her accomplishments. When not working, you can find Heidi on the National Mall hopping in and out of museums pulling inspiration from the art and taking advantage of all her new hometown has to offer.

Registration for this event is free and seating is limited so click here to register to attend our final Grab & Go Session.

June Educational Event – The Pragmatic SMMP

For many who have embarked on researching this area of spend category management, an all too common conclusion reached is that a best-in-class SMMP requires hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment, complicated enterprise wide process re-engineering, and years of data collection and patience before the full benefits of the program can be achieved.

As a result, many efforts are stalled before they even begin as organizational leaders look at these conclusions and re-evaluate the application of resources and attention to other areas of focus that may yield more timely returns. This session will provide the attendee with actionable ways to infuse the tenets of the best practice models of Strategic Meetings Management Programs (SMMP) into their current organizational situation.

Learning Objectives:

  • Break apart the SMMP best practice model into prioritized components.
  • Incorporate SMMP components into a working business plan by establishing three-stage objectives.
  • Identify opportunities that an SMMP creates through a combination of theory and practical exercises.
  • Take immediate action with minimal business disruption, exorbitant investment, or tedious delays.

PMPI Insider

Interested in getting more involved with PMPI in 2012? Immediately following the educational event, learn about PMPI activities from our chapter leaders and how you can be a part of it all.

Click here to register for the June Educational Event.



Evening of the Stars – PMPI Annual Meeting & Awards Reception – NEW DATE: Monday June 18, at The Liaison Capitol Hill. Scholarship available for WEC – see PMPI Cares and apply now!


Please mark your calendars for MPI’s World Education Congress, July 28-31, 2012, in St. Louis. In addition to top-notch education and exciting networking opportunities, MPI will once again offer a Hosted Buyer Program matching buyers and vendors one-on-one through an appointment-based marketplace.

Click here for more information.

Phoenix Convention Center
News and Announcements

Volunteerism is the heart of PMPI's success.  Who do you think is the best of the best? Think about who deserves recognition?
Click here for more information and to open application forms.


The Shining Star Awards wrapped up this season with a huge response from members—we had five very deserving nominees for our Spring award.

Thank you to everyone for you participation in this special recognition program.

Keep an eye out for notices on Shining Star Award nominations for the upcoming 2012-2013 season.

And the Winner is...

Allison Sayer, Hilton Garnder Inn Tysons Corner, Member Retention Committee Chair

Allison has been a great contributer of Member Care's success this year. Serving as the Member Outreach Co-Chair, she is tasked with keeping on top of rentention calls and not letting anyone slip through the cracks. With her suggestion and later implementation she also set-up a six month call to our members to be conducted by our past leaders. Her organization and overall communication with PMPI and MPI International leadership has proved how valuable a leader she is as well.

Congratulations Allison!


Congratulations to the following 2012-2013 PMPI Board of Directors, whose terms will start on July 1, 2012. All members are invited to join us for our Evening of Stars where the board members will be inducted.

Listed below are the members of the 2012-2013 PMPI Board of Directors:

Executive Committee:

President Elect (1 year term)
Margaret Miller, CMP
Strategic Sales Executive, Experient

Vice President, Communications (1 year term)
Rebecca Hunter, MTA, CMP
Director, Meetings and Website Management, American Association of Tissue Banks

Vice President, Education (2 year term)
Tammy Moore Kockaya, CMP

Associate Director, Events & Meetings, KPMG

Vice President, Finance (2 year term)
Tom Michalisko, CMP
Association Strategic Account Manager, Experient

Vice President, Membership (2 year term)
Matthew Wales, CMP
Director, Meetings, Events, & Special Projects, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

Board Directors (2 year terms):

Emily DeYoung
Special Programs Manager, Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)

Katie Hais, CMP
Senior Manager, Conventions & Events, American Hotel & Lodging Association

Lesly Rehaut, CMP
Regional Director of Group Sales, Melia Hotels International

Sally-Anne Andrew
Executive Producer, inVNT

Tamela Blalock, CMP
National Sales Manager, Team San Jose

Board Directors (1 year terms):

Michelle Marie Adams, CMP                                                                                                                                                                                   Regional Director of Sales, Prestige Resorts & Destinations

Amy O'Malley, CMP 
Associate Director, Sales & Marketing, Waterview Conference Center, Corporate Executive Board

Continuing Executive Committee:

Will Trokey, CMP
National Sales Manager, Visit Charlotte

Immediate Past President
Kumi Anzalone, CMP, CASE
Regional Director, National Accounts, Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau

Continuing Board Members (2nd year of 2 year term):

Katie Herritage, CMM, CMP, CSEP
Project Manager, Highmark Companies

Heather Turner
National Sales Manager, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau



Are you thinking about acquiring an industry designation and would like to speak with a fellow member who has gone through the process? Whether a CMP, CMM, CSEP or other we have member volunteers willing to speak with you to share their personal experience and help you learn which designation is the best fit for your career path.

Industry Designation "Human Resource" Program

PMPI has developed a program that will allow our members with industry designations to share their experiences and expertise with the future CMPs, CMMs, CEMs, CGMPs etc., of tomorrow. In 2012 we are launching the first ever Industry Designation "Human Resource" Program. We will be using our greatest resource; experienced, working industry peers within PMPI, to help answer inquiries, provide direction, leadership, general knowledge and share personal experience with those PMPI members interested in taking ownership of their own professional development by acquiring one or more of the various industry designation and certification programs.

Below is a list of PMPI members willing to accept your outreach with questions regarding their particular designation and industry discipline and resulting in helping to act as a trusted counselor or supporter to guide you through the process. Who best to learn from than from someone who has already gone through the process. Most communication will be via e-mail, telephone, and to a lesser degree, in person if both parties desire and are able to meet face-to-face.

Based on the amount of interest our designation volunteers receive on this initial program we may provide a more formalized program later down the road in which a mentor and mentee are identified and matched for a specified period of time.

CMP – Certified Meeting Professional

Ann Kilian,CMP
Senior Conference Manager International Association of Chiefs of Police
**Request Email Only for initial contact**

Deidre "DeDe" Walsh, CMP, CTS
National Sales Manager
Projection Presentation Technology

Jason Watkins, CMP Director of Meetings
American Anthropological Association 703.528.19.02

CMM - Certified Meeting Manager

Komita T. Primalani, CMP, CMM
Marketing Conference Manager
Surescripts, LLC

Carrie Mitchell, CMP
National Sales Manager
Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority

CGMP - Certified Government Meeting Professional

Mikki Strompf, CGMP, CMP
Meeting Planner
Booz, Allen, Hamilton

Brian Chung, CGMP
National Sales Manager
Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau

CAE - Certified Association Executive

Kathleen Cochran, CAE, CMP
VP Meetings National Assn. of Health Underwriters **Request Email Only for initial contact**

Elise Lindsey, CMP, CAE
VP Business Development
Production Associates 703.476.4600

CASE - Certified Association Sales Executive

Sally Slater, CASE
Regional Director of Sales
Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau 703.684.0456

CEM - Certified in Exhibition Management

Diana DeJoy, CMP, CEM
International Manager, Operations
Biotechnology Industry Organization

CSEP - Certified Special Event Professional

Cynthia McDowell, CSEP, CMP
Meeting & Event Planner
National Stone, Sand & Gravel Assn. 703.526.1090

For more information please contact one of our Career Development Committee Co-Chairs:

Sekeno Aldred, CMP MTA
Learning Events Specialist
Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
15810 Indianola Drive Rockville, MD 20855
Phone: (240) 333-5395

Robin Roane, CTE, CCTE
CMP Senior Sales Manager
Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association
625 North Washington Street, Suite 400
Alexandria VA 22314
Phone: (703) 652-5372



Every PMPI member who recruits a new member during this campaign will be entered into a drawing to win a trip to New Orleans (courtesy of The Gulf States Chapter of MPI).  The new members recruited will also have their names put into the drawing for a chance to win!

Please ask the new member to list the recruiter MPI Member ID upon registration to be confirmed for this campaign and drawing!

What are you waiting for?


If your quest in business is to create and foster human connections in today’s hyper-connected world, and you realize you no longer just plan meetings and events; you design human connectivity; and you would like to learn how you impact your organization and events and change the world then the World Education Congress in St. Louis, Missouri July 28-31 is a MUST for you to attend to find your connectivity inspiration.

Don’t’ have the funds to attend? – WE HAVE GREAT NEWS! PMPI Cares is offering a scholarship to you for the registration and round trip airfare to attend. You will be responsible for your own hotel accomodations.

Apply NOW – you have until June 4, 2012 to apply for this scholarship which will be awarded at Evening of The Stars, on June 18.


Remember the days when you were a student, struggling to figure out your place in the world as well as how to pay for that next semester’s textbook? Please consider sponsoring a student member of PMPI. Your $40 sponsorship will offer a student a valuable membership in our chapter and access to our educational & networking events.

For more information, please click here or contact Jessica K. Roberts, CMP, Chair of the Student Involvement Committee at

Greater Raleigh CVB
Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation
Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
The Boar's Head


Please visit our website at to learn more and register for all of our events,
as well as information about the resources we have to offer you.