Past Issues/Subscribe | Printer-Friendly | Advertise | Send to a Friend | | Engage Archive January 2015
In This Issue
Galveston Island CVB

As all winners will attest, success can be attributed to a well thought out and executed game plan. In this dynamic presentation, Joe Theismann will reveal his by drawing parallels between winning in football and in business. Joe focuses on how to succeed under pressure – when it's "4th and 1" – and how to adapt quickly to unexpected situations – when you're faced with a "blitz" instead of a "zone." He urges individuals and organizations to set goals and correct errors each step of the way, an approach that builds momentum, which, once on your side, would be hard for even the best "defense" to stop.

Join us at MACE! 2015 on February 3-4 to set your Game Plan through this MVP’s guidance, and don't miss the diverse concurrent and pre-conference sessions that will help you Elevate Your Game

Early bird discounts have been extended to Friday, January 23, so register today and save!

CLICK HERE for more details and to register today.

I'm not sure when it happened, but I can assure you, I am not happy about it. As a guy that has owned a business for 30 years and been the primary employee (okay, the only employee), I have gotten the chance to put on many hats.

I manage every department including marketing, accounting, sales and, of course, customer service. I must admit, most of the departments, save one, I don't really like running. Part of the problem is, I'm usually too over budget to hire anyone. That's my way of saying I don't make enough money to pay anyone to handle the work, so I have to do it all myself.

Relationship building and customer service are at an all-time low. Where are all the humans?

Enter technology, a real business saver. A quick Google search can help us find, in an instant, high tech solutions to any departmental systems problems we have. Shareware provides us with free (my favorite word) software that can do virtually everything. Accounting, marketing, sales management and customer service can all be automated, and that's great. Or is it? Here is where the scales start to get a bit unbalanced. While technology has allowed us to be more productive, more efficient and more profitable, technology has also sapped the human element out of the many important aspects of business today. Relationship building and customer service are at an all time low. Where are all the humans?

Tweets, likes, posts, shares, upticks, mentions, chats, bleeps and bytes help us express ourselves faster than ever, and with only a few mouse clicks. You'd think that with all of these digital conversations going on around us that people would be more connected than ever. And they are. The problem is people are connected to technology and not real people. #Fail. Real people are human beings, not smartphones, not tablets, not laptops and not hardware. Real people build real relationships, face to face, human to human. Real people interact, they shake hands and they smile at one another. Real people express themselves through real emotions and not emoticons.

Real people express themselves through real emotions and not emoticons.

When I was growing up (now I sound like my mother), there were full-serve gas stations where the attendant checked under the hood, cleaned your windshield, wore a uniform and thanked you for coming. When I pull up now to get gas for my car, the only relationship I have is with the credit card swiper thingy or with a guy behind 3 inches of bulletproof glass. At the grocery store, there was a kid that I tipped a quarter to to take my bags to the car. Good luck finding that kid now, and if I do, he's got in his iPod earbuds. If I had a question about my credit card account, I would call and speak with live person, not an automated, profit-maximizing, people-minimizing digital replica or an outsourced customer service center making me feel like a 16 digit number.

Recently, I had an issue with a service provider. I could not find the company's phone number on its bill or website, so I emailed and followed up with its online chat system (I think you can see where this is going). When I questioned the company about the omission of its phone number on its bill and website, the response I got shocked me. "We cannot accept any phone calls and we can make no outbound calls either." Seriously, you did this on purpose and this was by design? Why any company would not want to speak with their customers is beyond me.

Why any company would not want to speak with their customers is beyond me.

Business is about relationships, and it's about making a connection. I love the feeling of helping customers work through their problems and presenting them with solutions. It's not just about analytics, conversion rates and click-throughs. You can't put empathy on a spreadsheet or build analytics for converting a laugh to new business. If you've forgotten about being human, it's not too late. Use technology to your advantage. Digitally network your way into a face-to-face meeting so you can get to know someone, earn a relationship and their business. Do it the old fashioned way, and make a connection that will last a lifetime, not just for 140 characters or less.

Doug Sandler, a featured blogger on Huffington Post, owns a company called Nice Guys Finish First. He trains organizations how to build better relationships with customers. Doug, known as Mr. Nice Guy, writes a weekly blog on providing exemplary service, creating winning customer experiences and building relationships. Doug is also a keynote speaker, author and expert on the topic of customer service. His website is Doug will be speaking at MACE! 2015. Register today!


As professional planners in the hospitality industry, we strive and strategize to improve not only our meetings and events but also ourselves. Over the years, I have learned to listen, evaluate situations, work through processes and provide recommendations on all levels based on protocol, facts and research. In the midst of all the details we face – coordinating, planning, meeting with other planners/suppliers, developing programs, agendas, budgets, etc. – I realized I needed to do something for myself. I made a pivotal decision to secure my CMP designation to continue my growth in the industry.

In researching and preparing for this rigorous process in 2013, I learned about PMPI CMP University. The Prep Course was wonderful. The university offered two 10-week programs and two Boot Camp opportunities per year. The program provided a structured road map to enhance my studies, kept me on track working through the four required study materials, test-taking tips and, yes, practice test and quizzes. The facilitators were knowledgeable and available throughout the program. The program was a HUGE contributor to my success in gaining my CMP designation.

Since receiving my CMP designation in December 2013, I have been promoted to Director, Meetings and Operations; Co-Chair of PMPI Career Development Committee and received the 2014 National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP) Meeting Planner of the Year Award. My hospitality journey continues. A planner’s work is never done.

LaVette C. Henderson, CMP
Director, Meetings and Operations
National Dental Association
Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Westin Peachtree Plaza

What Can MACE! 2015 Do For You?

The Mid-Atlantic Conference and Expo (MACE!) is the centerpiece of PMPI’s professional development. MACE! offers high-level educational sessions with nationally renowned speakers and subject experts. In addition, the pre-conference workshops, Flipped Marketplace and Expo will deliver the tools planners and suppliers need to advance their professional life and career.

Here are three reasons why you should be a part of MACE!
  • Develop new business relationships
  • Earn CIC clock hours
  • VIP Planner Pass – complimentary registration for pre-qualified planners. Contact for more information

Furthermore, inside the MACE! 2015 Flipped Marketplace, the name of the game will be business. Participants will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with qualified meeting and event professionals (by advance appointment) to learn about destinations and venues, products and services.

Share the excitement of MACE! with our Twitter hashtag #pmpimace.

Early bird discounts have been extended. Register by Friday, January 23 and save! Click here for details and to register today!  
News and Announcements
The PMPI Community Outreach Committee hosted a volunteer opportunity at the Capital Area Food Bank in December. We exceeded our expectations and had to open a second shift to accommodate all of the volunteers. Both shifts helped bag over 3,600 meals to help feed those who suffer from hunger in the Washington metro area. We also surpassed our chapter goal by raising $505.89 via the virtual food drive! These generous donations will allow CAFB to provide more than 1,200 meals to individuals and families in our community! We thank everyone who was able to either make a monetary donation and/or donate their time!

If you would like to become involved with the Community Outreach Committee and would like to learn more about our future efforts or have suggestion for future volunteer opportunities, please contact Jennifer Bond at


ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership
Howard County Tourism and Promotion
AMA Executive Conference Centers
Visit Phoenix
DNC Parks & Resorts at Shenandoah, Inc.


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.