Past Issues/Subscribe | Printer-Friendly | Advertise | Send to a Friend | | Engage Archive January 2016
In This Issue
A Note From The President
With the start of the New Year, it has become cliché to set resolutions for our health, happiness, career and future success. As a result, some say they do not believe in resolutions for various (and valid) reasons. For others, creating the right resolution (or goal) creates an opportunity for inspiration and motivation. What inspires you in 2016? What are your goals? Who do you need on your team to achieve your goals? How can you be the best version of you in 2016?
During our November Board Retreat at the beautiful Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, we spent time reflecting on our 2015 successes as a chapter and looking ahead to our goals for 2016. We are currently in the process of determining our board leadership for the next year, are forecasting events and activities to engage our members, and getting ready to kick off our member satisfaction survey to gain your feedback that will drive our initiatives. As you plan your goals for 2016, we invite you to include events and activities with the Potomac chapter as a key initiative in achieving your success. 

Whether your goals include expanding your professional network, achieving or renewing your CMP or other industry certification, honing your skills, increasing your volunteer activities, or getting healthy, the Potomac chapter is poised to assist you. We are planning monthly and annual events designed to help you be the best version of you in 2016. Listed below are key activities you will want to keep in mind as you plan your year.

Highlights of the Next 12 Months of MPI Potomac Chapter

April – Potomac Chapter Fun-K benefiting the MPI Foundation, Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) and Educational Experience in partnership with PCMA
MayEducational Experience, Sixth Annual Derby Days and Silent Auction
June – Evening of Stars Awards Reception and Annual Meeting, MPI WEC in Atlantic City
July – CMP Bootcamp
August – Summer Sizzle and Committee Fair
September – Oktoberfest
October – Educational Experience
November – Educational Experience
December – Educational Experience

So join us for a year full of inspiration, fun, connection and celebration of you! We look forward to collaborating with you and achieving our 2016 goals together. Cheers!

Tammy Kockaya, CMP, CMM 
President-Elect – MPI Potomac Chapter
Chapter Liaison, MPI Global Foundation Board of Trustees
Member, MPI Chapter and Membership Advisory Council
Galveston Island CVB
By Kate McCarthy, CMP

Every January rolls around with the typical renewed efforts to get back to the gym and lose those holiday pounds (and maybe a few more). As you commit yourselves to your 2016 resolutions, don’t forget about your financial health as well. The New Year is the perfect time to take stock in where you are, make some new goals and start fresh. Here are some simple things you can do right away to get started.
1. Know your credit score. Having a great credit rating helps you save on auto loans, mortgages and even car insurance! Yet, it is surprising how many people have no idea what their rating is. Credit cards have fortunately made it easier than ever to track your rating by including your score every month for free on your monthly bill! If you don’t have that perk, check out It is fast, easy and free and there are no limits to how many times you can check your score. If you find that your score is not where you want it (780-830 is "Excellent"), go to to download one of your annual credit reports – you get one free from each of the three credit bureaus every year. Look over it for any errors, and the site will offer some great resources for what to do if you see incorrect information, as well as more general information on how to increase your score. 

2. Create a budget! I know, I know: budgeting is about as much fun as dieting and since you just started one of those, the last thing you want is to restrict your spending too! But stay with me – budgeting isn’t all about restricting, it is about helping you reach your goals. After all, you don’t diet because it is fun to eat celery. You diet so you can look good on the beach. You don’t cut coupons because you have nothing better to do, you cut coupons so you can watch your new car fund grow into a reality. and are great platforms to make budgeting way easier these days too – and more fun! These are completely secure and completely reputable sites that link up to every account you have: checking, savings, credit cards, retirement and brokerage accounts, loans ... Once you are set up, every time you log in your dashboard gives you a completely comprehensive overview of your finances, including your net worth! Slightly terrifying at first but also completely satisfying when you see the number move in your favor month after month. Your monthly budget will live in there, as well and all the fun charts and analytics make it slightly addictive – I log into Learnvest practically daily. 

It’s all about having goals. Getting out of debt, saving for a down payment, feeling okay about your retirement savings... whatever the goal, a budget will help you get there.

3. Assess your retirement savings. This one is a bit more complex, and I did promise simple. So I will start with – do you have any idea what your retirement accounts did this year? Can you name any of the stocks you are invested in? Do you know how to access all your different accounts (reading your quarterly statement does NOT count as accessing your account!)? If you answered "NO" to any of those questions, I want you to start there. There are so many money/stock/investment  resources online to help but starting with the firm(s) you are investing with should be your first stop to best understand what options you have at your immediate disposal.

And here is some motivation (read: scare tactics) to get you moving: Did you know that at 35, you should have your current salary saved in a retirement fund? At 45, that amount should equal three times your salary, and by the time you retire, your goal should be about eight times!? Obviously these are some very broad benchmarks, but they serve a purpose in waking us up if we are lagging. Some super simple things to do to catch up?
  • ALWAYS contribute to your company’s 401K at least to the point of a match. That is free money!
  • Make a habit of applying your cost-of-living raises to your 401K contribution. If you get 2 percent, increase your contribution by 2 percent. You won’t even miss it! (I know – I hate that sentiment too.)
  • Roll over old accounts into one IRA. Consolidating helps you keep track of your money and grow it as one lump sum. IRAs tend to have better investment options than a 401K.
  • Max out a Roth IRA every year! If you qualify for a Roth, it is one of the best vehicles out there for post-tax savings. A Roth grows tax-free because you have already paid tax on the money you contribute. Additionally, there is no fee or penalty for withdrawing your contribution at any time! That is why so many people use it as an emergency savings account as well. There is an annual maximum contribution of $5,500 for people under 50, $6,500 if over, but you can continue to apply any IRA contributions to the previous year through the tax deadline of April 15! So if you haven’t started an IRA, Roth or not, now is a great time to open an account and contribute the max through April 15, 2016 for 2015 and then keep going to max 2016 by December 31. I recommend opening any IRA (Roth or traditional) in a low-cost brokerage firm such as Charles Schwab or TDAmeritrade.
There are three (kinda) simple things to get you on your way to a great 2016! If anyone has any questions or would like to keep up the conversation, I would love to hear from you! I can be reached at

Kate McCarthy, CMP, is the Logistics Director at Meeting Management Services and is mildly fanatical about financials. She reads her Money magazine with Bloomberg television on in the background and cried when Suze Orman went off the air last year.
By Dan Coughlin

The Any Person Mindset says any person can make a significant difference. However, to make a significant difference you have to get opportunities to make a difference.
For the MP3 recording of this article, click here.

Abraham Lincoln was largely the same person in March 1865 as he was in March 1860. The difference was he had the opportunity to be president of the United States, and he made the most of his time there from March 1861 to April 1865. He had lost elections for lower offices, but he moved on from the opportunities he didn’t get, he prepared himself for the opportunity to be president, he reached out for the opportunity, he received the opportunity, and he fully engaged himself in the opportunity. And therein lies the five steps for gaining opportunities to make a significant difference:
  1. Know your purpose.
  2. Prepare yourself for opportunities to fulfill your purpose.
  3. Reach out for those opportunities.
  4. When you don’t get the opportunity you want, handle the moment with class and move on.
  5. When you do get an opportunity to fulfill your purpose, fully engage yourself in the opportunity.
Know your purpose.

Not every opportunity means the same thing to everyone. If you don’t know your purpose, you won’t know what constitutes a meaningful opportunity for you. You won’t know how to fulfill your purpose if you don’t know it.

When I was a senior in college in 1984, I bought this little red notebook and I wrote down, "My purpose is to work with other people to help them achieve whatever they want to achieve." Pretty simple and pretty idealistic.

What is your purpose for any activity that you take on? Write it down.

Prepare yourself for opportunities to fulfill your purpose.

Once you know your purpose start to do things that will help you be ready if the right opportunity ever shows up. 

During my senior year, I started to volunteer to help coach youth teams and the Women’s Club Soccer Team and to work with people who had physical and mental challenges at a nearby organization. I wanted to actually see what it was like to try to help people achieve what they wanted to achieve.

Reach out for those opportunities.

Let people know the kinds of opportunities you want. You never know who might open a door for you or how big the room might be. 

During my senior year, I told my college soccer coach, Dennis Grace, that I really wanted to be a college soccer coach because I thought it would be a way for me to recruit people and to work with them to achieve what they wanted to achieve on an individual and group basis. He immediately said there was a job opening he knew about, and he guided me to it.

When you don’t get the opportunity you want, handle the moment with class and move on.

In life, you will not get some opportunities to fulfill your purpose that you really wanted. Handle those moments with class and move on.

When you have a clear purpose, you will see all kinds of opportunities that would be a good fit for you. Pursue those opportunities, but know that many of them will not come to fruition.

In 1992, I was a high school teacher, and I wanted to become the head soccer coach for the high school. I thought I was going to be at the high school for the next 30 years, and I thought the position of head soccer coach would be the perfect way for me to help other people to achieve what they wanted to achieve. I had been the assistant varsity coach for three years. I interviewed for the job, and I didn’t get it. For about a month I was really devastated. I actually thought this was going to be the last great chance I had to make a significant difference with my life. After a month, I woke up. I realized that there are a continuous number of opportunities that pop up. Some I will get, and others I won’t get. 

We can never predict with absolute certainty which opportunities we will get and which ones we won’t get. In the past week, I reached out for two opportunities to help other people to achieve what they want to achieve. One was for a corporation, and I was going to charge a fee. The other was for a not-for-profit organization that I believe in, and I was going to volunteer several hundred hours over the period of 12 months for free. I got the opportunity with the corporation, but I didn’t get the opportunity with the not-for-profit organization. We can’t predict which opportunities we will actually receive. I sent a thank you to the officers of the not-for-profit group with a copy of a book I thought they might like, and I moved on to look for other ways to make a difference.

When you do get an opportunity to fulfill your purpose, fully engage yourself in the opportunity.

Even if only 10 percent of all the opportunities you pursue become a reality, be sure to fully engage in each of those opportunities. That’s how to lead a meaningful personal and professional life.

When I look back on the more than 30 years since I wrote that purpose statement in that little red notebook, which I still have by the way, I realize now that out of all the opportunities I have been interested in only a small fraction have come to be a reality. But it was by engaging fully in the opportunities I did receive regardless of whether they were paid engagements or volunteer efforts that they brought meaning to my life. 

When you actually get an opportunity that connects to your purpose, jump in and embrace it. Be fully engaged in that opportunity. Make the most of it. Carpe diem, and you will make a significant difference in the lives of other people.

As a business keynote speaker, executive coach, seminar leader, and management consultant, Dan Coughlin works with business owners, executives, and managers on an individual and group basis to improve business performance in a sustainable way. Visit his free Business Leadership Idea Center at


If you would like to reprint this article in an in-house or industry publication, you are always welcome to do so.
By Anita L. Triggs, MS, MBA, CMP

As my milestone birthday quickly approaches, I am thinking about how to be a more balanced me in 2016. I am often told (particularly during periods of high stress at an event), "You have to focus on your well-being ... don't let this stuff get to you." While I appreciate the attempt to make me feel better, I often find that the words have little significance when they are not followed up by examples of how to achieve the goal. Obviously, stress-management and wellness mean something different to everyone, so I am not expecting the person delivering the message to provide me with a personalized plan for a balanced life.
No teachings of the Dalai Lama required. However, I do think it is important for us all to reconsider what we say when we are trying to be helpful. Perhaps the best conversation to have with a meeting planner who appears to be out of balance involves questions about what we need to change within ourselves to ensure that work stuff does not get more attention than it deserves. I am choosing to take better care of my mind, body and spirit in 2016. Hopefully some of my tactics will resonate with you as you press on in the stressful world of meeting planning.  

There is absolutely a reason why mind is the first word in the phrase, "Mind, body and spirit" ... it controls everything. Too often we underestimate the power of the mind; therefore, we spend very little time strengthening this muscle. I am guilty of reading popular lifestyle magazines and keeping up with the Kardashians, which may very well serve as a source of stress relief. However, these things will do little to contribute to heightened self-awareness and many would argue that this is a requirement for achieving balance in one’s life. Be honest, when is the last time you’ve read a book (cover to cover) that focused on the concept of self-awareness, balance, stress relief or any of the hot button wellness topics that meeting planners are always discussing? We rely on our co-workers, friends and family to give us the mental boost we need to make it through the day, week, month or year. This has the potential to be dangerous particularly if the people in these categories have not mastered what you are trying to achieve. Without question, there are benefits to having positive interpersonal relationships, but when our relationship with self is downplayed, balance is an objective that may never come to fruition. What to do, what to do? As hard as it is to commit to doing something that I have not been good at, I am going to step out on faith (we’ll talk more about this later) and commit to reading at least one book every quarter that focuses on knowing myself a bit better and the balance I so desperately want and deserve. Nothing beats a fail, but a try, right? 

Now that I have a plan in place to get my head in the game, I need my body to follow. There are three things that I cannot seem to get enough of: sleep, healthy food, and exercise ... bummer! As meeting planners, we practically live in hotels surrounded by some of the tastiest eats and treats – temptation is everywhere. Additionally, life on the road does not present opportunities to cook your own meals. You may be thinking, "Anita, there are tons of healthy options at hotels and restaurants," and you are correct! However, when I look at a menu I am immediately triggered to select an item that is way more fun than something I would make at home (insert image of wrist slapping here). Instead of viewing the menu options with some level of objectivity, I choose to reward myself with a steak or a signature cocktail because I work so hard – yum, yum gimme some! Then of course, there is my personal battle of the bulge. Starting at 6:30 a.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m. kind of diminishes my motivation to workout, despite the oh so fancy fitness centers in most hotels these days. Does any of this sound familiar? Ughhh! The hardest part is not getting started like everyone says, it appears to be starting and sticking with the plan. Many of us get rolling because we’ve gotten the side eye from our doctor as we’re standing on the scale, we’ve watched too many Beachbody infomercials, or we are simply unhappy with what we see in the mirror. Whatever the case may be, many of us start, but rarely see the results we hope for. Hence the reason we need a strong connection between the mind and body in order to have half a chance at success. If we do not know ourselves intimately enough to change the way we think about our daily practices that impact our bodies, failure is eminent. This is tough stuff, right? So, I’m starting small, I am tracking everything. I bought a fancy Fitbit that monitors not only my steps, but my sleep, which is mind blowing! I am amazed that I can function on a daily basis given the few hours of sleep I get. MyFitnessPal has become my new journal and let’s just say, fat (and sodium and carbs) and I need a divorce. This is my start, and hopefully I will progress to more sleep, healthier food choices and consistent exercise that leads to a phenomenal finish. Prayers are appreciated.

Speaking of prayer, I believe there is something inside human beings that connects us to others; an indescribable feeling that resonates within us. I consider this to be our spirit or spiritual center. It determines our capacity to do most things and can be easily broken by the day to day demands of life, especially if you are a meeting planner. I converse with fellow planners on a regular basis who feel as though their spirit is broken down piece by piece until they reach the point where they have nothing left. It’s the do-more-with-less conversations, lack of appreciation for our work, and small picture thinking that leave us dangling on the edge. We are burdened with the title of miracle worker on far too many occasions and unfortunately, circumstances are unlikely to change. At the risk of sounding a bit cheesy, I have come to the realization that the only way we can keep our spirit intact is to connect with it on a daily basis. It may be meditation before you start your day, a daily walk alone, or reading literature that relates to your current situation. If you are anything like me, you will struggle with this concept because it will require you to hit pause, when you are used to fast forward. After all, we are not rewarded or praised for our ability to reflect on our spiritual needs. Unfortunately, the tendency of many meeting planners I know (myself included) is to wait until they have hit a wall and then try to piece themselves back together. One can only go through this process so many times before there is irreparable damage, and I don’t know about you, but I’m over it. I will be doing something every day to renew my spirit, and I hope you will join me. We may not have the power to change people, places or things, but we can certainly change ourselves.

If you are up for a mind, body and spirit overhaul, I would love to hear from you!
Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau
Upcoming Events
We’re recruiting up to eight volunteers to purchase, prepare, and serve dinner for 35 women at the night shelter. This will be a great opportunity to get to know other PMPI members and give back to the D.C. community. If people would like to get involved but are unable to attend on January 27, they can make in-kind donations to the shelter or pre-prepare a portion of the meal. Additional details will be sent to volunteers when they sign up using the Google Doc below.

Wednesday, January 27
Luther Place Memorial Church
1226 Vermont Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
6-8 p.m.

To sign up to prepare and serve this meal or make a donation, click here. (This link is a spreadsheet signup sheet.)

We look forward to volunteering with you in January!

Natalie Stevens
Community Outreach Committee

Monterey County CVB
News and Announcements
By Michele Battaline, CMP

For many years, several members of PMPI have had a special place in their heart for Calvary Women's Shelter. In years past, the Community Outreach Committee worked closely with the shelter, hosting parties and raising money. 
Calvary opened in 1983 in the basement of Calvary Baptist Church as a temporary overnight shelter for homeless women. In response to the ongoing needs of the community, Calvary Women’s Shelter was incorporated and later became the Calvary Women’s Services. Calvary’s capacity and support services have grown consistently over the last 30 years. The programs carry out their mission to offer a safe, caring place for tonight and support, hope and change for tomorrow. These programs include transitional and permanent housing, personalized case management, life skills and education opportunities, job training, health and wellness services, on-site therapy and daily addiction recovery meetings. Calvary believes every woman has the strengths and gifts she needs to be successful. 

While no longer an official part of PMPI Community Outreach, there are still many dedicated PMPI members who jumped in to celebrate the newest residents of Sister Circle, Calvary’s permanent housing program. It is designed for the women who have graduated from the shelter system, are employed and living independently while continuing to receive long-term support. So in an effort to help foster the community spirit with the women that are in this program, a joyous holiday party was whipped together by our volunteer elves! 

Saturday, December 12, PMPI’s volunteer "elves" decked the halls of "Washington’s second best address, The Historic Mayflower, a Marriott Autograph Collection." General Manager John Montano and banquet staff generously hosted a lovely spread of gourmet treats. The amazing ladies of Travel Portland added the fragrance of the Pacific Northwest, providing fresh wreaths for the Sister Circle guests to proudly display on their very own front doors!

All of the volunteers sang carols, shared design tips and offered encouragement as the ladies delighted in selecting ribbons and gluing ornaments. Every women left with their florist-worthy wreath and a colorful gift bag filled with Bath and Body Works lotions and gels, Walmart gift cards, fuzzy socks and candy. 

The party was a great time and truly filled with the holiday spirit, summed up in this whispered comment, "I am so happy I could cry. Thank you for brightening my holiday!"

As we move into 2016, let’s "Resolve to Get Involved!" Not only will you meet amazing friends and have an opportunity to network with your peers, you will also gain the satisfaction of giving back to your community and truly making a difference.

Michele Battaline, CMP, is director, meetings and conferences for the American Financial Services Association.

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