Contact Us     Search    

  Thursday, May 24, 2018    


News Resources

Quick Links

Submit an article for C+C

Event Calendar

Join MPI

Upcoming Events

Date: June 2 - 5, 2018
Annual Awards Recognition Celebration
Date: June 14, 2018
Trivia Night
Date: August 9, 2018
More Events>>
Home > News|Media  > eNewsletter

MPI-CAC Conversations + Connections

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

December Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
I was a part of MPI in South FL when I worked for the Renaissance Plantation Hotel. When I moved back to Chicago, I wanted to get involved in something so I decided to reach out and join.

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
Too many good memories to only list one!

How did you become part of the event industry?
College Career Fair – totally random. I didn’t know the difference between a Ritz Carlton and Holiday Inn when I started.

How has MPI impacted your career?
It has allowed me to build some great relationships within the industry. Those relationships and friendships have helped me get to where I am.

Tell us something unique about you?
I have a 2 year old daughter named Danica.

3 Ultimate #SocialSelling Tips for Smart #EventProfs

Posted by: Barbara Rozgonyi, CoryWest Media on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Wondering how ​social selling really work​s and how it can work for you​?​​

Here’s a quick recap from my MPI-CAC NEXT presentation . . . .

In 2018, 70% of sales professionals plan to invest more time on social selling. Why is that?

According to LinkedIn, top social selling leaders realize these benefits:

  • 45% more opportunities
  • 51% more likely to achieve goals
  • 78% outsell peers who don’t use social media

Social selling is so successful that 70% of sales professionals plan to spend more time on social selling in 2018. But, what is it and how does it work? Let’s find out.


Step One: Get Your SSI Score

LinkedIn first coined the term “social selling” and they’ve even come up with a way for you to rate how well you do.

Your Social Selling Index score, or SSI for short, rates your performance on four quadrants: establish your professional brand, find the right people, engage with insights and build relationships.

You can get yours for free at https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/social-selling/the-social-selling-index-ssi

Where do you need to spend more time?


Step Two: Realize Your PR [Personality + Reputation] Potential

PR is the missing ingredient in most content marketing, both for people and companies. Why is that? Because personality and reputation are often disconnected from values and virtues. When you are intentional about connecting, it shows.

How do you know what your values are? It’s easy. Think about three to five people, or for companies -brands, you admire.

Then answer this question, “When you think of __________, what positive qualities do you associate with them?”

Which attributes do you see more than once? These are your personal values. These values will drive your content marketing, decisions and work performance. For example, if one of your values is integrity, you will do best when you work with people and partners who have the same value.

Now, check your reputation and see how you show up on Google, LinkedIn – and even Siri. Do you like what you see? To track every mention of you, or your company, online sign up for free email alerts at https://www.google.com/alerts.

Pro tip: you can set up alerts for your competition, top clients and prospective companies. You’ll always be in the know, up to the minute – and ready to connect IRL and online.


Step Three: Show Up in the Right Places

According to 2018 Content Marketing Trends research, the top three social networks B2B companies use are, in order, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Top three types of content? Social media, case studies and videos.

Is your business more B2C? Your top social networks, in order, are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Your top types of content are social media, videos and photos. B2C is a much more visual space so have fun!

Now that you know where to invest your time, make sure your content is BRAVE: bold, relevant, authoritative, valuable and energizing.

This applies to content you create, curate and comment on. Follow the leaders and share their top content.

Remember to add your take as a comment and write a LinkedIn article or a blog post if you have more to say. Use a free tool like http://rightrelevance.com to track the hot topics in the meetings and events industry.

Yes, you and can and should spend more time on social selling. Make the most of it with these four steps for smart eventprofs.



The lifecycle of event planning - Part 4: Execution

Posted by: Sarah Wantz, Wantz Events on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

After each detail is finalized, all vendors confirmed, and every element carefully timed out in the run of show, we move into execution phase where planners go from ‘planning’ to project managing. Everything you have spent months booking and organizing comes together for a few (hopefully) perfect hours! Below, we discuss elements to consider and plan for, insuring a smooth and flawless event.

The number one thing to do onsite is simple, but often times people forget… treat EVERYONE kindly and with respect, regardless of how big or small their role in the event might be; the valet, load-in crew, the bussers, union staff, the kitchen staff. We are all in this together and the event success is dependent on one another so treat each other like teammates, as we all want to succeed!

Onto setup… in order to set yourself up for success, a few reminders we like to keep in mind:

  • Be overly detail oriented with a clear plan up front, shared with all involved parties
  • Follow up and document vendor notes, times, potential issues (example – loading dock only available 9a-10a, call security at 10a upon arrival)
  • Strong load-in plan, understanding any dock and/or venue restrictions
  • Check in with all vendors to confirm they have updated documents and know exactly where/what they are to be doing
  • Know who your onsite partners are – catering lead, setup and teardown crew, etc.
  • Have a pre-meeting with onsite event staff, confirming they know all event details and have answers to potential guest questions
  • Be positive! Remain calm when things go wrong and immediately look for a resolution

From a guest standpoint, their event perspective begins immediately with the arrival experience and check-in. This is the first element the guest will encounter and can set the tone for a positive or negative experience. We always recommend additional staff at check-in to insure this is smooth. Guests always seem to have an intrinsic concern they will not be found on the list, or can get easily agitated at the thought of waiting at check-in. 

As the event continues on, it is important to frequently check in with your vendors – does the band need water, are the photo booth props still organized and nice looking, is the photographer hitting everything on the requested photo list, are the food stations plentiful, are the bussers clearing as necessary? Checking in to make sure the client is happy is also always a good idea. While everything is up and running smoothly, begin to review the teardown plan and follow up with any vendors necessary for load-out.

Once the event concludes, everyone usually sprints into action on the teardown plan. Be readily available to answer questions and have a good understanding of moving items out of the venue. Once all items and vendors are out, walk the space to confirm everything is being left as it was when you arrived and thank your event partners for their support on a successful event!

After each guest has left and each vendor has loaded up, think about measuring the event’s success and considering wins, misses and learnings. Provide compliments and feedback to your event partners and also receive feedback from them, as well as the client, setting yourself up for continued success on future events. Learning from our mistakes and also realizing our successes helps us learn and continue to grow into better event partners so the next event can be even smoother.

As planners and event industry professionals, we all know unexpected issues can arise no matter how many times you followed up or conversations you had in advance. Events involve many moving pieces and parts so sometimes, things out of our control are bound to pop up. We are responsible for planning and considering every detail, so have your problem-solving hat on and remember to remain calm!/







Paradise Coast # 1 Golf Destination

Posted by: Debi DeBenedetto, Naples Marco Island Everglades CVB on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)




Welcome to Florida's Paradise Coast of Naples Marco Island Everglades.  Miles of white sand beaches, luxury resorts and Golf galore!  IAGTO voted Naples America's number 1 golf destination for 2016.  For meetings our Resorts will please every type of sporting or beach event with 4 & 5 star quality.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Rebecca DeLuca, December Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
When I was a meeting planner in Ohio (my first industry role) I was a planner-member and attended MPI PEC in 2007! When I moved to Chicago I became involved with MPI-CAC and when I was asked to chair the Holiday Party in 2013 I didn’t hesitate to accept. It’s been a very fun 5+ years of involvement!

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
Being recognized as the 2017 Chapter Leader of the Year for my service to the chapter was a true highlight within my MPI career, thus far. I am also very proud to have played a part in the creation of two chapter education events, the Signature Luncheon and NEXT, during my time as VP Education.

How did you become part of the event industry?
I had a marketing internship with Cardinal Health when I was attending The Ohio State University and part of my responsibilities involved working on the 4,000 person annual program. After a few long months leading up to the event and looong days working the program, I was hooked and knew this was the industry I wanted to grow my career within.

How has MPI impacted your career?
MPI has given me the opportunity to serve on a board, cultivate my strategic thinking skills and immensely grow my network. Within the safe environment of MPI-CAC I have learned how to make mistakes, ask for help and be appreciative of diverse perspectives. I am better at what I do and how much I contribute to my organization’s success because of MPI.

Tell us something unique about you?
My go-to unique fact is that I drove an ice cream truck as a summer job in college (yes, free ice cream all day, every day)! On a more personal note I have a beautiful 13-month-old baby boy and he’s been on 5 trips with us so far - starting him young!

Ask the Expert Speaker Selection

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: In the past we have always used our senior executives to be the speakers at our conferences. While some can communicate quite well, we have several who are true experts in the field but do not have the presence to be a standalone speaker. How can we use their skills and put them into an environment where they can feel comfortable?

Answer: There are many people who have great knowledge, but are naturally not great speakers in a standalone environment. Where you can use people like this is to have them be part of a panel discussion where the moderator can direct specific questions to them to address. This format also allows you to invite pre-conference questions that can be directed to members of the panel. The best way to use this format is having someone develop the questions to be asked first and then assemble the panel members who are best able to address each question.

Question: We have attended many conferences where independent speakers have been booked to cover a topic or address certain issues that are the main theme of the conference. How do you select a speaker who is not only an expert but will be well received at our conference?

Answer: The list of independent speakers is quite large and you need an expert to help to narrow down your choices from a point of cost and abilities to address your audience. Use a speakers’ bureau to give you the options available and then request a video of each speaker to review each one that interests you. Once you have narrowed your list further, then make a point to speak to them and be very specific about the topic and the material you want them to present. Also make a point to advise them about people at your conference who might be offended by certain remarks and terms you want them to avoid. Doing as much pre-screening as possible will show in their reception by the audience.

Question: We recently booked a speaker for an event this Fall and just heard them speak at an event and were not impressed with them. How do we move to change the speaker and is there a cost to cancel their contract?

Answer: First, if you used a speakers’ bureau, have them help you replace the speaker with a more suitable choice. Be aware that in most speakers contracts, you will find that when you book them there is a usually a non-refundable deposit. When a speaker is booked for date they are no longer available to be booked by another organization and must decline other booking requests for that date. This is a normal business practice and one that should not surprise you. If you feel the speaker you booked is the wrong choice, pay the cancellation fee. It will be a small cost compared to the issues they could create at your event not being the appropriate choice.

Question: How should you prepare for the unforeseen situation of having a key speaker not show at your conference or cancel at the last minute?

Answer: When you plan a conference every great meeting professional will tell you that you must plan for the worst situations from the beginning. It would be difficult to have someone standing by, who is of the same caliber, as your original speaker. However, you can have alternate topics that can be presented using the other speakers in your program. Prior to your conference, make sure you have a meeting or a conference call to discuss such an event happening and have a specific plan in place ready to be used. If you plan ahead for problems, they can be handled with organization instead of panic.

The lifecycle of event planning - Part 3: Vendue and Vendor Sourcing

Posted by: Sarah Wantz, Wantz Events on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

We are now onto the phase where we know and understand our clients, we know the tools to accomplish their vision, and so the time begins to source vendors that can make it all happen. Dependent on the event format and client’s wish list, an event planner will be booking and managing everything from the venue to the DJ, catering, entertainment, sound, lighting, photography and interactive activations. With so many moving pieces, a quality team of vendors is absolutely crucial in putting on a high quality event.

The first booking, if possible, should be the venue as it sets the tone for the entire event. This also may determine your date (if flexible for the client) and may set a hard limit for guest count.

When searching for the perfect venue, there are a number of questions to ask to determine if the space works for the event. Venue type is an easy starting off point – does the client want a hotel, restaurant, or freestanding venue? From here, finding out what venues are available for the client’s event date, and then moving down the list of questions once you have determined the top venues of interest. Below we shared some recommended questions to ascertain if a venue will work for your event:

  • Location: Is the venue located in an area that makes sense for the client? Easy to get to, safe, enjoyable neighborhood or centrally located to their office or hotel? Is there parking or valet?
  • Inclusions: This is where a lot of venues win the business! Does the space come with any furniture, linens, in-house security, built-in AV? If the venue is priced right and also has inclusions that save your client potentially thousands of dollars, it may be a no-brainer. In the case of no inclusions, review their preferred vendor list and understand what outside vendors you can bring in, and if there is a fee associated.
  • Timeframe: How long can you utilize the space? If you have a lot of activations and require a full day setup, will the venue charge you per hour or does it include all day access?
  • Pricing: Often times, a client’s decision will come down to pricing, and additional costs they will incur on elements not included with the venue. Be sure they fully understand what is and is not included in the price. Dependent on what day of the week the event falls, you may be able to get a reduced fee.

Now we move onto all other event vendors!  Even though many planners have set vendors they prefer to work with, that vendor may not always be able to provide exactly what you need. You may also be working on an event outside of your home base and need to source vendors local to that market. Finding new vendors can sometimes be challenging as you don’t know their quality level, if pricing is fair based on the market, and if overall, they will be a good event partner. This is where a lot of research and references come in.

Do your due diligence and search for all vendors capable of providing the service you require. Reach out to the top three based on that research and see how they respond to you. Are their responses timely or are you repeatedly following up with them for quotes? Does their pricing seem reasonable according to the market? Ask to speak with previous clients to hear about how they work and/or if their product is high quality. Another helpful tip is to hone in as closely as possible on your exact needs, as early as possible. This will give the vendor a very clear understanding of what you are trying to accomplish and provide more realistic cost estimates up front. We all know that can be wishful thinking as special events are ever-evolving through the planning process.

The venue and vendors you partner with are paramount in pulling off a successful event!. Insure you are all on the same page up front and communicate well throughout the planning process. Pick them wisely and treat them well as you are all in this together with the same end goal.

Unique Meeting Venues Just Outside of Philadelphia

Posted by: Rachel Riley, Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Valley Forge and Montgomery County are the ultimate meetings destination.

With more than 300 cutting-edge venues, planners can hold an event in the countryside and still have that city feel.

From beautiful estates to golf courses, Valley Forge and Montgomery County can revolutionize your meeting and forge the extraordinary with unique meeting venues that are located near major roadways, and minutes from Center City.

Montco is home to more than 20 venues with at least 2,000-square-feet of space, including two IACC-approved conference centers, and dozens of conference hotels.

Valley Forge is well-equipped to host even the largest event with a pair of expo and convention facilities: the 240,000-square-foot Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, and the newly renovated 100,000-square-foot Valley Forge Convention Center at the Valley Forge Casino Resort.

Plus, many of Montgomery County’s unique meeting venues offer historic elegance combined with modern amenities, like at the 1700s Philander Chase Knox Estate, which is surrounded by 3,500 beautiful acres of Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Or, the 44-acre and more than 200-year-old Georgian Highlands Mansion & Gardens features a two-acre formal garden enclosed by massive stone walls. An excellent example of early 20th-century historic architecture, this facility includes nine outbuildings, bright and spacious rooms with 15-foot ceilings, and 2,400 square-feet to accommodate 120 to 150 people.

People enjoy the natural lighting, customizable space, and great views of locations such as those and the Merk Conshy, the flagship location of the newly renamed WorkMerk.

Other properties that also provide great views include the 19th-century field stone barn at John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, a 4,000-square-foot space that sets the stage for an unforgettable event.  The first American home of John James Audubon celebrates his artistic and scientific legacy with a small museum housing all his major paper works, and original oil paintings.

Another barn facility, the fully-restored 18th-century dairy barn, Barn on Bridge provides the perfect canvas for you to paint the meeting of your dreams for up to 200 people.

Montgomery County is also home to 54 golf courses with 300,000 yards for meeting and playing! Some of the most historic, and top-ranked courses in the country are here. And, with 75 hotels, incredible attractions, and 1,600 restaurants, Montco is the ideal destination for your meeting.

For more information on meetings in Valley Forge and Montgomery County, visit www.valleyforge.org/meetings.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Erin Connell, November Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
I had a professor that introduced me to MPI as a Freshman in college and I was intrigued. I finally made the commitment to join two years later!

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
So far, the most exciting thing that has happened to me since joining MPI has been sitting on the MPI-CAC Annual Awards Recognition Celebration Committee. I am surrounded by such intelligent, like-minded people and I look forward to chatting and learning from them each time we meet.

How did you become part of the event industry?
I have a long background of hospitality and have always been interested in the industry (I used to want to be a chef), but the moment I knew I wanted to get into events was when I got the opportunity to be the segment lead for planning a fashion show in high school.

How has MPI impacted your career?
MPI has impacted my career by allowing me to expand my network, have a community of like-minded people that I can learn and grow from, and has given me the opportunity to grow my skill set and knowledge base. I love being a part of planning the Annual Awards Recognition Celebration as I am currently in corporate events and haven’t had the opportunity to truly express my creativity.

Tell us something unique about you?
I was hired full-time at my organization as the Corporate Events Associate the summer before my last year of college. I am graduating a year early, so although I am technically a Senior graduating in May ‘18, I have only been in school for 3 years and will be 21 when I graduate. In addition to school and work, I sit on the MPI-CAC Annual Awards Recognition Celebration committee, volunteer occasionally, travel, and still manage to watch all of my Netflix shows! My next trip is to Vancouver, BC to do some personal research on the city’s sustainability initiatives including visiting different event venues and caterers. I am very interested in event management and sustainability, and how the two elements can be combined to achieve successful green events (If you have interest in this, please reach out. I would love to chat!).

Engaging Event Presentations Do This And Then Some

Posted by: Brella Productions on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

As presentation specialists, we understand how to “read the room.” We know when a presentation is connecting with an audience, when an audience is losing interest, and we also know that many clients are operating under a misconception about how much time they actually have to reach their audience.

We generally subscribe to the idea that the attention span a person can comfortably hold is around 20 minutes. Focus fades after that, but it can be rallied back with meaningful action. Here are a few effective approaches to captivate and engage your audience.

Ask Good Questions
Posing thought-provoking questions can invite audiences deeper into your subject matter. Let them participate in an exchange of ideas. In addition to critical thinking questions, go interactive with an app that attendees can answer questions on. Everyone’s answers can then appear live on screen to open up a bigger group discussion.

Show, Don’t Tell
Your audience has 5 senses—here are some strategic ways to engage them.

  • Touch — Let  the audience use their hands for something other than taking notes or checking their phones. Challenge attendees to create something that promotes intellectual and physical engagement. For instance, an event Bella helped coordinate, incorporated an interactive presentation aid where attendees built buildings to emphasize constructing something part of a whole…with legos. Who says legos are just for kids?
  • Taste — Implement an experience to go with a meal. Brella helped a client design a strategic murder mystery dinner in Muir Woods for a leadership team meeting. A senior leader used food, mystery, and an awesome venue to weave an experience into his presentation about collaboration and cooperation.
  • Hearing — Give them an auditory experience with live performances to reinforce your theme. Brella produced a video with live singers for a meeting that played Lean on Me, which tied in to patients leaning on the company to help improve their quality of life. Good tunes and a good message.
  • Sight — Many of us are visual learners. Tap into that with an opening video, or powerful visuals in your presentation that aren’t crowded with too much text. Don’t underestimate the impact of a stunning and cleverly built PowerPoint that incorporates meaningful visual reinforcement.
  • Smell — Strengthen your theme with complementary smells. Case in point: Brella helped with a campaign launch that had a train theme, and carts of roasted nuts and popcorn (popular snack foods on European trains) were brought in to give off the aroma and vibe of being on the train (and give attendees a delicious snack).

Give Concrete Next Steps
What should audiences do with what you’ve presented? Give them a clear call to action. Without direction, they won’t know what to take away—and won’t remember what you’ve told them. Give them digital reminders—a presentation summary, a handout, or a post-event video to reinforce your message.

Incorporate some of these strategic approaches and help your clients create interesting ways to keep their audiences engaged far longer than the status quo. 


The Life Cycle of Event Planning - Part 2: Creativity in all Elements

Posted by: Sarah Wantz, Wantz Events on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Event vendors are in a prime position today as special events become more and more prevalent as the form of B2B and B2C marketing. Events are an opportunity for a company or client in general, to show who they really are, what their product is, how it works, and what building community means to them. Many companies realize the value of an event and the lasting impression it can leave on guests. They also realize the competition is fierce and they have to step up their game if they want their company to stand out from the crowd!

With more and more people understanding the impact of an event, come a higher number of event invitations! In today’s market, people value the experience and that value is determined by how an event made them feel. Feeling valued, understood, appreciated, sought after, leaves guests appreciating your brand. How can we achieve this as event vendors? Through creativity, originality, imagination and uniqueness making the guest feel special, and giving them something they have never seen before.

Venue: The venue of course sets the tone for the entire event. Once that is set, you know what you are working with regarding layouts, themes, and what makes sense within the space.

Lighting: An entire room and mood can be changed with creative lighting concepts such as uplights, gobos, colorful lighting schemes, and more.

Seating: Going from 60” rounds with a seated dinner to a mix of lounge seating, highboys, cabarets, and action food stations changes the entire feel of an event by changing the layout.

Décor: Drive home the theme of the event by way of linens, florals, props, stage sets, etc. as the game changer. Events can touch on all five of the senses so why not use all of them!


Entertainment - With a wide variety of directions to go with entertainment, give guests something they have never seen before – a classically trained violinist playing along with current pop music.

Photo booth - Every event now has a photo booth, and everyone loves a good photo booth, but many are the same with cowboy hats and feather boas. Taking an activation that in and of itself is not necessarily ground-breaking, but doing it differently, is key! Example - the still-motion photo activations with 40 cameras placed around providing a 3D GIF is exciting, different, and sure to have your guests sharing on social media.

Product engagement - A tennis shoe brand allowing guests to design their own shoe to take home, a TV show recreating their film set for guests to fully immerse themselves in the theme (SXSW Westworld event) – two examples of the endless ways to creatively drive home the company’s message.

As each specific event detail is important, so is ‘the big picture’ – revamping the entire look and feel of a tired and dated annual gala means changing the entire concept, along with a fresh venue and different décor, and new and modern activations. Innovation in and of itself is a large task, but one that will increase your ROI. Creativity is instrumental in all of event planning elements and we must continue to think outside of the box. While certain things limit creativity, first and foremost budget, and second, the client’s wishes, understand your parameters and work within those to add these elements of surprise to awe and captivate your guests.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Adam Hud, November Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
Through my father’s recommendation.

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?

Joining my current company (PSAV) though MPI involvement and Co-Chairing the Golf Classic for many years.

How did you become part of the event industry?
Through my father.

How has MPI impacted your career?
It has educated me and created numerous wonderful relationships over the years.

Tell us something unique about you?
I am a HUGE Chicago sports fan and am also a soccer coach.

40 Years of MPI in Chicago - It is a Matter of How We Communicate

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

The history of our chapter has always been tied to how we communicate and how we express our identity. When our association was young and growing, it had a different name: Meeting Planners International. It took several years before the association recognized that of its many members, barely half of the membership was involved in planning or executing meetings.

As the organization continued to grow, it became very apparent that without the supplier community, the organization could not survive. As a result, both the name of the organization and the rules of who could be involved in the leadership of the national organization and the chapters changed. Thus, the new name of Meeting Professionals International was born.

But the organization had one more step to take before it could become more of a global organization. The national organization had allowed the chapters to assume their own identity and had seen a movement of favoring the local chapters over the national organization . This is when each chapter had its own nickname.  So you saw Chicago being known as CAMPI for Chicago Area Meeting Professionals International, and if you went to Wisconsin their nickname was WIMPI.

A lot of this had to do with how we as a business community communicated, which involved a heavy reliance on the US Mail, the telephone and fax machines. People looked forward to their printed newsletters and magazines which carried information of new venues and advertising on ones that had a special offer for you. When we had meeting announcements to send out, most times we sent a flyer or post card, as their postage cost was less than a first class letter.

This also was a time of personal conversations and meetings which created very strong business and professional relationships. People buy or deal with people they know and like, and when you know someone on a personal level the connection is very strong. Yes, the “3 Martini Lunch” was a part of this time, but you also saw people who wanted to exchange ideas and met in person on a regular basis.

It was not uncommon for a meeting planner and their staff to come to a supplier’s office to discuss their conference needs and layout a calendar of events for the coming year. This was also the time when cell phones had started to move from being the size of a brick to something that could fit into your pocket. Email was seen as a way to document a conversation and the size and type of attachments was limited.

As technology evolved it became easier to send larger files and include more color in email attachments. It was accepted faster by younger users as they had much more of a fascination with technology than more senior users. It then became more of a generational way of communicating.

If you look back even just three to five years ago we as an organization communicated much differently and not as frequently. Now we expect to see more communication with a variety of content arriving in our inboxes each day. One thing, though, is important to remember: the style and way you communicate defines who you are as an individual. We as an organization want to encourage as much in-person communication as it creates friendships and relationships that should be an integral part of our professional lives.

The Lifecycle of Event Planning - Part 1: Understanding Your Client

Posted by: Sarah Wantz, Wantz Events on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Understanding Your Client is the first step to planning any event. Before diving into mood boards and conception, it’s important to try to get a real sense of your client’s personality, likes and dislikes, and the ‘vibe’ they are trying to achieve. Do they want a serious tone to come across, or do they want this to be an event where their employees and/or customers let loose, socialize with one another, and leave with a positive feeling towards the company? At Wantz events, we find it helpful to have initial meetings at the client’s office to get a firsthand sense of the company culture. If they are a young tech company, it is unlikely they will host in a hotel ballroom as they tend to gravitate towards unique, stand-alone venues. If they are an older and well-established association with attendees from out of town, they may love the idea of a hotel ballroom as a one-stop-shop where guests will also stay.

Knowing your client’s dislikes is equally as important as understanding their likes and goals for the event. Some people have strong opinions about things you may not have expected – one type of alcohol or food item, disliking certain songs, preference towards DJ over live band, etc. - and not want that element present anywhere at the event. Getting to know your client and truly understanding them and their goals, makes every decision through the planning process easier.

As creatives, it can be easy for planners to get excited and start down a path that they feel is the better choice for the client, but at the end of the day, we are here to insure they feel the event was a success!

Who is your client, and who are they putting this event together for? What are your client’s goals and objectives? How would they define a successful event? What is their style, vibe, and company culture?

Once you know and understand your client and their objectives, you can then move onto developing themes, concepts, venue ideas, event activations, and all of the other fun involved in planning and managing a special event.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Jessica Defraties: October Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
I have had many peers and co-workers recommend joining MPI based off of their positive experience with the organization and recently joining the AceBounce team my Director of Sales had the same sentiments. Therefore, she helped get me set up as a member and it has truly been a great so far!

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
The most memorable moment for me has been my first leadership luncheon. It was very impressive to see the support and turn out of other members, the engaging activities which helped me meet new contacts and the speakers were fun & motivational. 

How did you become part of the event industry?
Oh my, I have worked almost every nook of hospitality from hotels, casinos, QSR and fine dining. I truly enjoy creating a memorable experience for my guests and the event industry plays a key role in both the planning and execution of their visit. It has simply developed as a passion point of mine throughout my hospitality journey. 

How has MPI impacted your career?
MPI has assisted me with expanding my networking and developing stronger relationships within the meetings & events industry. 

Tell us something unique about you?
I love trying new food and some of the most exotic items that I have tried include, sea urchin, calf brains and shark. 

Jump into Spring with F&B trends

Posted by: Brandy Gonsoulin, Blue Plate Catering on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Springtime in the meeting and events industry is when we recollect from the holidays, inspire with new ideas and plan some killer events. For Blue Plate Catering, our focus goes to the food, because, after all, food is the anchor for the beginnings of a memorable event. Here are some quick tips on trends we are seeing going into spring.

Focus on Vegetables
Vegetables have had a slow run to the center of the plate, but increased interest in plant-based products and a shift to healthier eating has given vegetables their due, especially for first courses and at stations says Executive Sous Chef, Randal Jacobs. Spring vegetables like artichokes, radishes and fennel not only offer light and unique flavors but also provide chefs opportunities for using the ingredient as part of the vehicle.

Interactive Food Stations
Guests want to get closer to the food experience, and that remains true going into 2018. “Interactive, chef-attended food stations are increasingly popular these days as more and more people are inspired by creating unique food experiences. Rather than present a simple buffet, an action food station attended by a live chef provides another level of service while also adding to the decor of the space.”

Lower alcohol content cocktails
Mocktails were all the rage last year and this year we are seeing a shift back to the booze, but just less of it. “There's been a growing trend towards health consciousness over the last few years; simultaneously, cocktail culture has gained popularity,” says Blue Plate head mixologist, Lov Carpenter. “People want to regularly take part in that culture without the consequences. Low abv/alcohol content allows drinkers to enjoy fully enjoy their cocktails while lowering health risks and chances of a hangover.”

Ask the Expert Risk Management

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: I am new to meeting planning and I keep hearing I should be aware of the Risk Management as a part of my job. Can you please give me an idea of what I should know?

Answer: Basically Risk Management is understanding what can go wrong and how should you plan to avoid putting you or your attendees in a potentially risky situation. It comes down to looking at what things could happen such as bad weather or a vendor not completing materials you need on time. It can also be viewed as looking at what the worst case could be for an event and trying to anticipate how you would overcome the situation. It is remembering that what can go wrong, will go wrong, and are you prepared to solve the problem.

Question: If I am doing a site inspection of a facility, what things should I consider as a potentially risk to my attendees?

Answer: When you are walking a facility make a point to look for the fire exists and make a point to look behind the doors. Many situations have occurred from facilities having exits, but people could not use them because they were locked, blocked by a cart or stored materials. Look to see where there is an assembly area where you can find your people if they had to leave the room suddenly. Make a point when you are running an event to check these every day. It may take a few minutes, but if a situation occurred and you needed to use them, they are useable.

Question: Our insurance staff is constantly talking about us needing to take Reasonable Care in how we operate. What does that really mean?

Answer: Reasonable care is defined as making an effort to ensure that you or someone on your staff did not create a situation where harm could come potentially to someone or damage property. Something as simple as seeing a wet spot on a floor and then requesting it to be marked with a sign and cleaned up is taking Reasonable Care. It also covers things such as ensuring that all fire safety equipment is in working order and is accessible and properly marked. Additionally training is considered Reasonable Care. Did you train your staff to know how to react to a situation and who to call for assistance from inside the facility or outside?

Question: We are planning a conference in a country where we have just purchased a new facility. Are there potential Risk Management items I should know?

Answer: Whenever you travel to a foreign country remember that being an American Citizen is not going to help you. You need to look into areas such as how health care is handled and payment received for those services in that country. Many countries require that you pay in cash and be prepared their fees are not cheap, regardless of what you have heard in the news.  The State Department offers travel advisories concerning many countries and can give you specific areas you need to know before you enter the country. Depending on the country you plan to visit, you should to speak with the US Consulate so that they are aware of your visit and give them your complete itinerary for the group including multiple contact points. Also ensure that you advise them along your trip if you are not on schedule and have needed to make any deviations to your route. Being proactive can ensure you have help available if you need it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lindsay Woike: October Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
I was encouraged by the association I work for to join MPI and get involved.  Once I joined, I attended the new member mixer and found a few committees I wanted to be involved in!  From there, other members helped me find my path and make sure I was happy with the committees I was involved in.


What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
I would say winning the “Tomorrow’s Leader Award” and also working on a new event that is now successfully in its 3rd year, The Signature Luncheon. 


How did you become part of the event industry?
I used to work for Hyatt Hotels and I ran events there.  I wanted to move to more of a planner role after I saw the kind of work planners were doing.  It gave me the work life balance I was looking for.


How has MPI impacted your career?
MPI has helped me grow in my ways.  Not only by meeting great industry people but also by getting to learn new skills.  Marketing has been a skill that I didn’t get to utilize in my current job role and now know much more about with MPI.


Tell us something unique about you?
I try to take advantage of every work travel opportunity I have and make sure I do at least one adventurous trip while I'm there like kayaking, scuba diving or hiking. 

Technology trends you should expect to see in 2018

Posted by: Soraya Herbert, DAHLIA+ on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

The forecast of technology for 2018 is bright and shiny with a few interesting bumps we will welcome along the way.

2017 was the year of monumental technology breakthroughs. From 360° videos and pictures to AI technology and we can’t forget about AR, VR, and MR. With the amazing products and research we did in 2017, what does that mean for 2018?

Here are 7 technology trends you should expect to see in 2018:

1. Video Content
2017 was undeniably the year of video. According to various statistics, videos made up 80% of all internet web traffic. Which means that it will only increase this year. With video becoming one of the number one ways to communicate. We will see various types of video i.e. (VR, 360°, Live Streaming) being shared.

2. 3D - Printing
3D-printing will be more than hype technology in 2018. The State of 3D printing, claimed that last year 72% of companies used some form of 3D printing. Companies like HP, have already put into motion strong developments in technology to continue their growth in the 3D printing manufacturing sector.

3. Global Internet Traffic increase
It is predicted that smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic this year. In 2017, PCs accounted for 52% of total IP traffic, but according to Quantumrun by 2021 PCs will make up only 25 % of internet traffic. Last year alone, smartphones accounted for 52.1% of total IP traffic, up from 33% reported in 2016.  Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will account for more than 63% of total IP traffic by 2021.

*Think about how this will affect your events...

4. It’s all about Big Data
By this point, most companies have realized the power and bandwidth of consumer data, and in 2018, data collection is going to become an even higher priority. From social media platforms to the digital footprint we leave as we stream videos on Netflix or track our steps on our Fitbit, etc. Every second, over 900,000 people actively use Facebook, 452,000  tweets are posted on Twitter, and 3.5+ million of us search for something on Google. Each day we are adding to data and that data is being tracked and used to make more breakthroughs in technology.

5. AI infestation
We no longer have an internet of phones and computers, with the introduction of AI,  machines are increasingly being built to communicate with each other with less need for human input. Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, and more will be added this year. AI is starting to make an appearance in almost every new platform, app, or device, and that trend is only going to accelerate in 2018. From your home to the workplace, our cars ,and your events.

6. IoT becomes BIoT
Don’t be that person that procrastinates and gets left behind. With everything being connected to the IoT “Internet of Things”, it was only in due time that cryptocurrency would make its way into it. Blockchain will transform the way we record and access certain types of data. Blockchain, one of the underlying technologies for the trendy cryptocurrency (Bitcoin), can make IoT devices even more useful. When blockchain combines with the IoT it creates a digital record across hundreds or thousands of computers, which can reduce the risk of hacking

7. 5g
1G, 2G, 3G, 4G...now we will have 5G. 2018 will be the year of phone carriers preparing for 5G. 5G internet has the potential to be almost 10x faster than 4G, making it even better than most home internet services. The reason why this is such a big deal is that it will result in higher wireless speeds, capacities, and lower latency.  Which in a nutshell means that there will be far fewer delays or "technical issues" in some of the things it powers, like wireless VR, smart devices and mobile devices.

Each day technology will find a way to make our lives easier. Grab your umbrellas, because we have technology storm heading our way!




Sponsorship and Branding It's all about the design

Posted by: David Epstein, HMR Designs on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

One of the key components to orchestrating successful corporate events is to create inviting, visually stimulating environments where guests feel comfortable networking and conducting business. Great corporate events combine the art of visual design with branding and marketing imagery, often reinforcing the primary event goals themselves.

Corporate branding in event environments is of course nothing new. We’ve all become accustomed (and somewhat desensitized) to branded signage pointing us in one direction or another, and large sponsorship banners suspended from exhibit hall walls. Raising the bar with creative ideas for branding placement can both enhance the look and feel of your event and increase opportunities for sponsorship that can frequently help with the bottom line.

For example, incorporating stylish lounge seating into an event space enhances guest comfort and will often boost the overall vibe of a room. Branding these groupings with subtle, sophisticated touches can be a very effective use of logo placement and highly desirable for event sponsors. Examples include printed pillows, branded coffee tables, end tables and branded lamp designs. It’s not uncommon for a sponsor to underwrite the cost of the furniture rental in exchange for the unique branding exposure, especially in areas that boost the events overall aesthetic. Branded specialty bars, communal tables and centerpiece designs are additional design elements that can be used as “stylized” marketing vehicles by potential event sponsors.

Sometimes the name of the game is high-impact exposure. Specialty lighting elements are an effective means for “going big”. Lighting and AV tools such as gobo projections and video mapping can transform entire walls (and even the sides of buildings) into blank canvasses for marketing messages and sponsor logos. On a smaller scale, the now common use of wireless LED lighting has opened the floodgates for marketing opportunities, making it easy to incorporate illuminated graphics almost anywhere. Grand-scale lightboxes, lamp designs and interior-illuminated towers are all effective tools to enhance food stations, seating areas, and entrances with brand identity.

Sponsorship and branding will always be central elements of corporate event design and the avenues for creativity have never been more abundant. Thinking out of the box is key… digital printing technology has granted us the capability to virtually “brand anything”. The goal is to use that capability in tasteful, unique and unconventional ways. Your sponsors and attendees will notice and appreciate it!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
I have been unofficially been involved with MPI for many years, but I officially joined 6 years ago when I started with Topgolf in Wood Dale.

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
Outside of the amazing connections I have made?  Topgolf has been honored to host many MPI events including the Spring Golf Clinic and the Spring Education Program.  As a suburban professional, I’m happy to bring the benefits of MPI membership to the ‘burbs.   I was also lucky enough to hear Michael Hahn (Hero Habits) speak at MPI NEXT’17.  Michael and I have done several exciting and educational events together since then.

How did you become part of the event industry?
I started years ago with the Walter Payton’s Entertainment One concepts.  I was hired the day after I graduated from UIC.

How has MPI impacted your career?
Many of the contacts I’ve made have evolved into lifelong friendships.  I treasure my friends and connections I’ve made during my membership with MPI.  Each person offers a new unique perspective, and one can learn and grow with each new interaction.  

Tell us something unique about you?
I’ve worked at Topgolf and although I play Topgolf all the time, I’ve never played the game of golf on a green grass course – ever!

Ask the Expert - Business Golf

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Golf is one of the few sports activities that can be used to enhance a business friendship. It provides you dedicated time with one or more people. Golf is also an activity that allows someone who is not a consistent player to participate with you or a group and be able to contribute to the game.

The date for the Annual Golf Outing was just announced and it is time to invite your preferred partner(s) and prepare for the event. This is not just an opportunity for a supplier to engage with a planner or decision maker but also for a planner to arrange a group of suppliers to help them create a relationship for a new or upcoming opportunity. The idea of business golf is based on spending from 2 to 4 hours together in a confined setting. It allows you to get to know someone on a personal level, which will help each of you work together towards a common goal.

Business golf can take place at a local course or at a resort, as part of a site inspection. If you are going to make it part of a site inspection, it is always best to elevate this experience by adding the course’s Professional Golfer as part of the group. Any player will tell you that on-course lessons are the best way to improve and better understand the game and how to approach a variety of shot situations.

One thing to understand is that you do not need to be a “scratch” player to invite someone for a round of golf. Also, not everyone wants or has time for 18 holes. You can play either a 9 hole course or an 18 hole course that offers a 9 hole option. If you give someone the opportunity to hit some balls at the range before you play and play 9 holes, you can be finished in just over 2 hours.

A tip for the avid supplier golfer, while you might prefer a very early tee time for your usual game, your guest may not want to play so early. Be prepared to play mid-morning or in the afternoon and choose a course close to the home of the one you invite.

Some people are quite interested in having someone help them with their game, while others feel it is more of an insult if you critique their game. Always ask if someone wants help or for you to observe their swing while you play. No matter how badly your partner plays that day never feel you must insert yourself as the teacher. Doing so can ruin a business friendship very quickly.

Finally, once you have finished your golf game, the “19th Hole” (better known as the bar) is always an option, but is not required. My suggestion here is, if your partner wants to have a parting beverage be respectful based on what you order. If your partner has an iced tea or a soda, that is your cue to do the same.  

Food Allergies, What Do I Do?

Posted by: Amanda Masters, White Lodging on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Food allergies are becoming more common than not, which can make planning or organizing any event, regardless of size, intimidating.  On the flip side, attending an event as a participant who has an allergy, some would argue, is even more intimidating.  As an individual living with celiac disease, I can personally attest to the sheer panic that rushes through me when a plate of food is placed in front of me at a networking event. I start to question it because I don’t know the people at my table, the full ingredients list of what is on my plate, and how the meal was prepared.  I don’t want to be rude and send my plate back or explain my disease to table full of strangers, but food allergies are no joke. 

Common food allergies today range from milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, grains, and fish.  Symptoms can be as small as an uncomfortable rash or as severe as death.  So, how does a planner take into account all of these food allergies while still satisfying everyone’s needs and have a safe and successful event? Here are a few tips.

  1. Start at registration. Create a safe space where the attendee can communicate their allergy and what it entails. Be sure to provide confirmation to the attendee that their allergy has been accounted for, will be well sought after, and will be executed carefully and properly.  It is ultimately the responsibility of the attendee to communicate their allergy, but then the responsibility falls on the planner to communicate the allergy with all the personal involved with  planning the menu, ordering the food, preparing the meal, and serving the meal to the attendee.

  2. To make it easier on the planner and catering staff, offer a wide variety of simple foods that can easily be altered to accommodate all allergies and restrictions. Providing simple options, will allow the chef to easily prepare a made from scratch plate, in a safe environment, for attendees that require special attention.  If the menu you wish to offer does not allow for this type of flexibility, plan to have allergy friendly meals safely prepared in advance.

  3. Buffets are an easy and cost effective way to serve a large quantity of people; not to mention they can be uniquely themed, adding an element of creativity and fun to your event. In a buffet setting, clearly label each dish and all the ingredients the offering contains so attendees can rest assure they know what they are consuming.  To take it a step further, list out what allergy the dish accommodates (Example: “Peanut, Soy, and Gluten Free Friendly).

  4. Communication is key. Reiterate and repeat concerns at every step of the planning process and in every communication.  If you don’t understand what the attendee is asking for, keep asking questions until you do.  Be sure to include everyone, management, front of the house, back of the house, and so forth, so if they get blinded sided with a question from an attendee the day of the event, they will know how to respond. 

Cheers to fun and safe events for all!

Come get Involved - Call for Volunteers

Posted by: Kate Shea, Leadership Development Committee on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

COME & GET INVOLVED! Grow your career and build your business!

If you are looking to become a leader in MPI, we want you! The MPI-CAC is one of the largest chapters with 800 members, and hosts 12 educational and networking events annually. Each event needs committee members with creative minds and leaders to collaborate with one another. With 13 different committees available, there are numerous ways to get involved: Annual Awards Recognition Celebration, Awards Selection, Community Outreach, Education Programs, Golf Classic, Holiday Celebration, Industry Xchange, Leadership Development, Membership, NEXT Conference, Partner Development, and Trivia Night. Joining a committee allows for endless opportunities in networking, leadership, and education. If you are interested in becoming involved, please complete the Committee Interest Form and someone will reach out to you.  If you have any questions on joining a committee, please reach out to Jessica Defraties at Jessica.Defraties@acebounce.com.

A benefit of being involved with MPI is leadership development and personal and professional growth. If you are interested in taking on a leadership role on a committee, please complete the Committee Co-Chair Application Form.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Brooke Weidman
September Engaged Member of the Month
MPI Education Committee Co-Chair
Complex Director of Group Sales Director
W Chicago – Lakeshore

How did you become involved in MPI?
I joined as a member about 4 years ago and immediately became a part of the Education Programs Committee.  About 2 months in, I was named co-chair for the committee.  I’ve been co-chair ever since!

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
In 2016 I was named one of MPI-CAC’s Tomorrow’s Leaders at the Annual Awards Gala.  Such an honor!

How did you become part of the event industry?
I went to University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for a degree in Recreation, Sport and Tourism.  I needed a semester of an internship which I completed at the Hilton Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale.  I ended up staying on as a Banquet Manager and eventually a Sales Manager for 5 years before moving on to opening the Marriott Naperville and now at W Hotels of Chicago. 

How has MPI impacted your career?
MPI has given me the opportunity to be on the other side of event planning.  As a Director of Sales, I’m on the hotel side of the process but as co-chair for Education Programs, I’m able to shift gears to be a planner.

Tell us something unique about you?
When traveling to different cities, I like to eat and drink like a local.  I’ll skip all the touristy spots and find those hidden gems that the locals enjoy. I’m headed to Hong Kong, Bali and Singapore for my honeymoon in January so all suggestions are welcomed.

Combating Food Waste

Posted by: Christie Springer and Matt Rundquist, Sodexo USA on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

­­­Growing up, “clean your plate” was the rule at the dinner table. We were taught the importance of not wasting food, along with the reminder that countless people go hungry all over the world. While our leftovers wouldn’t go very far, in the hospitality industry we can indeed make a difference.

Did you know that 33% of all food is wasted? Not only does the direct waste of food have a negative environmental impact, but producing that food also has a secondary impact as it uses an incredible amount of water, soil, nutrients, and energy. To put it in perspective, imagine if 1/3 of all your events were cancelled. Additionally, when food waste ends up in a landfill, it produces large volumes of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that has negative effects on the environment. As event planners and catering professionals, we can play a large role in reducing this waste.

Best Practices

Source reduction is a key impactor. Don’t load up your buffets! Work with your caterer to keep food in coolers or hot boxes as long as possible, replenishing as needed. Smaller batch cooking can also aide in waste reduction. Food held at safe temperatures and not exposed to contamination can have a second life as a food donation to fight hunger.

Case study - Sodexo at the Museum of Science and Industry has donated over 10,000 meals since 2016. All donated food supports Helping Arms Outreach Ministries, which provides transitional housing to help break the cycle of homelessness on the South Side of Chicago.

Have your caterer write menus with scraps and off- cuts of meat in mind. Kitchens can make stock from shells, bones, and vegetable scraps. Panzanella and croutons are a great secondary use for bread. Through education you can even engage guests and clients on food waste reduction by showcasing beet-greens, carrot tops, or less-common cuts of proteins in recipes.  

Track your waste. Waste Watch (powered by LeanPath) is one of Sodexo’s Best Practices for tracking back-of-house waste. Complete with cameras to observe what is being wasted, and sophisticated trend-identification, Waste Watch has been shown to reduce kitchen waste by up to 50%. For lower tech kitchens, keep a log of food thrown away at the end of an event, and set goals for reduction. If food waste is high, consider smaller portion sizes. Pre-portioning on buffets can also help guests take only what they’ll eat.

Compost! Commercial compost hauling is now available in many areas. While composting onsite may be an option for some, hauling opens up composting to the rest of us. In many cases, food scraps can be picked up much like trash, taken to a composter, and within 30 days turned into a rich soil.

Becoming Food Recovery Verified can also help communicate your commitments to your team and clients.  Each of us can make a positive industry impact in reducing food waste.

Here are some resources you can utilize to implement these strategies in your environment.


Better Outcomes are merely Habits away . . .

Posted by: Howard Wallach on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Successful people are where they are today because of their habits. Habits determine much of a person’s behavior. Everything that you are today, and everything that you’ll ever accomplish, is determined by the quality of the habits that you form.

Upgrade your habits because you can! Seriously, don’t settle! Start transforming your mindset - don’t exchange what you want most for what’s easiest at the moment.  When you can figure out where your time goes, you can remove needless distractions and focus on what really matters.

In the best-selling book, The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg details a simple three-step process that all habits follow. This cycle, known as The Habit Loop, says that each habit consists of…

                        The Trigger: the event that starts the habit.

                        The Routine: the behavior that you perform, the habit itself.

                        The Reward: the benefit that is associated with the behavior.

This helpful framework can make it easier to stick to new habits so that you can improve your health, your work, and your life in general.

Enjoy these actionable tips and mindful habits you can implement right now - Ignite change and more simplicity in your life.

  • Use THANK YOU rather than I’m SORRY. Flip the script.

2 adjusted words change what may be perceived as a negative mistake into a moment for you to express your gratitude & appreciation. At Starbucks, they’ll say "thanks for your patience guys" instead of "sorry about the  wait guys." Try making this your own habit. If you forgot to do something important that you committed to, you could say “thank you for being understanding and patient with me” rather than simply saying “I’m sorry.”

  • Smile People! It’s infectious. Leave a better environment in your wake by smiling more often and smiling attracts more of the same energy to you. Co-workers and employees are much more receptive to leaders who smile. Be mindful; begin and end a request with a congenial smile.

  • Get up early. Have an amazing start. Take advantage of that extra time. Reward yourself! Even if you’re a person who works better at night, if you wake up early, you’ll get more stuff done. Put another way; It’s theoretically impossible that all successful people are morning people, and yet they are. Translation: there must be a reason to wake up earlier instead of staying up later. Copy the ones that are doing it right!

  • Listen to great music. This is more than DJ talk. Increase your mood by listening to amazing music. Don’t have Spotify or Pandora Apps? Why? Easy access and infinite choice are a few clicks away. Listen as often as you possibly can and really get invested in your treasured songs/artists. Your favorite tunes remove stress and guarantee a better mood.

  • Clean your work space. Piles suck and mess equals stress. Clear your clutter and maintain an organized desk consistently. This shows your team your dedication to a continued focus on priorities. Be organized and efficient; be a superstar role model to your team!

As always, self-experimentation is the only real answer. Don’t expect all your attempts to change habits to be successful immediately. It took me four independent tries before I started ‘Waking Up Early’ regularly. Now I love it. Try your best, but expect a few bumps along the way.      

Further Reading . . .

                        The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

                        Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

                        Hooked by Nir Eyal

                        The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
I joined MPI to make connections within the event industry, and to help make it smaller. I had heard wonderful things from my team on their involvement within the organization, and I have been a part of MPI for about a year now.

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
For the past few months, I have joined the Leadership Development Committee, and serve as their marketing chair. It has helped me to build relationships and become more involved within MPI. I have enjoyed writing articles on Engaged Members of the Month and Leadership Involvement within the organization. I am honored to be this month’s EMOM from my committee’s nomination.

How did you become part of the event industry?
During college, I had a summer internship at a small wedding boutique where I learned about the event industry. I graduated from Miami University (OH) with an Education degree, but took a job as a wedding assistant for LK Events. I worked in weddings for a year before becoming a corporate meeting planner but still work weddings day-of occasionally. 

How has MPI impacted your career?
It has made the event industry so small. I have been able to build relationships that have turned into some great friendships. The educational events it offers have been wonderful for my career as well—networking with other planners and suppliers who understand my work and deal with similar issues is super helpful.

Tell us something unique about you?
I have three roommates—my 3 best friends from college. We have lived together for 6 years—since our sophomore year of college!

Work Wellness: Educating Yourself on Yourself

Posted by: Tara Gray, CMP, CIC, Maritz Travel Company on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

It’s a new year which means a new you and resolutions galore. As a corporate meeting planner, my resolution was to increase my knowledge of wellness or my work-life-ism relax-YOU-cation.

What is relax-YOU-cation.? It is simply educating myself on myself. The more I take care of myself, the better I am for my family, friends, co-workers and MPI-CAC community. According to Health.com and Kathi Heffner, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the Rochester Center for Mind-Body Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, “There are studies to show that stress is comparable to other risk factors that we traditionally think of as major, like hypertension, poor diet and lack of exercise.”

I had the opportunity to talk with Cheyenne Bowers, Spa Director, Spa at Loews Chicago on tips and tricks from the professionals on how to keep my new year self-going throughout the busy first quarter. With 3 spa treatment rooms, 400 guests rooms and 29,000 square feet of meeting space, Cheyenne was the perfect person to help me stay focused on my New Year’s Resolution and continue to educate myself on myself.

Working in a meeting hotel, you see attendees and planners come through your door? What is the most common stress guests have during a meeting and their reason to come to your spa to relax?

The most common issue our guests have is they are sitting in these meeting for a long period of time, they have back pain and they need to release stress. Often this back pain is caused from sitting incorrectly, and then having the stress build. Being cramp on a plane during traveling can also cause tension. 

  • With everyone on their phones and computers, how as this changed relaxation techniques? Do your therapists notice anything different?

It is slightly harder for people to relax on their own because their lives revolve around technology. The best advice is to turn electronics off for a few minutes/hours and enjoy life without it. Our therapists do notice that some of our clients have to have their phone with them at all times, even when they are receiving a treatment. We customize every massage to each guest’s specific needs.

  • How does relaxation change your brain and ability to absorb new information?

When our clients come to a complete relaxation, their minds shuts down and their stress goes away - even if this means the relaxation is only for a few hours. Studies have shown that taking breaks during the day allows you to be more productive and helps you focus to complete tasks.

  • What do you recommend for the road warrior when the most common position they are in is a plane seat?

For road warriors who are constantly on the go and often found sitting in a plane seat, we recommend focusing on posture. Keeping your back straight is important to avoid feeling uncomfortable and creating more tension, and ultimately stress on your body. It is also great to do leg stretches while on the plane – or getting up to walk up and down the aisle if it is a long flight. Layovers are a great opportunity to stretch your legs, focus on tense parts of your body, and get some extra steps in!

  • Do your therapists ever get stressed? How do they relax?

Our therapists do get stressed because they are regular people, too. They also get massages to de-stress. They also ensure they exercise and maintain a healthy diet focusing on food that helps boost their energy.

Transportation - Tips and Tricks to Getting Around

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings & Antoinette Gonzales, Aries Charter T on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Contracting transportation requires detailed tasks. It also requires an expert to know what equipment is required and what restrictions a planner may face. Weather and the purpose of the transportation will dictate the type of equipment that can used, which is based on the destinations you may be using. Some of the top questions transportation companies will ask are how people will be dressed, what they may be carrying and their budget. These are all key factors in decisions regarding transportation needs.

If you are moving a large number of people from a commercial or industrial location, you may be able to use the traditional large motor coach that can seat up to 57 people. Vehicle selection is based on the roads you will travel and how accessible drop off points are for the vehicles to maneuver. You must also be aware that there are areas that private transportation cannot drop off or unload. In the City of Chicago, private transportation cannot load and unload on Michigan Avenue. You also must validate that the pickup and drop off locations have enough clearance for the bus to operate. When traveling into “Neighborhood” locations, the challenge of tight streets with limited areas where a bus can turn is a common occurrence. This when you see smaller equipment used, such as a mini-bus or large capacity van, vehicles that are built to maneuver in smaller areas

There is always the possibility of inclement weather during part or all of the day or night. This way, you and your expert vendor can select the best equipment for the day, as well as the pickup and drop off locations that are the most suitable. You also must validate that the pickup and drop off locations have enough clearance for the bus to operate. This is why it is very important that you drive or discuss the route you plan to use with the transportation company when you start your planning process. While your car may be able to fit under most bridges, a bus needs a much higher clearance and wider lane size.

If it’s necessary sometimes companies may not have the total amount of equipment you will need for your program. If this happens, they may need to “Farm Out” part of the equipment that is to be required. The better reputation and experience level of the company will determine how well your needs can be met and who they work with when they need to “farm out” service. A reputable company will only use comparable and competent affiliates, very similar to hotels and overflow situations. You want the client taken care, but you want them back to your brand.  

Be aware that when you contract transportation their contracting rules are very similar to many businesses but do have some different demands you must meet. The first is you will be required to pay a deposit to secure the vehicles required. Their release periods when you can modify or cancel the contract vary based on the equipment required and the demand for that period of time.  Like any other business they do have minimum periods of time for the equipment to be used and a good transportation company can guide to use the equipment with the best results.

Always consider the reputation of the transportation company before you proceed with contracting. Are they properly licensed, and in the case of a meeting or corporate group, can they add you as an “additionally insured” to their certificate of insurance if required.

If you are planning on having “Adult Beverages” on board, be aware. In example, The City of Chicago and some other localities require that you have a security guard on board for safety. In the City of Chicago, the law states that if a vehicle is picking up anywhere, or going anywhere that alcohol is served, there must be a Security Guard on board. Check with your provider on the status of this law as it is currently under the process of (hopefully) being modified.

 “Transportation is the center of the world. It is the glue of our daily lives. When it goes well we do not see it. When it goes wrong it negatively colors our day, makes us feel angry, impotent and curtails our possibilities” – Author - Robin Chase



Visit This Valued MPI-CAC Partner


M E E T I N G   P R O F E S S I O N A L S   I N T E R N A T I O N A L   C H I C A G O   A R E A   C H A P T E R
1301 W. 22nd Street Suite 202, Oak Brook, IL 60523 | Phone: 888-721-8908 | Fax: 708-876-5598 | info@mpicac.org
   Design By: imageweaver   |   Admin Login   |   FAQ / Disclaimers   |   Site Map