Contact Us     Search    

  Thursday, January 18, 2018    


Additional Resources


Upcoming Events

Board of Directors Meeting
Date: January 24, 2018
If More>>
NEXT 2018
Date: March 8, 2018
Board of Directors Meeting
Date: March 28, 2018
If More>>
More Events>>
Home > News|Media  > eNewsletter

MPI-CAC Conversations + Connections

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

July Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
I was looking to grow my network when I moved back to Chicago in 2012; MPI-CAC was a great avenue for that growth!

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
My biggest thrills have come from the onsite execution of our tech and education conferences, now NEXT. It's easy to get planner's high much like a runner's high from day of events; it's even better when it's shared with colleagues who have become friends.

How did you become part of the event industry?
I began planning events for Indiana University while in school and eventually changed my major to Event Coordination and Management.

How has MPI impacted your career?
MPI has connected me with the people and tools to open the right doors, helped me build professional confidence in a low risk environment and made it fun along the way.

Tell us something unique about you?
I did my first triathon this summer.

Ask the Expert – New Year Resolutions

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: I need to get myself better organized with my increased travel schedule for next year, what would you suggest I do when I am on the road?

Answer: Let me make a simple suggestion, start listening to the GPS. You should plan your travel so that you are either moving in a circle or heading in one direction. While many of us still rely on MapQuest to plan our routes it can be hard to read and drive at the same time. AI in the GPS can show you a map at eye level and also talk to you while you drive. Using this will keep you moving in an organized fashion and allow you to concentrate on your driving and business appointments.

Question: Since my travel schedule has picked up so much, I am finding it hard to exercise and have picked up a few pounds. Do have any tips on how I can get back in shape?

Answer: I think most of us face the same issue, so let me tell you how I have overcome that problem. One of the cities I travel to most is Washington DC and rather than using a taxi to get to each meeting, I make a point to use the Metro and then walk. It has helped me learn the city and actually takes less time for me to reach each meeting. Walking also lets me find new restaurants and gives me a chance during the day to browse their menus and pick one for dinner. After you start making a point to walk more, it will become more of your routine. If you need to do a number of site inspections in one day it will get you in shape to handle several.

Question: For years I have done business travel in almost every month and have struggled with a way to organize my wardrobe for situations, such as travel to warm destinations when it is winter at home or to have the correct business casual attire. What do you suggest?

Answer:  The issue most of us face doing business travel is not wanting to pack an excess of clothing. For my business meetings during the day, I tend to be in business attire, so for the evening I will keep my suit coat and bring a contrasting pair of slacks plus lose the tie. That keeps you properly dressed with a minimum of clothing packed.

Question: I have just gotten new phone and am struggling to learn all the features. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this?

Answer: It sounds like your phone is far more advanced than mine. When I went to learn about mine, I simply took the instruction book with me as my inflight reading. It forced me to look at all the options and see what capabilities I had available. During the flight I was also able to go through my contacts and delete ones that are no longer relevant and mark others that needed updating. If you are stuck in an airport, that can be a great place to select ring tones for different calling options.


Enhancing Your Attendee Experience with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Posted by: Rachael Riggs, CMP, Tourism Vancouver on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

CSR is a hot topic right now.   I have heard over and over again that planners want to incorporate CSR into their attendee experience, but don’t have the time or know where to start.   Many say their Boards of Directors or stakeholders want a program, however, they don't realize the amount of work it could take.   

As a meeting planner, I started integrating CSR programs into meetings in 1992.   We had the right mix of committed and motivated people to make it all happen.   We renovated schools, YMCAs, donated fitness equipment to youth centers and educated kids on the benefits of health and wellness all over America.  We had leadership that supported the projects both with time and money.   But it did not happen overnight.    It took several months to get everyone on board, but once we did that the amount of support was overwhelming.   There were days where I said to myself "why did I do this to myself?" but I loved it anyway.  We were making a difference to so many.  It takes the right mind set of many to pull this together. 

Flash forward to today, as a supplier, I wanted to make what I do for more meaningful. Vancouver is a very socially conscious destination.  A few years ago, my team came up with the program called #vangiving.   We sponsor industry organizations and their CSR efforts.  Recently we just hosted a coat drive at the MPI-CAC Signature Luncheon and we donated over 30 coats to Button and Zipper here is Chicago.   They provide coats to the homeless Chicago.  

Another highlight of our program is with Association Forum (AF). Five years ago, AF wanted to start small and so did we. The first year we coordinated a food drive at Holiday Showcase. We promoted it, but it was not fully integrated into the program yet.   Over the years, we have changed the effort depending on how we want to enhance the attendee experience.  

My favorite success of this partnership is the diaper drive.  The key is to keep it fresh. To change it up a bit, we decided in year 3 to make it a competition for the covet “Golden Diaper Award”.  I asked a trophy maker to construct the ugliest trophy he could and put a baby on the top.  As we rolled out the program, we said that the first winner would have the naming writes.  That winner was the American Health Information Management Association and they named it after their founder Grace.  It is now called the Grace Cup.   During this June’s Forum Forward event, we challenged CEOs to host a diaper drive in their office and compete for The Grace Cup. Twelve associations entered the competition.  When all said and done, we collected nearly 35,000 diapers, a record-breaking amount that allowed The Cradle – an adoption agency in Evanston - to remove the item as a budget expense for an entire year.  This year’s winner was the National Sporting Goods Association they accepted the Cup at the recently held Holiday Showcase.    A complete success in my book!

Many ask me how do I come up with these ideas?     Here are a few questions I ask myself when thinking about CSR:

1) What is important to the organization?  Find a cause/activity that is related to the vision and mission of the organization.  If it does not connect to that mission, it will likely not be supported as much as it could and might die out after a year or two.  

2) Who are the stakeholders and what is important to them?

3) What is reasonable to do?  Don't bite off more than you can chew

CSR can be as easy as you want to make it or it can be complex.  I have seen so many great programs incorporated into meetings.   Anything is possible. You just have to have someone champion it and make it a part of the program. 

We live in a world of privilege in our business and my hope is that many of professionals and the professionals we host will to share their time and help those in need.    My charge to our industry is find what is important to your group and incorporate a way to give back within your next meeting. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Trends with Benefits: How to Let Go

Posted by: Sasha Sook, CMP, Summits of Chicago on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Every year Event Planner is on the list of most stressful jobs. Juggling expectations vs reality, budgets, increasing costs and dietary restrictions are just a few of the stresses that event planners have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.  Sales professionals have those same stresses as they need to keep their clients happy and have to maintain their increasing sales goals. If you know what is causing you stress and how to create an environment that is positive, you will have a much better handle on it.

According to the American Psychological Association's (APA) annual Stress in America Survey only 37 percent of Americans surveyed said they were doing an excellent or very good job managing stress.

The most common reasons for stress in the work place and how to overcome them:

  • Low salaries- 
    Ask for a raise if you believe you are underpaid. Continue your professional development and add more value to the company so you can get a raise at the end of the year.

  • Excessive workloads- 
    Try to delegate or find ways to improve processes. If something isn’t working, find a way to fix it. There are usually ways you can cut down on your workload.

  • Few opportunities for growth or advancement- 
    When you accept a job, ask about the opportunities for advancement. Get certified and continue learning so you are able to advance.  Ask the company to create a position for you.

  • Work is not engaging or challenging- 
    Ask for additional projects or come up with something that will not only challenge you but will be good for the company.

  • Not having enough control over job related decisions- 
    Ask if you can be a part of the decisions and have a seat at the table. Just because you don’t have the title doesn’t mean you don’t have a valuable opinion.

  • Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations- 
    Request a performance review so everyone is clear on the expectations. If you don’t agree with them be vocal and explain your concerns.

Tips to keep stress down:

  • Track your Stressor - 
    Keep a log or notes on the things which are causing you stress so you can evaluate what needs to change.

  • Establish Boundaries- 
    With the advancing technologies, it is easy for people to feel overwhelmed by their work life once they leave the office. So making some rules may help take away some stress. For example, make a no emails at home rule. (This will depend on your level and position you have accepted)

  • Take time to recharge-
    Don't let your vacation days go to waste. Take time off to relax and unwind, so you come back to work feeling reinvigorated and ready to perform at your best.

  • Learn How to Relax- 
    Find a technique that works for you whether it is meditation, a walk around the block, working out or deep breathing.

The key is to maintain a healthy and positive work environment while still being productive.  The effects of stress are not only mental but physical as well.  If you are feeling stressed, don’t just ignore it, try to fix it.

Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Jessica Lindberg
August Engaged Member of the Month
Event Sales/Marketing Communications Manager
Edward Fox Photography & Video

How did you become involved in MPI-CAC?
I have been working with Edward Fox Photography & Video for 16 years. Our company has always been a part of MPI-CAC, and once I became a sales rep, I wanted to join MPI-CAC right away. We sponsor multiple events throughout the year and every event is such a great opportunity to network and grow the business.

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI-CAC?
The most exciting moment was being nominated this year for the Tomorrow's Leader Award!

How did you become part of the event industry?
I love photography and video. Once I started working for the studio, I became more and more involved in the business. I became the corporate sales manager, and started going to more and more events, I wanted to be a part of that. Being on both sides, (sales and photographer) it gave me a better understanding of all the involvement that goes on into producing events.

How has MPI-CAC impacted your career?
MPI-CAC has been a great part of my career. I have gained so many relationships with people, and have been able to help grow our studio. I have also learned a lot. I was on the NEXT committee last year, and will continue to do so this year. I have learned great leadership skills from others on the team. 

Tell us something unique about you?
I have a huge Koozie collection! If I see a fun Koozie, or travel, I have to get one! =)

6 Event Tech Tools for Easier Lead Retrieval

Posted by: Soraya Herbert, DAHLIA+ on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)

With 2018 a few weeks away, we can look back on 2017 and see that we are living in a digital era where people are examining LinkedIn profiles more than they do business cards. Therefore, it’s not only unreasonable to expect that everyone at your event will carry business cards, but that gathering physical business cards is impractical as well.

Break up with paper and make your events more effective.

There are so many hours that go into planning an exhibit or booth at conferences, trade shows, and other events. There’s the marketing, the staff, the furniture, travel, logistics, the list can go on and on. Once the event begins, so does the sales pitches. The whole point of these types of events is to connect with others, network and showing the world why your product or service is the BEST, not on collecting binders of business cards to only lose them in your back pocket. This is where event tech tools such as lead retrieval can make your exhibiting experience much easier.

Here are 6 Event Tech Tools for Easier Lead Retrieval:

  1. iCapture-
    Transform your mobile device into a top-notch lead generating machine! iCapture has an endless list of trade show services that gives users a complete experience when working the floor at your event. iCapture is known for their one of a kind badge scanning technology. 

  2. Boothleads-
    Boothleads is a one-stop shop for all your event management needs, they have developed various applications which makes your event optimized and flawless. Boothleads help event producers, exhibitors, and attendees with all event management apps and services required at Tradeshows, Events ,and Conferences. From QR code generation to Lead Retrieval Boothleads wants to make sure your leads don’t end up in the trash.

  3. eventBit-
    Wearables are taking the tech world by storm! It is great for fitness/data enthusiasts, but the principle has also created an innovative tradeshow solution to the time-consuming information collection and made excellent use of the ever-present nametag/lanyard combo. eventBits are attached to every attendee’s badge as part of the regular registration process. They are small, lightweight, and battery-powered. eventBit Hubs record each chip that passes by and transmits that data to a secure website where it is compiled and presented to you in real time.

  4. Attendify-
    Attendify is here to break the mold of how you used to generate and capture leads at your events. With Attendify, you’ll learn to understand the behavioral data behind event attendees and prospects you interact with. Seamlessly capture leads and leverage built-in social tools to nurture relationships.

  5. Boomset-
    Boomset makes it easy for planners to get real-time reporting on site. Boomset Lead Retrieval & Mobile app gives exhibitors the ability to measure results against sales or event objectives and by doing so, justifying the investment in time, energy and budget to exhibit at the event.

  6. Zerista-
    Zerista offers a reliable, fast way to collect rich leads via QR code scanning that unlocks detailed profiles with contact information. Using this app makes it easy for exhibitors to get more qualified leads before, during, and after the event through their profiles.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
Three years ago I made the transition from Business Travel to Group Sales and had the pleasure of attending the MPI Education Day.  Based on my experience with the event I made the decision that this was the group I wanted to be part of as I began my new chapter in the group market.

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
Becoming active in the Membership Committee has been very rewarding.  One of my most memorable experiences with MPI is taking a new member through their beginning stages and now seeing them very active and actually a co-chair in another committee.  It is just like a proud Mommy moment!  Not to mention this recognition alone is exciting.

How did you become part of the event industry?
I actually started in the hotel industry right out of High School at the time was not my chosen path but with in 90 days I was promoted twice and the rest is now 20 years of history.

How has MPI impacted your career?
MPI has been a great resource for meeting potential clients and networking.  It is also strengthen my knowledge of the group industry and helps me prepare for my next steps!

Tell us something unique about you?
I think it is pretty unique that I have actually been with the same hotel for 20 years.  Not always in sales but with the same hotel. 

Ask the Expert – Personal Branding

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: I have heard the term Personal Branding but I really do not understand what it means.

Answer: Personal Branding refers to how people view someone from either a personal or professional level. In business, it is a matter of do you meet the expectations of your peers and how much personal involvement do you demonstrate. Personal Branding also refers to your reputation, ethics and how you conduct yourself.

Question: Since I have been in the business world for a few years how do I determine the current value of my Personal Brand?   

Answer: My best suggestion is to talk with three or four of your peers from both your organization and those who are either your competitor, client or business partner. Ask them how they perceive you and where you have room or improve. With each individual, you will have a different value, based on how you impact them either professionally or from your in personal interaction. If you want your Personal Brand to be an asset, you need to understand what is expected of you from these colleagues and how you need to model your business practices to be the one each of them see as a business partner.

Question: Is there a Zenith in the way of Personal Branding?

Answer: There is, and it is known as, “Loyalty beyond Reason.” This is a situation when you may receive either business or consideration of a request beyond what might normally be expected. In this situation, you have created the loyalty of someone or an organization that feels you show concern for their needs above yours and that you are their champion in any situation.

Question: Can I use Social Media to boost my Personal Brand?

Answer: Let me suggest you consult an expert in your own field who handles Social Media on a full time basis. Each industry has its own design on how they use this medium so consulting with an expert in your specific field is essential.

One part of Personal Branding you need to remember is people buy or interact with people they know, like and trust. A computer cannot shake someone’s hand or have a conversation. Personal Branding comes from Personal Interaction with your colleagues and peers, not strokes on a key board.

Sekou Andrews, SekouWorld, Inc.

Posted by: Admin on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How​ ​would​ ​you​ ​define​ ​the​ ​“Poetic​ ​Voice”?

Well, first of all I would have to make a slight correction to the question. One of the most common mistakes people make is using the term incorrectly. Poetic voice should be used as a noun. I am a poetic voice. I am the creator of poetic voice, which is, in its simplest definition, a new category of speaking that blends inspirational speaking seamlessly with spoken word poetry. The seamless part is the key distinction. I wanted to create a speaking experience where the art was infused into the speaking in such a way that you can’t tell where the speaking ends and the poetry begins; where the business content ends and the storytelling begins.


Why​ ​is​ ​it​ ​important​ ​for​ ​you​ ​to​ ​be​ ​referred​ ​to​ ​as​ ​a​ ​“poetic​ ​voice”?

The current model for event planners is typically, they open the conference with an exciting performance or a dynamic video, using the power of art to raise the energy level, ignite engagement, and set the tone for the event. Then they bring on speakers who deliver the education, thought leadership and business value. Then they close with some emotive and empowering presentation that delivers the call to action through emotion, hope and possibility. Well, that’s the same structure of a poetic voice presentation. I start by creating a sense of what I call “wonderment,” that’s just unexpected enough to leave them asking “what is happening right now?”, but just delightful enough to leave them saying “whatever it is, it’s kinda cool so I gotta see where this is going.” That catalyzes engagement and sets the tone that this event, like this company/association/etc., will be more than what you expected. Then, before they even realize it’s happening, the audience is suddenly receiving valuable business insight. They’re learning in the way that all teachers strive for – to have students learn while having so much fun they barely realize they’re learning until they magically ace the test. As an ex-5th grade teacher I can tell you, that was like the holy grail of teaching - a class full of students who say “awwww man!” with disappointment when the bell rings because they want to keep learning. That’s the effect that education can have when it’s delivered through the vehicle of art. Finally, without warning, there is an emotional component to the presentation that seeps into their pores and may even leave them swelling up … with tears, with pride, with emotions that they were not expecting to feel at the event. The same thing that a meeting professional is trying to do over the course of an event is the same thing I do with a poetic voice keynote.


What​ ​are​ ​you​ ​hoping​ ​attendees​ ​gain​ ​and​ ​take​ ​away​ ​from​ ​your​ ​keynotes?

I always want attendees to embrace the power of storytelling and see themselves as storytellers who can deliver data and still connect deeply through stories. And I always want the audience to feel empowered with new possibilities and to feel they have permission to access their greatness in new ways. And to walk away with some clear tools and takeaways on how to do that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Trends with Benefits: The Art of Story Telling

Posted by: Sasha Sook, CMP, Summits of Chicago on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Everyone and every company has a unique story to tell.  That history, achievement and personality has to be reflected in every conversation, marketing piece, email and on the website. My story, our story (The Summit) and the industry associations story (MPI) are what makes working with me special. If you are passionate about yourself and what you do, make sure that it is clear.


The story of who you are, where you came from and what inspires you is the number one reason why anyone will want to work with you.  I know, you probably don’t believe me.  It should be the product or service but it’s people’s personal relationship that they have with you and your team.  Don’t be shy or overly protective about your story, everyone is human and a little bit of down to earth is refreshing.


Yes, our space is beautiful, has state of the art technology, is a green meeting venue and has extremely comfortable chairs, but isn’t that an expectation?  What makes the Summit so special is that we are a small, Women’s Owned Business that is more like a family than just co-workers. We all come from diverse backgrounds and have been cross-trained to work in every department. We are passionate about enhancing education in the experiences we provide for our clients but it is also what we value for our staff as well.  When you are talking, it should be more about the essence of the company and not the physical features that every great space in Chicago has. 


Being a part of the meetings industry and specifically MPI is something you should be proud of and something you can share with your clients.  It is also something that you are lucky to have the opportunity to participate in. Whether it brings in a common ground or inspires them to get involved, it is all positive and shows you are passionate about the meetings industry as a whole.

Make your conversations with clients, colleagues and friends personal and you will be surprised by how much you will relate on. You may just learn a lot about them and how to work with them better.


Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

How did you become involved in MPI?
Well many moons ago...and of course always wanting to get involved and the only place would be MPI.

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
Meeting so many wonderful people and winning the Supplier of the Year.

How did you become part of the event industry?
A high school teacher.

How has MPI impacted your career?
It has surrounded me with amazing mentors in our industry and I always want to give back.

Tell us something unique about you?
I have 37 nieces and nephews...and one step son, I adore them all.  And I enjoy wearing various eye wear like jewelry as I am legally blind.

Sourcing – The 5th and final tip on developing an RFP

Posted by: Rachael Riggs, Tourism Vancouver on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Hello MPI-CAC – I am back.   Took a break for awhile to give some other writers the opportunity to share their knowledge.  

I want to finish up my series about RFPs.   Remember we talked about the 5 questions to ask yourself when developing an RFP.  If you don’t remember, here is a refresher…..

  1. What is the vision of the program and what are the goals of the meeting?
  2. What innovations do you want to bring to this meeting?
  3. Do you really need to consider 10 destinations?
  4. Do you send the RFP to both the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB)/Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) and the hotel Global Sales Offices?
  5. Do you think you are providing too much detail?

Finally, the 5th question…..Do you think you are providing too much detail?   The answer is NO!!! 

The more you know and share the better suppliers can help you.  Of course, the basic information is essential…ideal dates, desired rates and details of the space needs.  However, it is great when we receive rfp’s with historical spend on the food and beverage, wifi, audio visual because we know what are important factors in the decision-making process.  Especially for citywide groups.  

This may seem basic, but, I see lots of rfp’s with no desired square footage for meeting space.   It just gives the number of attendees in the meeting.   That is good, but we are not always sure what the staging and audio-visual needs are for a group.   It varies for every group, so it is ideal when you have number of people attending, room set up needed and requested square footage desired. 

Many groups have exhibitors and posters within their meeting.  It is important here to describe the layout…10x10 vs 8x10 booths for example can make a big difference in the space needs.   It is recommended that you put the booth size on your specifications.   Another area where people don’t describe in detail is a poster session layout.    Let us know if it is single sides or double sided, better yet, put the square footage needed. 

In terms of hotel rates, ALWAYS put on the rfp if the rates are net or commissionable.  It is very important to know this up front.   Changing the rate structure after the bid is submitted does not sit well with either side.    Also, it is helpful to indicate the rate history from the last 2 years.  Keeps everyone from guessing.  

Finally, it is important to include information on proposal deadlines, decision date, contract signature date, how the decision will be made, who will be making the decision and where the contract is going to be signed.    These may not seem important to you, but I know that all suppliers would like this information to share with their stakeholders as they bid on your meeting. 

Bottom line, the more you provide in the rfp, the more comprehensive proposal you will receive and less back and forth in the beginning.   Always air on providing all the details you have about your meeting.   You are the expert on your meeting!


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Value of Being Involved - The Benefits of MPI

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Meeting Professionals International is the largest meeting and event industry association worldwide. The organization provides innovative and relevant education, and acts as a prominent voice for the promotion and growth of the industry. From networking to professional development, it fuels the growth and advancement of career opportunities for members. MPI has a global community of 60,000 meeting and event professionals with more than 90 chapters and clubs in 24 countries.

Founded in 1977, MPI Chicago Area Chapter is one of the largest chapters with 800 members. It hosts 12 educational and networking events annually. Members are active and engaged with more than 25% of the chapter volunteering in chapter events and committees. Leaders in the hospitality industry have credited MPI for the wonderful opportunities and impact it has had on their career. See below on why they got involved: 

MPI-CAC has provided endless networking opportunities which have allowed me to connect with individuals in the industry to help boost my career as well as bring back new ideas and suppliers for my company to implement and work with. – Justine Radies, CNA

I thrive on giving back, so I’ve been able to pass along my passion for the chapter and the industry to incoming members and future leaders in the industry. My ability to return the favor to the chapter gives me a sense of pride; I’m thrilled to continue to participate in the chapter’s sustained growth and success by sharing my skills and knowledge with new members in the future. – Tammy L. Anderson, CMP, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

MPI has not only helped me grow my network, it has provided the opportunity to take on a leadership role and learn new skills both personally and professionally. -Amanda Reece, NHS Global Events

MPI-CAC has been an important aspect of my career in the last 4 years and I've gained so much from my involvement. I now feel a need to give back to the chapter by taking on leadership roles and by mentoring new members on how they can get as much out of their membership as I have. –Heather Brown, CMP, Allied PRA

When I first started volunteering in the chapter, I was able to learn how to collaborate with colleagues and to learn many new things about our industry.  Then, as I grew into leadership roles as committee vice chair or chair, I had opportunities to learn about leadership.  Certainly, throughout my career, the education offered at MPI programs has enhanced my knowledge of our business.  Then, on the Board, I was able to connect with colleagues around the globe through chapter leadership events and attending MPI international programs. 

Most important to me, are the relationships I have made with fellow chapter members which have impacted me substantially both personally and professionally.  I can honestly say that I would have never had the confidence or network to start my own business 4 years ago without my membership experience in MPI-CAC. –Tracey Furner Stein, HPN Global

My continuous involvement in MPI leadership over the last 14 years continues to give me value every day so that when I speak to others in the industry it gives me the chance to talk about what I have gotten out of it. My MPI career has given me the chance to lead the St Louis chapter, and now to be the president of the wonderful Chicago Area Chapter and provide me with a chance to give back. –Fergal O’Sullivan, Marriott International

Being a leader within the MPI-CAC Community means that I am able to serve those that serve our membership.  My number one goal is to help develop and encourage the leadership within our chapter to develop professionally and personally so that we all benefit from working with each other.  By helping a peer identify their strengths and the strengths of their team members, then they are able to be give the best they have to offer to our chapter.—Tina Reedy, Travis AV


Ask the Expert - Accepting a Leadership Position

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

There are many situations in which you may not recognize that a leadership position is being placed into your path. Situations often arise where there is a distinct need for a leader to drive a process or idea, yet there is no formal announcement or mechanism that recognizes a single leader. When this occurs, are you driven to take a leadership position or do you hope that someone else will take control?

Regardless of your specific business function, there will be times when you need to recognize that you have the knowledge to drive a process and that you should take command. You may be recognized by your peers for your knowledge and abilities, and this is the time to demonstrate your leadership skills. Since you have not been formally designated as the leader, show your knowledge by sharing it with your colleagues and making yourself available to them when they have a question. You may also need to push and guide some of your colleagues who may not know the direction they should be pursuing. In order to do this, you must demonstrate your understanding of the task and convey what is required for everyone to complete his or her part.

Start by explaining how you view the current task, what steps you have taken to identify what needs to be done, the timeline you have established, and whether you have engaged outside help. Depending on the task, you may be able to share some of the workload with another colleague. By building a sense of cooperation in this way, you can show your leadership ability to complete tasks and involve resources that were not previously used. It is important in this situation to show by your work ethic and organization that you have the vision for the task and you are willing to lead your colleagues.

You may also encounter a situation in which you need to collaborate with a competitor for your mutual benefit. It may be that you need your competitor in order to be successful and must therefore engage in a situation where you are the minor partner. This can be an opportunity to show leadership by demonstrating that you know how to use “unusual resources” which others may have overlooked. When you do work with a competitor, certain business rules and ethics must be observed. Items related to cost cannot be shared, nor can items of unique value to your organization. Always remember that anything which could appear to be “price fixing” or collusion should be avoided.

Always keep this one final thought with you: Leadership is a position that must be earned, but it can be also be lost very quickly. When you recognize that you have earned a position of leadership, do not abuse it. The respect you show to your colleagues will enhance your position as a leader.

Engaged Member of the Month

Posted by: Kate Shea, Bankers Life on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Kelly Such
June Engaged Member of the Month
Group Sales Manager
Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver

How did you become involved in MPI?
I became involved with MPI because I wanted to network more locally and get to know the people in our industry better.

What has been the most exciting moment or memorable thing that has happened since joining MPI?
I honestly loved being on the Trivia night committee.  I had so much fun attending my first trivia night that I knew I wanted to be a part of the group that was responsible for putting it on.

How did you become part of the event industry?
I started in the event industry in college working for a hotel.  Ever since then, I knew this is what I wanted to continue to do.

How has MPI impacted your career?
MPI has impacted my career by giving me the opportunity to meet people that I may communicate with via email, face to face.

Tell us something unique about you?
Something unique about me is that if I were not in the hospitality industry, I would have been a Dentist.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Transformation from Hero to Villain: When Exacting becomes Perfectionistic - Hero Habit #7: Consult the Owl

Posted by: Michael ‘Hahndo’ Hahn, Keynote Speaker & Author on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

You know that person in your office who is hyper organized and everything on their desk has it’s place? That person who is always prepared and on time…?

They’re that way because it provides a sense of certainty over their work and environment. Their decisions are paced and deliberate and are irritated by unpredictability and surprises. Seriously, don’t mess with their desk!

These folks don’t appreciate the “pop in” meeting or conversation. They would prefer an email or a ‘heads-up’ in advance, so they can formulate their thoughts before sharing their opinion. I’m going to give you some insights about them, so you don’t take their hero tendencies the wrong way.

These heroes want to be correct and like to be accurate. They think before speaking and prefer you to do the same. But, just like any hero, when they overuse their strengths, they shift from being careful to being skeptical and when pressure builds, they can fall silent and become perfectionistic fault-finders.

Let’s learn more about this hero… This hero is Exacting and Introspective. They appreciate their personal time and space. They have a realistic perspective on what can be achieved and how long a task or project should take. They are systematic problem solvers who clarify expectations before beginning their work.

They are the reality check for the team and tend to think through their ideas before speaking or asking questions. They are analytical and calculating, but when they succumb to stress or pressure, they shift from being the hero, ‘The Professor, and shift into being the villain ‘Doctor Doubtful’. The Doctor is a fault-finding sceptic who can feel formal, stuffy and cold!

While both The Professor and Doctor Doubtful seek the same objective, each go about achieving it differently. To understand them, you need to know their Hero Habit: “CONSULT THE OWL”. They are reflective, thoughtful and questioning. They seek their inner wisdom by slowing down and taking time to evaluate options. But while The Professor is thoughtful to be correct and precise, Doctor Doubtful is overly critical to deflect or avoid embarrassment and can be highly resistant to change.

Both hero and villain love having time to themselves and they dislike forced socialization.

Want to know what makes them tick? Here’s a quick summary:

The Professor is Exacting and Introspective
Hero Traits: Cautious, Curious, Deliberate and Precise
Decision-Making: Analytical
Communication: Calculating and/or Reserved
Leadership: Organizer and/or Observer
Approach to Change:Careful and/or Questioning
Best Environment: Respected with Personal Security
Pet Peeves: Mistakes, a Non-Factual Approach, Speaking Before Thinking and Forced Socialization
Worst Environment: Unstable, Unexpected Exposure and Constant Interaction

Each of us have natural tendencies and behaviors that allow us to either be a hero or a villain. Sometimes we can perceive others as villains because their habits are opposite to ours and other times people can be actual villains, because of: stress, frustration and overwhelm.

Today you have a choice, to be villain or to Be the Hero… Choose wisely!!!

Ready to BE THE HERO? For more information on Hero Habits, please visit www.MichaelHahnSpeaker.com.


Food culture: Eating Locally While Traveling!

Posted by: Mallory Mondloch, Pinstripes on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

When you have the opportunity to travel, you are seeing new things, hearing different accents and you are certainly surrounded with traditional cuisine to discover. Experiencing different cultures is a perk for business travelers but whether you are ready to do the research to find the local favorites or searching high and low for the best deal, here are a few suggestions of where to start!

Looking for hidden, local gems?

Start by polling the locals! With limited time, a conversation with a stranger in a taxi is an effective way to uncover the perfect local culinary experience. You are likely to walk away from the conversation with a few mouthwatering suggestions for your stay.

Don’t forget to check out the Food Network! Shows like “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” can’t afford to risk their reputation to recommend subpar eateries. Every dish and restaurant I have tried per Mr. Fieri’s recommendation has exceeded expectations and has tied in that staple dish or native ingredient.

Searching for that special deal?

Restaurants count on the relationships they have built with the local concierge to boost traffic and will often leave coupons for the concierge to pass along to travelers. Many are within walking distance so you might even save a few bucks on parking or travel.

Regardless of the any of the before mentioned ways you choose to gather intel, you will most likely also utilize your smartphone to check out top spots on TripAdvisor, Google Maps, Open Table or Yelp. All of these popular websites provide reviews that consist of (hopefully) non-bias feedback and share guest experiences. As some companies use these platforms to spend marketing dollars in an effort to improve their exposure onto the website, remember that you can’t always trust what you read online. Be sure to leave your own review so that the next weary traveler can take advantage of your research!

Ask the Expert – Focus with a Plan

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: My business schedule has me out of the office for a week or weeks at a time. How do you suggest I stay organized when I am away from the office so much?

Answer: When you are traveling for business, stay focused on why you are there. Where you will have the best opportunity to stay current with your duties is if you spend your evenings responding to emails you did not address during the day. Plan to dedicate at least two or more hours with your focus on the most important issues earlier in the evening. If you try and work later, I suggest you hold sending responses in your Drafts Folder until the morning. A fresh set of eyes on your message, the next morning, may help you avoid miscommunication.

Question: I feel like I have more responsibilities and I am not sure how to prioritize my work. Can you suggest a way I can spend less time doing the same thing?

Answer: There is one fast way to re-organize your work flow and it has two steps. First, group all like tasks together. Many times you may be able to handle more than one situation with a single consolidated response. The other is to make sure you only touch something once. When you start to work on a task, make sure you have enough time and the correct resources available to finish this in one sitting. Start more involved tasks at the beginning of the day, where you can stay more focused and then deal with the smaller ones later when your focus may not have as much stamina. The most important thing is to focus on finishing one task before you start another.

Question: I seem to find that no matter how hard I focus I am always being interrupted. How do you suggest I keep people out of my office so I can focus?

Answer: This may sound elementary but close your door if you have one. You can always put a post it note outside listing designated “Visiting Hours” so you can have uninterrupted work time. Many times people will stop and see you if the door is open and not think about the disruption they are causing. With the door being closed you are taking away a visual to your coworkers. Their decision to interact with you, knock on the door, send you an email, will change to a specific topic to discuss, not day to day small talk. If you do not have a door make sure you sit so people only see your back. You are again giving someone a visual of you being busy and focused and should deter many interruptions.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Trends with Benefits: What Do Speakers Need Today?

Posted by: Sasha Sook, CMP, Summit Executive Centre on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Speakers and facilitators are what makes the success of your event and keeps the attendees talking for months and years to come.  Speakers have many requirements in order to perform at their best potential.  I wanted to interview a few instructors and facilitators to see if there has been any changes in their needs and what they want us to know when we are booking a speaker.  Maxine Fuller of Maxine Fuller LLC.,, Stacey Hanke of Stacey Hanke Inc. and Shawn Woods of Shawn K. Woods & Associates have provided their insights on what they think has changed.

Q1:      What do you find you need to teach your classes that you did not need in the past?

MF: I feel I have to spend more time in the recent years reminding my students to be present in class to limit the outside distractions such as emailing, text messaging, stepping out to answer calls, etc. Encouraging the class to focus on what is being taught in the course and what they came here to learn.

SH: We are hiding behind technology.  We are teaching individuals the need for face-to-face conversations.  This is determined by who they’re trying to influence and the objective of their message.  With most individuals relying on email, text, etc. we are losing the art of face-to-face.  Individuals frequently share that the more they communicate through these mediums they’re getting more uncomfortable with having a face to face conversation.  

SKW: Although not new from a training topic perspective there are two topics that I place increased emphasis on versus the past:  flexibility and building relationships and networks.  With the advances in technology where and how people work has drastically changed.  As a result, there needs to be an increased focus on organizational flexibility and building relationships and networks.  From a flexibility perspective teams within organizations may be located in different physical locations.  Individuals in these environments need to have the capability to flex their work styles to ensure that goals can be achieved in these environments.  For example, illustrating examples on a whiteboard in a room when you have meeting participants on a conference call will not yield effective results.  Meeting logistics and technology requirements need to be prepared for in advance.  In my courses, I provide tools and tips to help individuals think more broadly and be more flexible to ensure a productive environment.  I also place an increased emphasis on building relationships and networks.  With the increase in remote working and non-verbal electronic communication (i.e., instant messaging) often times building relationships can become the casualty.   Through my courses I demonstrate how relationship building is a key component of being able to influence and therefore is a necessary component for one’s success.  Again, these are not new topics but given the current dynamic I place greater emphasis on these topics.

Q2:      Has technology affected how you teach?

MF: I needs to be more knowledgeable on technology and continue to stay up-to-date on new technology trends. Presentations are typically through the use of newer laptops, USB’s, embedded links, etc. This allots for more preparation time and getting familiarized with the way the course will be taught.

SH: Definitely!  We work with many individuals who work virtually.  We discuss a lot of how to’s for influencing their listeners through virtual mediums.  Individuals run the risk of hiding behind technology because they believe people can’t see them…but…their listeners still create perceptions of us based on how we sound and the words we use in a virtual environment.  This is why we always recommend that individuals turn on their webcams.  This is the next best option to communicating live/face-to-face.

SKW:  Yes, technology has impacted how I teach.  Training has moved beyond everyone being in a classroom together.  I am now training people via webinars, skype, podcasts etc.   When everyone is in the same room you could do group exercises, group discussions now I have to be more creative to ensure that webinars and podcasts are as engaging and deliver the same results as my in-person classes.

Q3:      Have your room setup requirements changed based on how people learn? 

MF: I have not seen much of a difference in terms of the room setup requirements. The pods setup makes for easy interaction between classmates and speakers.

SH: We set all of our rooms based on the types of conversations individuals have on a daily basis.  Since we focus on communicating with influence, we want to see individuals in their day-to-day communication situations.  We know the value for them will be practicing our recommendations for enhancing their influence if they can practice in the environments they’re most familiar with.  

SKW: Wherever possible I like to leverage technology in my training classes.  Leveraging smartboards instead of easel pads when doing group exercises makes it much easier to consolidate and analyze information.  These types of technological advances make it much easier and faster to consolidate feedback.

Q4:      Is there anything you wish venues or meeting planners booking speakers would know?

MF: It is important for the venue and/or meeting planners to make sure the logistical items (room layout, setup and materials) are completed prior to the speakers arrival because then she only needs to focus on prepping for what she will be teaching which is less for her to worry about. 

SH: Adaptability!  Adapting to the audiences style of learning.  Sometimes what has worked in the past no longer works for all generations and learning styles.

SKW: The one question I always ask when being booked is what are the top three deliverables you want to achieve with this session.  Having this information allows me to customize programs to ensure that the sessions align with desired outcomes.

Ask the Expert - The Value of Convention Bureaus

Posted by: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: I am a corporate planner and book meetings of 50 to 250 people. What value does a convention bureau give me?

Answer: Booking meetings of your size can be very time consuming, if you do not know which properties will best fit your needs. A convention bureau represents all of the hotels in a city and can send your meeting requirements to the hotels that can meet your needs. The bureau does not have a hotel brand preference and will also sourcing hotels that are independent and do not have a flag.

Question: As a corporate planner, I tend to use the national sales office for my hotels. If I also include the convention bureau am I creating friction between these two sources?

Answer: Not at all. Depending on the city, you will find not every national office team has visited every city or hotel. They can get your requirements out quickly, but may not have the individual hotel knowledge in that city. This is where including the convention bureau can help you refine your search. They have first handle knowledge of each hotel and of the various areas of the city. Ultimately, you want as many people helping you as possible.

Question: Does using a convention bureau have a user fee associated with their services?

Answer: Definitely not. The convention bureau normally receives their funding from tax revenue associated with the bed tax. So the guest room rate will not be increased to pay for their services. Also, you will find that the convention bureau can help you with many services including options for airport service, access to unique venues for your events and many times local speakers who can talk to your business environment. They may also have some financial incentives for you based on when you hold your conference.

Question: If I only want to include certain hotels or areas within the city can the convention bureau be that selective?

Answer: The convention bureau is Not Required to send every meeting request to every hotel. The area hotels would actually prefer you to be very specific in your search. They do not want to receive business opportunities that they need to spend a lot of time putting together an offer when they are not going to be considered anyway.

Question: I received several good offers from national hotel companies. How do I arrange a site inspection as each national sales manager only wants me to see their hotel?

Answer: This is where the convention bureau is the best resource for you. They can arrange the site inspection schedule to show you the hotels or venues that interest you the most and allow you to see your top choices or help you narrow the areas in the city. Once you agree on the schedule they can advise the national sales staff of your itinerary to help secure overnight accommodations if required.

Why Digital Signage?

Posted by: Soraya Herbert, DAHLIA+ on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Digital signage is more than a shiny, electronic version of the simple foam poster boards and easels outside of your meeting rooms. Digital signage is rapidly becoming an integral part of the attendee experience at events because it’s efficient, cost effective and adds a professional look to any conference or trade show.

From the moment you start planning your event; your purpose is to give your attendees the best experience possible! Every minute attendees spend at your event is an opportunity to enhance their experience and capitalize on their presence. Digital signage helps brings your space to life with eye-catching displays that you can customize in any shape, size or color.

Here are just a few ways that you can use digital signage to take your events to the next level.

  1. All signs point to Digital

Technology advances every day and the use of digital signage in your events can take your meeting and trade shows to the next level. Use digital signage to fuel attendees excitement, using bright, true-to-life color and high-quality images and engage them with multi-touch interactive content.

  1. Dynamic Room Navigation

Digital signage can be used to answer the “who, what, where and why” for your sessions. No more attendees walking around, like lost lambs trying to find their sessions. Use digital signage as a show locator service – present event information on the show floor/meeting rooms, providing a listing of exhibitors, companies, speakers and a map that guides attendees to the location they’re seeking.

  1. Updates on the fly

Events depend heavily on up-to-the-minute information that is easily accessed. Using digital signage is perfect for updating your attendees with any event, local and global information on the fly with ease.

  1. Customizable screens

By using digital signage to customize your events your content speaks for itself and you as the meeting planner can easily design features of the digital screens based on the atmosphere of your event and what your attendees want.

  1. Real-Time Social Feeds

Share your social media feeds using digital signage, – the screens are perfect for gathering updates from your social media accounts and presenting the ideas, comments, insights and views regarding the event itself. Increase your attendee’s engagement with your social media pages on the screen, the event will start trending on social media immediately. Which is one of the methods people use to make the events more lively and entertaining!

  1. Live Audience Response Results

Digital signage is more than screens. Audience Response Systems or ARS is an interactive way to gage your audiences at your events. Speakers can poll attendees on certain topics, they gain live feedback from the audience and adjust their presentation (in real time!) based on the results. 

Finally, use digital signage to present ANY content that you need; use them to feature any content that offers value to your, organizers, sponsors, exhibitors, or attendees. From slideshows and demonstrations to videos, interactive materials there is no limit to the ways you can use digital signage!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trends with Benefits: Generation Gap

Posted by: Sasha Sook, CMP, Summits of Chicago on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

There are 4 people in a company and one is at 50 hours per week and mentoring other people, one is working from home, one is working on two computer screens with headphones on and is alone and one is currently working on 4 projects at once. Which one is a baby boomer, Generation X, Millennial or Gen Z? Now, before you get all worked up and think, “this isn’t me”, these are just stereotypes widely believed.

The beauty in the generations is that we all provide value. The multitasking Gen Z, the innovative, tech savvy, motivated leaders that are Millennials, the adaptable, problem solvers that are Gen X and the hard working, team players that are baby boomers are all needed on a successful team.

A generation is a group of people born around the same time and raised around the same current events. There are five generations that make up our society. Working in hospitality, you have to know who your client, attendee or colleague is and what type of communication they prefer as well as their expectations. The Silent Generation are born between 1927-1945 and since many are transitioning out of the workplace I am going to focus on the other four generations.

Baby Boomers: 1946-1964

Viewed as thoughtful leaders or experts in their field. They are slower to embrace and adapt to social media sites and view technology as requiring a learning process. They tend to feel younger people do not have as strong a work ethic as they do, and that makes doing their own work harder.

Colleagues: Working with someone in this generation, you would want to give him or her their space personally. If you are working with someone in this generation, they may expect you to prove yourself and work as hard as they are.

Client: You should schedule meetings with them face to face or on the phone rather than contacting them via email. They value and respect hierarchy so when working with them you should respect that as well.

Generation X: 1965-1980

Viewed as independent and grew up that way because of two working parents as well as divorce becoming more widely accepted. Many in this generation display a dislike for authority and structured work hours, dislike being micro-managed, and embrace a hands-off management philosophy. Gen X is very good at maintaining a balance between social life and work. Not afraid to grasp the different social media outlets and are flexible to work with face-to-face communication as well electronic communications.

Colleagues: You would want to set them up with a flexible work environment and not micro manage them.  Their freedom to make their own decisions is how they will thrive. 

Clients: They are short on loyalty and wary on commitment so you have to provide a major value for them to consistently use your products or services. They are unimpressed with authority so your status will not necessarily influence them.

Millennials or Gen Y: 1981-2000

Millennials have become the largest generation in the US workforce in the last two years and the largest growing consumers bringing the greatest lifetime value. Millennials show different attitudes towards employment and sales and marketing which challenge Gen X in the work place. The growth of technology has been a very easy adjustment for Millennials. They are well educated but are also very sheltered. They demand an equal work-life balance, flexible hours, work-from-home options and mobile technology to support their lifestyles.

Colleague: They have huge expectations of themselves and value academic achievement so make sure there is always a plan in place for their advancement or they will find it elsewhere. They prefer a relaxed environment and accolades so continue to give them feedback on how they are doing.

Client: Millennials schedule everything so make sure to make it onto their calendar before just stopping over. They expect immediate results and answers as they have always had access to information.  Make sure you are prompt when you reply to a Millennial.  They tend to rely on blogs, instant messages, tweets and text messages rather than phone or face to face so, that is how you should reach out to them.

Gen Z, iGen or Centennials: 1996- later

Gen Z lives in world that is constantly updating and may not have a strong attention span but will be better multitaskers. They have higher expectations as they were born into a world with overwhelming technology. They expect businesses, brands and retailers to be loyal to them. If they do not feel appreciated, they are going to move on.

Colleague: As a manager of a Gen Z you will want to keep them busy with tasks as they will move back and forth from project to project.  If they get bored, they may want to move on.

Client: Respond to a Gen Z client as soon as possible. If you don’t, they may think that something is wrong. Continually tell them they are valuable to your business, send thank you cards and let them know Happy Birthday!

The events, technology and moments that the different generations have experienced have shaped how they view the world, the workforce and even their overall life goals. In order to understand and interact you have to have an understanding of what these differences are.  They are not bad.  Take some time to mentor or be a mentee; you will gain a lot more than the facts on the subject matter.  Knowledge is the only thing that grows when you pass it on so it is the best gift you can give to yourself or another person.


MPI-CAC: Pecha Kucha Summer Education and Networking Event Recap

Posted by: Amanda Masters, White Lodging on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

It was a busy hour at MPI-CAC’s Summer Education event which took place at the beautiful Kimpton Grey Hotel in early August.  Formatted as a Pecha Kucha session, 7 industry presenters were given the opportunity to share their knowledge by talking through 20 images, each for 20 seconds.  Why the strict format? We are an industry that likes to talk! This way we could reign in on the topics, and cover a lot of ground.

  1. Meet Greg, 100 Sunsets. Greg has traveled around taking pictures of a 100 sunsets.  Why? Trying to get others to see the importance of mindfulness and single-tasking.  His suggestions for living in the moment; schedule a walk, listen to your breath, or take a picture of the sunset.

  2. Meet Phil, honing in on the importance of technology at meetings. Have you ever been on your phone and your computer and your iPad and your Apple Watch all at the same time? So have your meeting attendees.  Phil understands the anxiety disconnection causes attendees and urges meeting planners, or event strategists, as he likes to call them; to offer charging stations, charging furniture, and charging lounges at meetings and events.  

  3. Meet Sasha, guru of retention and productivity hacks. Sasha spent 4 months working remote in Asia, would you let your employee do that?  It may be the way of the future if you are looking to retain your millennial employees.  Flex hours, wellness programs, and volunteer opportunities are what millennials want.  Sasha’s quote, “Motivation doesn’t last, but neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.”

  4. Meet Rebecca expert of professional and personal life hacks. As a new mom, Rebecca is trying to find a way to do it all. Some of her favorite tools include: bulletjournal.com, smartsheets.com, sorting your dishwasher as you load it, instacar.com, and wearing the same outfit every day.  No, that doesn’t mean wearing the same clothing articles every day, but having a basic uniform as a go to.  Hey, if Barack Obama and Drew Barrymore do it, there must be something to it!

  5. Meet Heather, content marketing professional. Heather can’t stress enough the importance of knowing your audience and determining your voice when creating a marketing plan.  She believes if content is king, then consistency is queen, but words have power.  The smallest words like “you, free, because, new, and instantly” draw a lot of attention, but at the end of the day, remember to KISS: keep it simple silly!

  6. Meet Bill, safe keeper of meeting attendees. One of the most important factors when planning your meeting; keeping your attendees safe.  Bill’s advice: ask questions!  Talk to the police departments, fire departments, homeland security, and insurance agencies; think about evacuation plans in case of an emergency and as always, if you see something, say something.

  7. Meet Meghan, international meeting planner extraordinaire. Culture, visas, passports, currency exchange, local language, local terms, oh my!  So many things to think about when planning abroad, but according to Meghan, have trust in and utilize CVB, DMC, and National Sales Teams.  Her biggest tip, have a translation booth available during registration and utilize the local cuisine to emerge meeting attendees with the local culture.

Special thanks to our sponsors who help made this event possible, the Kimpton Grey Hotel, DejaViews, and Kalahari Resorts.  Looking forward to seeing everyone at the next MPI-CAC Event!

The Tipping Point from Hero to Villain: When Supportive becomes Stubborn - Hero Habit #6: Pay It Forward

Posted by: Michael ‘Hahndo’ Hahn, Keynote Speaker & Author on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Do you want to discover the driving force behind the key personality style that’s required in every customer centric organization? Or maybe you’re a lifetime learner who is looking for information to help you work better with others…Or maybe you want to understand others better, so you can achieve your goals more quickly…

Either way, here’s the scoop on that person who is always willing to listen and help out when things get crazy. The person who wants to know how you are feeling and is willing to do anything to be supportive. The person who believes in cooperation and wants to create a peaceful and harmonious environment…

These people don’t need to be in the spotlight or want the extra attention. They prefer to encourage and support others to help achieve their goals. And of course there is a tipping point from being relaxed and supportive to being meek and fearful. Sometimes these folks are so focused on avoiding conflict that they’ll miss opportunities to set necessary boundaries for them to perform at their best. They are soft spoken leaders who collaborate to achieve the goal with others.

Let’s learn more about this hero… This hero is supportive and relaxed. They love team situations, are responsive and need specific instructions. They are innovative problem solvers who prefer to initiate work and see project through till completion. Their leadership is more ‘behind the scenes’ and they tend to ‘think before talking’ through their ideas. They prefer cooperation, but when they succumb to stress, pressure, or just overuse their strengths, they shift from being the hero, ‘Zen Ninja’, and transform into being the villain ‘Craven’ who is stubborn, plodding and submissive. This villain withdrawals to avoid confrontation to seek revenge. But ultimately this style wants to be LIKED by others!!!

While Craven and Zen Ninja share the same objective, they go about it achieving it differently. To understand them, you need to know their Hero Habit: “PAY IT FORWARD”, but while Zen Ninja “PAYS IT FORWARD” for others, Craven “PAYS IT FORWARD” for herself. Craven becomes quiet and retreats to plan revenge instead of focusing on the core of the conflict.

They dislike emotional outbursts, overbearing styles and unexpected demands…

Want to know what makes them tick? Here’s a quick summary:

Zen Ninja is Relaxed and Supportive

Hero Traits:                 Considerate, Cooperative, Patient, Relaxed

Decision-Making:       Unhurried and/or Supportive

Communication:         Casual, Subtle or Soft-Spoken

Leadership:                 Methodical Planner and a Behind the Scenes Player

Approach to Change: Deliberate and/or Cautious

Best Environment:      Harmonious, Cooperative and Peaceful


Pet Peeves:        Emotional Outbursts and/or Overbearing Styles

Worst Environment: Unexpected Demands and Lack of Support

As you near the end of our time together, (this is part seven of our eight part series) the secret is to be able to identify which hero and villain you might be encountering in any given moment.

They journey from student to master begins with SELF awareness, then moves to understanding others, then to modifying your behaviors words and actions to match the other person. If done effectively, you will begin to appreciate their differences and leverage their diversity. Self-awareness allows you to know your own personal hero/villain tipping point and eliminate the triggers and cues that bring out the villain in others…

Keep practicing these skills until our next episode where I’ll reveal the innermost wants, fears and desires of our final hero. Until then… continue to Be the Hero!!!

Ready to BE THE HERO? For more information on Hero Habits, please visit www.MichaelHahnSpeaker.com or see you next edition where I’ll highlight the final Hero Habit #7:  Consult the Owl.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Ask the Expert - The Value of Convention Bureaus

Posted by: By: Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: I am a corporate planner and book meetings of 50 to 250 people. What value does a convention bureau give me?

Answer: Booking meetings of your size can be very time consuming if you do not know which properties will best fit your needs. A convention bureau represents all of the hotels in the city and can send your meeting requirements only to the hotels that can meet your needs. The bureau does not have a hotel brand preference and will also sourcing hotels that are independent and do not have a flag.

Question: As a corporate planner I tend to use the national sales office for my hotels. If I also include the convention bureau am I creating friction between these two sources?

Answer: Not at all. Depending on the city you will find not every national office team has visited every city or hotel. They can get your requirements out quickly but may not have the individual hotel knowledge in that city. This is where including the convention bureau can help you refine your search. They have first hand knowledge of each hotel and of the various areas of the city. Ultimately you want as many people helping you as possible.

Question: Does using a convention bureau have a user fee associated with their services?

Answer: Definitely not. The convention bureau normally receives their funding from tax revenue associated with the bed tax. So the guest room rate will not be increased to pay for their services. Also you will find that the convention bureau can help you with many services including giving you options for airport service, access to venues for your events and many times local speakers who can talk to your business environment. They may also have some financial incentives for you based on when you hold your conference.

Question: If I only want to include certain hotels or areas within the city can the convention bureau be that selective?

Answer: The convention bureau is Not Required to send every meeting request to every hotel. The area hotels would actually prefer you to be very specific in your search. They do not want to receive business opportunities that they need to spend a lot of time putting together an offer when they are not going to be considered anyway.

Question: I received several good offers from national hotel companies. How do I arrange a site inspection as each national sales manager only wants me to see their hotel?

Answer: This is where the convention bureau is the best source to have working for you. They can arrange the site inspection schedule to show you the hotels or venues that interest you the most and allow you to see your top choices or help you narrow the areas in the city. Once you agree on the schedule they can advise the national sales staff of your itinerary to help secure overnight accommodations if required.

5 Tools to Transform Social Media from a Sinkhole to a Generator

Posted by: By: Barbara Rozgonyi, CoryWest Media LLC on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

5 Tools to Transform Social Media from a Sinkhole to a Generator

True or False: Social media is a bottomless sinkhole where time disappears and nothing productive ever happens.

Depending on the day, the answer could be true or false. Here are five ways to manage your social media time to make it more enjoyable, productive and profitable for you and your followers.

  1. Be Choosey

    Know who you want to talk to – and why.

    After friends and family, prioritize who it’s important to reach. Are you looking for clients, referrals or associations? Why do you want to connect with them? The answer should be what’s in it for them, not for you. Use LinkedIn’s advanced search tool to track down everyone you want to connect with.

    Tool: LinkedIn

  2. Be Selective

    Choose one, at the most two or three, platforms to be great at.

    Hint: LinkedIn is a good first choice. Ask your best clients, connections, or even colleagues what platforms they hang out on. Then, listen and join in on the conversation. Keep in mind that images get shared more often than text. If you’re looking for an image-based social network, try Instagram. It’s an easy way to share images with Facebook and Twitter.

    Tool: Instagram.com

  3. Be on time

    How do you know when to post social media updates so that they’ll reach the most people? How do you know what your people want to read? To get the answers, sign up for a free Buffer account. Buffer will automatically send your updates out at peak times. And, you’ll get analytics that measure interest.

    Tool: BufferApp.com

  4. Be Consistent

    Do you workout? How? Do you take a regularly scheduled class, go to a gym, dance to DVDs in your living room, or walk your dog a few times a day? However you exercise, you know that moving every day is important. So is checking in on social media. Set aside a time every day to exercise your social media routine. Using a dashboard like Hootsuite, you can manage multiple accounts all at once. You can even enter and schedule updates for future delivery.

    Tool: Hootsuite.com

  5. Be Powerful

    This is relative. While you may think what you know is ordinary and common, to someone else you are the exact genius they’ve been looking for. Why? You have the answers to their questions. Think of social media as a power tool that enables you to share knowledge, calibrate positioning, increase profitability, measure results, and save time.

    To get you started building your social media toolbox, here’s a list of low cost or no cost social media measurement tools.


Barbara Rozgonyi presents experiential marketing and leadership programs for meeting and event professionals that focus on creativity, strategy, and results. For more information, visit BarbaraRozgonyi.com.


Trends with Benefits: Security in Hospitality

Posted by: Sasha Sook, CMP, Summit Executive Centre on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Safety and security has become important now more than ever with the recent terrorist attacks. According to MPI meetings outlook, 28 percent of meeting professionals said they are making changes in how they run meetings in response to the recent terrorist incidents. The times are changing rapidly and as a planner or venue you are responsible for the safety of your attendees.  Here are a few tips to plan for your future programs.


  • Ask the venue about their staff and qualifications. At the Summit we are all CPR trained, have fire safety and active shooter training.
  • Ask venue what their safety plans in place are. You should also have your own safety plan that you share with attendees and encourage them to report suspicious behavior.
  • Have venue provide a safety announcement before your meeting. They will be happy to do this as that allows them to get in front of your attendees. The attendees will feel more confident and know what to do if something happens.
  • You may want to consider additional screening measures such as metal-detector screening, random pat-downs, baggage searches, patrolling police and bomb-sniffing dogs depending on the size of your program.


  • The cost of meetings will rise because of the need for greater security and even cancelled meetings so this needs to be added into the budgets for future meetings.
  • You may want to hire a security agency for your program so you will want to make sure this is also in the budget.
  • If you are booking a meeting in a high-risk destination, you may see a decline in attendance. This can’t always be planned for but know what you need to do if something does happen where you are.


  • Make sure you never have multiple employees, especially senior level on the same flight.
  • The amount of time it takes to get through security and customs and immigration changes daily so make sure you schedule your staff and speakers with a conservative time.


  • Visit Travel.state.gov to see if the destination you are planning to book is a high-risk place.
  • Enroll your trip in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (Step) and encourage attendees to do so as well.


  • As more and more countries are making VISA’S a requirement, make sure you are always researching this and planning for it in advance.

You can never be too prepared so when you are planning an event try to think of all of the scenarios and get the training you need to make sure you will know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

MPI-CAC Paints the Picture at MPI-CAC Annuals Awards Recognition Gala

Posted by: Tara Gray, CMP, CIS, Maritz Travel Company on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Amazing! That is the single word you could explain the MPI-CAC Annuals Awards Recognition Gala, from the transportation, to the venue, all the nominees, winners and the hospitality.

365 days a year, the members of MPI-CAC are the artists of events nationally and internationally and in our home town Chicago. One day of the year, MPI-CAC celebrates those Masters of Arts. The MPI-CAC Annuals Awards Recognition Gala was held on July 12, 2017 at the Bridgeport Art Center and helped Paint the Picture of the chapter throughout the year and beyond. It was a night not only to celebrate award winners and nominations, but the work the chapter has put into the last year.

Taking a new look and feel to the event, awards were presented in the round, IPads were used as program guides and pictures of the attendees were taken post presentation.  .

The change in the script, which allowed for a program that was reduced for 30 minutes, but more networking ability. The formality and informality of it all created one unique experience for the new age of award events. Even Thank You Notes, as seen on Jimmy Fallon, were provided by President Tina Reedy and who doesn’t love great improve MC talent from Judith Holler Durkin.

Thank you to all the committee members for Award Selection and Gala planning:

Vice President – Melissa Swakow, NHS Global Events
Director – Jessica Perrozzi, NHS Global Events

Award Selection:
Co-Chair – Fergal O’Sullivan, CMP, Marriott International
Co-Chair – Laurel Rhoads, CMP, Baker McKenzie Global Services LLC
Sara Broderick, Wynn Las Vegas
Katie Callahan-Giobbi, Minding Your Business, Inc.
Mollie Grulke Mercado, CMP, CMM, Intermedia Meetings & Events
Kris Jebson, MGM Resorts International
Bill Kubiak, CSEP, Freeman Audio Visual
Joyce Paschall, CMP, CAE, American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine
Barbara Quigley, CTA, Sonoma County Tourism
Don Smith, CMP, CVS
Sonal Sullivan, CMP, Personalized Meetings, LLC

Awards Gala:
Co-Chair – Amanda Reece, NHS Global Events
Co-Chair – Christie Springer, Sodexo at Museum of Science and Industry
Heather Brown, CMP, DMCP, Allied PRA
Sandy Clous, Bridgeport Art Center
Rickey Copley-Spivey, Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants
Allie Drazin, Hub51
Kara Ferguson, Association of Legal Administrators
Joanne Orlando, CMP
Polly Pancoe, CMP, Hotel Reservation Mgt., Inc
Hilary Saurer, River Roast
Whitney Taylor, Drape Kings
Cary Williams, Brella Productions

A special thanks to the sponsors on making evening magical: 

Caesars Entertainment
Wynn | Encore
MGM Resorts International
Visit Dallas
Las Vegas CVA
NHS Global Events
Sonoma County Tourism
InnerWorkings, Inc.
Bridgeport Art Center
Venue Logic
Travis AV
Calihan Catering
Platinum Events
HMR Designs
Arena Americas
Windy City Linens
Holla! Productions
Signature Transportation Group
Cadmium CD
Edward Fox Photography
Conrad Hotel
Brella Productions
Moosebox Productions
Tag Prints

With this great event, it is just a reminder to get involved with MPI-CAC, it helps Paint the Picture of our great industry.




Take care of yourself

Posted by: Jeff Durocher, US Poker & Casino Parties on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Many of us who manage events know what a 20 hour day looks like, occasionally back to back.  We are wired to deliver, no matter what the circumstance.  If the client has a last minute add on or needs a venue, weather or tenting decide not to cooperate, it is our job to fix it.  The show must go on.   And we are happy to do it with a smile on our faces so the client doesn’t have any concern.

In this type of environment, it is easy to forget about yourself.  We eat poorly.  We don’t sleep well or live by my personal saying of “Night time is just a series of one hour naps.  There is no sleeping through.  We work long days in hot weather, cold weather, rain, snow, sleet. We are in the service industry so we just get it done. 

Over time, this can take a toll and in some cases our body just shuts down. Stress is a real factor when you worry that the job will not get done or not done right.

Below are a few tips to help you maintain your need to serve:

  • Take time for yourself.  Missing one event is not going to make the world stop.  Find some time each quarter to shut down, take a day and relax.
  • Eat better. Pack yourself a lunch (or 2) each day with healthy foods.  Set a time each day to sit down for 15-20 mins and just eat.  Don’t eat on the run, in the truck, late at night… A conscience effort to eat at a regular time keeps you from eating whatever is there whenever you can.
  • Set some limits.  Plan your week so that you do not work multiple 20 hours days.  Try to stagger those long days and follow each one with a light day.
  • Delegate and trust.  You have built a good team.  Let them pull some weight. Trust that they will get the job done.  Don’t try to do it all yourself.
  • Don’t sleep with your phone.  Make a commitment to yourself not to check emails after 9pm (or 7pm).  It may take a while to ‘train others’ that you will get back to them in the morning but you may be surprised that they actually enjoy the break as well.
  • Reflect:  take a moment or two to go outside.  Look around.  Take in the scene around you. Meditate if you want. ‘Smell the roses’.  We are often in some great cities, venues…etc and it’s easy to ‘miss the bliss’ that surrounds you.

It is true what they say.  If you don’t take care of you, nobody will.  Take some time to take care of you.


Ask the Expert – Organization and Motivation

Posted by: By, Ted Miller, HMCC, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Enterprise Holdings on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Question: I am considering a chapter leadership position for the coming year, if I am the committee chairman I expected to do most of the work?

Answer: The key to being a Committee Chair or other leadership positions is your ability to organize the tasks and function of your committee. Then select the committee members that want certain tasks and assign them to those members. When you are in a leadership position it is important to remember that you are the leader and you need to motivate those around you to perform the tasks and not do the work yourself.

Question: Last year we had a number of people who committed to being on our committee but never were really engaged. How would you suggest I handle this situation?

Answer: It is not unusual to have people initially make a commitment to a committee and not engage with the rest of the members. This happens for one of two reasons, either the individual truly did not understand their responsibility as a committee member or the committee chair did not engage and motivate them. The latter is generally the case as many committee chairs do not take the time to learn what each member wants to achieve being a committee member.

Question: If you are a committee chair or in a leadership position how would you suggest I initially manage the group?

Answer: To manage a committee you need to understand why each member joined and what talent they bring. As an example if you need to use social media as part of your committee select someone who is either very experienced and can teach the group how to best use it or choose a member who wants to learn about it. If you pick the latter expect that there may be some times lapses as they start to use it. You may want to assign a mentor to them so they have a resource to help them when they have issues. As the committee chair your main responsibility is to engage each member in activities that suit each member and will give the group synergy.

Question: How do you handle a committee member who either does not attend our meetings or is generally unresponsive when we send them communication?

Answer: Not everyone is cut out to be a team member. If they have not responded on the last two communications you have sent then send them an email thanking them for their interest and excusing them from their duties. This is the polite way of terminating someone.



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