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Home > News|Media  > eNewsletter

MPI-CAC Conversations + Connections

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


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.


Visit This Valued MPI-CAC Partner

Visit This Valued MPI-CAC Partner


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