Tag Archives: Jim Fausel

Meeting Professionals International - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Profiles

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is a global organization helping businesses and people by providing human connections to knowledge and ideas, relationships, and marketplaces.

Here are the profiles of four people who have helped and been helped by Meeting Professionals International:

Jim FauselMeeting Professionals International, Jim Fausel - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011
President and CEO, meetGCA

Technology is constantly advancing, but no amount of it replaces human interaction, according to Jim Fausel.

Fausel is president and CEO of meetGCA, a travel management firm that focuses on worldwide meeting and event management.

“Teleconferences are great and they work, but they are complements to what we do,” Fausel says. “The only way to get business is to get in front of people, we can’t just recruit people digitally.”

Technology, however, is not the biggest threat to the industry. According to Fausel, competition is the real concern.

There are so many meeting sources that people have to pick and choose the most effective ones. In turn, too many options are not a good thing, he says.
Fausel says education can help people work around the issue because there are always new ways to do business and attract customers.

“We need to educate our future leaders,” Fausel says. “Students are especially susceptible to new technologies and new ways to find business because they’re less afraid and take more risks. They’re the go-getters.”

Fausel has been working with Meeting Professionals International since 1983 and credits it for laying down the groundwork and establishing the relationships that have helped business grow throughout the years.

“People become part of an organization to use its resources,” he says. “If you have a car parked in a garage but don’t use it, what’s the point?”

Some people scratch their heads wondering what to do, but MPI helps us cut through that question.

“It’s the first step to moving a program,” he says.

Fausel says he contributes new energy and new direction to MPI and encourages the growth of international meetings and events because the international marketplace is the focus, he adds.

Lisa EvansMeeting Professionals International, Lisa Evans - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011
Planner, Childhelp

You can’t blame Lisa Evans for being a little old fashioned.

Evans has an unwavering confidence in the art of face-to-face communication and the benefits it yields for businesses. She recognizes the technological advancements such as Skype and telecommunication that are innovating interaction, but she still advocates the impact of personal communication.

“There is also a level of inspiration that comes when people are engaging in personal, face to face communication,” says Evans, a planner at Childhelp who serves Meeting Professionals International (MPI) as vice president of Education, Arizona Sunbelt Chapter.

As such, Evans’ focus is on education and business connections, ensuring members quality and relevant education to meet their professional goals. The ideas of one delivered with passion or skepticism sparks others’ minds to go in a different direction, or develop a new idea or understand in a new way,” Evans says.

Though she believes strongly in the positive influence of the meeting industry, she admits that “damage control” poses a threat to its success. “I believe the meetings and event industry missed the mark long ago by not educating the business community on the positive impact that meeting face to face and offering incentive programs can have…” Evans says.

As VP of Education, it only makes sense that Evans cites education as the key to success in the industry. She supports the promotion of meetings through educating businesses on the best practices to meet their meeting or event needs.

Perhaps Evans’ faith in personal interaction in group settings can be credited to the positive impact MPI has had on her business specifically. Childhelp, a non-profit organization for the prevention of child abuse, relies on community involvement, which Evans secures through out-reach meetings and events.

“MPI helps me to stay up to date on best practices, latest technology, and emerging ideas and trends,” she says. “Our economic environment is largely impacted by social factors, and so it is important for social service groups and businesses to work together and find innovative ways to benefit one another.”

Mark SkalnyMeeting Professionals International, Mark Skalny - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011

Corporate photographer Mark Skalny eyes business through a lens of his own–
A camera lens, to be exact. His fresh perspective as a photographer is among the traits that make him a valuable member of the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) team. Skalny says he believes in the impact of meeting, events and personal interaction despite the growing popularity of alternative technological modes of communication.

“Meetings allow people to ‘be present,’ and in person rather than on an impersonal screen in the front of the room and better able to share and express experiences and differing approaches to the issues at hand,” Skalny says.

Meetings give Skalny the chance to build “community, that core team of professionals, experts, educators and leaders.” It’s this community that he cites as beneficial to his business.

“Interacting with a group of professionals expands my knowledge of the current business climate and challenges me to constantly learn more and in turn grow,” he says. “This is what the MPI organization is all about.”

Skalny says, like many of his peers, he stands by education as the answer to issues facing his industry.

“Education is crucial,” Skalny says. “People need to feel ‘hope’ both in their business and professional worlds. Educating our membership about the state of our economy at home and abroad is key…”

As a photographer, Skalny said he believes he has a rare insight into the art of corporate interaction and, thus, an exclusive opportunity to educate other professionals.

“I am constantly moving about in the business/corporate arena,” he says. “I see and hear, and photograph, what’s new in this world.”

Don OrtizMeeting Professionals International, Don Ortiz - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011
Supplier, DEO Entertainment Group

Face-to-face interaction is still the most valuable way to communicate because it helps build one-on-one relationships, Don Ortiz asserts.

“When you speak in person, you may uncover things that connect you like kids’ birthdays,” Ortiz says. “It also allows people to get a good feel for one another.”
Ortiz is an international music supplier with DEO Entertainment Group and global community chair for the Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. In his job, he travels the globe constantly, which makes him a valuable asset to MPI.

Many of the companies that come to Arizona for business are global companies and having learned their protocols and etiquette are beneficial for MPI, Ortiz says.

“It helps to build long-term relationships,” he says.

But the benefits are mutual, according to Ortiz. MPI enhances his business by helping him establish relationships with the global communication community, he says.

“Greeting people in their language helps break down barriers,” Ortiz says. “Establishing and maintaining relationships is important, especially during times when companies stop spending money for corporate events.”

And even in these uncertain economic times, Ortiz says he is optimistic about the future of the meetings business.

“We’re seeing a bounce back and it trickles down to everybody,” he says. “Companies are doing things that they weren’t doing before now and that will help the industry get back to where it was prior to the recession.

By Malu Banuelos & Megan Mitchell

[stextbox id=”grey”]For more information on Meeting Professionals International, visit their website at www.mpiweb.org.[/stextbox]

Arizona Business Magazine September/October 2011

Why Meeting Planning Has Become A Top Career Pick

Planning Big

Why meeting planning has become a top career pick

By David M. Brown

$122.3 billion. That’s what businesses, small and large, spend on meetings and conventions annually. And that’s one great reason why, when choosing their careers, so many young people are choosing meeting planning.


Planning BigEither as independent firms or employees, meeting planners ensure that events, from seminars and incentives to Fortune 500 annual meetings and conventions, are successful for their clients, both tactically (did it run smoothly?) and strategically (did the gathering fulfill corporate goals?). While the perception may be that this is a females-only profession, males are participating in its many facets: administrative; communications; financial; sales; hospitality; audio-visual; staging and production; and long-term visioning. “If you consider the bigger picture, the industry, there are men filling various roles,” says Katherine Christensen, CMP, president and owner of Chandler-based Katherine Christensen & Associates and PRA Destination Management–Arizona. The Certified Meeting Professional, CMP, is an industry certification earned through examination, as well as work and association experience.

“[Students] see the industry as a $120 billion business, and the thought of the myriads of detail necessary to conduct a major event, whether small or large, is challenging for their skills,” says Jim Fausel, CMP, CMM, faculty associate with the School of Community Resources and Development at Arizona State University. There, students pursue one of two elective accredited courses: Meetings and Convention Management and Special Events. Fausel also serves as the director of the Professional Meeting Managers Partnership and, as an independent meeting professional, has led Scottsdale-based The Conference Connection since 1984.

Programs at quality universities such as ASU and Northern Arizona University help students realize that this is a career they never even considered, until they learned what it was all about. “Meetings management is the sleeping giant in academia, and more and more students want to learn how to plan effective meetings,” adds Fausel.

The degree at ASU is a Bachelor of Science and Recreation, with tourism as the section in which meeting management is taught. ASU also offers adult learning courses, he notes: “We target those working in nonprofits, government, associations and corporations who are told to plan and set up a meeting, but don’t have the experience to do so.”

Dr. Gary Vallen, professor, from the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, says the appeal is that meeting planning is a “thrill-a-minute industry.” He asks, “Where else could someone take a leadership role putting on high-end conventions from such diverse topics as a National Home Builders Conference (one of the largest physical show requirements of any in the world) to the world’s largest cocktail and nightclub show?” He adds, “Or put on smaller themed events like a James Bond dinner, or a racecar/Nascar evening for various conference groups?”

His Gary Vallen Hospitality Consultants hosts casino-themed evenings for social purposes or charitable fundraisers. Vallen helped initiate the NAU program in 1988. He teaches Hotel Operations, Casino Gaming Management and Meetings and Events Management, and, during a recent semester sabbatical, developed four courses in meeting, events and expositions management: Meeting Planning; Conventions and Expositions; Festivals and Special Events; and Topics in Meetings and Conventions Management. NAU first offered these courses this spring.

A Business Convention
“Meeting planning as a career is growing more popular in part because of the increasing awareness of our industry,” explains Karla Vogtman, convention services manager for the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Almost every organization holds some type of meeting. As long as companies meet, the demand for professionals in our industry will continue,” adds Vogtman, an ASU alum.

She, in fact, works with the CVB’s convention sales department to service groups hosting meetings in the Valley. This includes providing housing and registration assistance; developing community awareness; coordinating site inspections and venues; hosting off-site activities; supplying destination and promotional collateral; and providing marketing assistance to convention groups. “In other words, I act as the destination specialist and work as a liaison between members and meeting planners,” she says.

Her path is illustrative of the many opportunities a meeting career offers: She started in the multi-cultural affairs department, moved to the convention sales department and now works with groups in convention services. “A degree in this field requires you to focus on communication, business and a variety of other skills I utilize every day.”

While the popularity of meeting planning as a career is a national trend, tourism’s place as the second largest industry in Arizona is particularly inspiring young people here. “Arizona as a destination is very popular and our seasons are high in the fall. From January through June, when all in our industry work very hard, oftentimes without days off, we do it to serve our visitors,” Christensen notes. As a result, most meeting and convention planning is hospitality-focused in Arizona, although medical, real estate and financial concerns significantly rely on these professionals as well.

In fact, it’s becoming a necessity, she emphasizes. “It’s a profession that is finally being recognized as an industry,” After all, she points out, “People take their taxes to a CPA, as they are schooled and study in that field, or other experts in their fields like attorneys or mechanics. Why would they not have their meeting/event planning needs tended to, by a professional?”

Plan to Associate with Colleagues
Meeting planning has evolved, though, explains LoriAnn K. Harnish, CMP, CMM. “Today’s meeting planners are event and meeting extraordinaires who are far more strategic than tactical,” explains Harnish, noting that Fast Company Magazine has listed the meeting industry as one of the top 20 professions for the next decade. “Yes, they have resources at their fingertips and checklists galore to ensure every detail is not overlooked or forgotten. However, their main focus is being strategic, that is, aligning their meetings objectives with the visions of the organizations they serve.”

Hornish is president of Scottsdale-based Speaking of Meetings, which ensures that a company’s strategic objectives are the components of every meeting and event. The CMM, Certified Meetings Manager, which develops this strategic visioning, requires a five-day, in-residence course and other components.

She is also president-elect of the 460-member, Phoenix-based Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of the Dallas-based Meeting Professionals International, established in 1972. The largest association for the meetings profession, MPI includes 20,000-plus membership in 68 chapters and clubs in the United States, Canada, Europe and other countries. The chapter assists members with networking, education and vocation tools, as well as works with students for internship opportunities.

AZ Business Magazine October November 2006“Our state has had a chapter for more than 25 years, and that tells you how important meeting planning has been for several decades,” explains Christensen, a member since 1993 who has served in various roles, including president. “It isn’t new; it is just perceived as a necessary profession for corporations, associations and organizations to assist in their planning.”

Everyone agrees: For those planning this as a career, plan ahead. “Throughout the country, this background opens the doors to employment,” Fausel says. “Those companies and associations looking for meeting-management assistance usually turn to those individuals with the training and education in the meetings industry to be part of the team.”


Arizona Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006