Tag Archives: mpi

Deliver on Your ROI, Business Meetings

Arizona MPI honors excellence with awards

The Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (AzMPI) recently recognized its members who went above and beyond to volunteer for the chapter. Winners include: Rising Star Award presented to Troy Peters with Video West; James A. Fausel Student of the Year Award presented to Shelby Wray, ASU; Committee of the Year Award presented to Sponsorship Committee; Host Property/Venue of the Year Award presented to TPC Scottsdale; Sponsorship of the Year Award given to kool Party Rentals; Member of the Year Award presented to Jacqi Marth, Destinations & Details; The Edward E. Scannell Award presented to Christina Tzavellas, CMP with CTZ and Associates; Supplier of the Year Award presented to Chip Headman, Williams & Associates; Planner of the Year Award presented to Susan Molinich, CMP, SMMC, American Express Meetings & Events; Presidents Achievement Awards were given to Jamie Cook, CMP, CMM, Strategic Meetings & Events and to Joanne Winter, AzMPI.

“We strive to promote excellence within the meeting industry through education, certification, advocacy and business-to-business networking opportunities for our members,” said 2013-2014 AzMPI President Jill Longfellow. “Anyone who plans or supports meetings in any capacity, whether an administrative assistant or a caterer, can benefit from what AzMPI offers.”

The 375-member Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International was established in 1979. Meeting Professionals International is the meeting and event industry’s largest association for the $102.3 billion meetings and events industry. AZMPI offers monthly events providing education, and networking opportunities. MPI membership is comprised of more than 24,000 members belonging to 80 chapters and clubs worldwide. To learn more about AZMPI visit www.AZMPI.org or call 602-277-1494.

Deliver on Your ROI, Business Meetings

AzMPI Announces 2013-14 Board

The Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (AzMPI) recently installed their 2013-2014 slate of Officers for the chapter.

Officers include incoming President Jill Longfellow,  Enterprise Holdings Inc.; President-Elect Cristin Barr, The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain; Vice President of Finance Penny Allphin, Hassayampa Inn Prescott; Vice President of Communications Chip Headman, Williams & Associates; Vice President of Membership Julia-Isabel Davenport, Maximize Your Publicity; Vice President of Education Susie Molinich, American Express Meeting & Events, and Immediate Past President Donna Masiulewicz, Timeline Meetings & Events.  The Chapter Directors are: Director of Leadership Development Lynne Wellish, Triage Meetings & Events; Director of Fundraising & Special Events Tiffany Higgins, The Tiffany Event; Director of Strategic Alliances Dave Rosenbaum, Carefree Resort & Conference Center; Director of Monthly Programs Lee Smith, Hotel Valley Ho; Director of Recruitment Dave Borsheim, Hotel Palomar Phoenix; Director of Retention Jacqi Marth, Destination and Details; Director of Information Technology Danielle Adams, KCA; and Director of Public Relations and Marketing James Eggimann, The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix

“We strive to promote excellence within the meeting industry through education, certification, advocacy and business-to-business networking opportunities for our members,” said incoming 2013-2014 AZMPI President Jill Longfellow.  “Anyone who plans or supports meetings in any capacity, whether an administrative assistant or a caterer, can benefit from what AZMPI offers.”

The 375-member Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International was established in 1979.  Meeting Professionals International is the meeting and event industry’s largest association for the $102.3 billion meetings and events industry.  AZMPI offers monthly events providing education, and networking opportunities.  MPI membership is comprised of more than 24,000 members belonging to 80 chapters and clubs worldwide.  To learn more about AzMPI visit www.AzMPI.org or call 602-277-1494.

Masiulewicz

Masiulewicz takes leadership role in MPI

Donna Masiulewicz, a native of Chicago, was named president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International for the 2012 – 2013 year.

Masiulewicz earned her BA from Northern Illinois University in Spanish Translation and International Marketing.  She began her career in the hospitality industry working in association meetings management and tenured in corporate meeting and event operations.  A move to Arizona in 2001 carried over her role in corporate meetings and introduced her to incentive travel programs.

As president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC, Masiulewicz manages programs and events in domestic and international destinations with delegations from 12-2500.
Over the years, Masiulewicz has earned several industry awards, including the Rising Star for MPI (both Chicago and Arizona chapters) and the MPI Special Commendation award in Arizona. Masiulewicz won the prestigious 2008-2009 AZMPI Planner of the Year.
She recently sat down with Arizona Business Magazine to talk about the state of the hospitality industry in Arizona.

Question: What motivated you to become a meeting and event producer?
Masiulewicz; I started working the association market as an internal meeting/registration coordinator for a national nursing council. I truly loved the job and all the facets of the meetings industry. Wanting to learn more, I moved to the corporate side of meetings and conferences, got involved in MPI and continued to grow, learn and focus on perfecting each event.

Q: What are your duties and focus as president at Timeline Meetings and Events, LLC?
M: I am an independent senior meeting planner who is proficient in operations management for conferences, events and incentive programs. I manage all facets of program logistics including on-line registration support team, housing, custom program itinerary, ancillary meetings/activities, food/beverage selection, implementation, budget management, client relations, on-site execution and production, accounting and financial reconciliation.

Q: How did you become involved in the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of MPI?
M: I joined the Chicago chapter of MPI in 1997 and served on several committees; also receiving the Rising Star award in 2001. I transferred my membership to the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter when I moved in 2001. I was going to sit back and take it all in, but quickly jumped onto two committees. Over the next few years, I served on several committees including host and hospitality, membership, holiday party, special events/fundraising, and education forum. I joined the board of directors as director of special events/ fundraising in 2006-2007 and served as vice president of finance for a year before becoming president-elect in 2011-2012.

Q: How have some of the political and social issues — SB1070 and the lesbian couple being asked to leave a downtown Phoenix hotel restaurant — impacted the meeting and events industry in Arizona?
M: While we continue to be sensitive to the special interests of all our clients, we have a responsibility to remain focused on the task at hand which is the organization and execution of the best event we can produce. At times this may entail distancing that task from any group’s social or political views. While some may protest such an approach, the resultant neutrality assures both the organizers and the clients a well-run event without the distractions of any alternate agendas.

Q: What are your goals as president of the chapter?
M: My theme for the year is “Meeting Momentum.” We have the energy and resources laid in the foundation for the hospitality industry and it’s up to us as the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter to keep the movement and mobility in motion by doing four things:
* Offering top notch education to our membership.
* Encouraging members to live MPI and share the message throughout the industry and beyond.
* Paving the path for our future leaders.
* Having fun with networking events and helping others via our community outreach efforts.

87690275

Technology expands meeting and conference industry

We don’t catch up over coffee anymore, we catch up on Facebook.

Technology has changed the way we date, invite people to parties, and even watch TV. It’s only natural that technology will change the face of business meetings and conferences.

“As a chapter and in addition to our website, we utilize social media outlets — Facebook and LinkedIn — to promote our meetings and events and to share information industry-wide,” says Donna Masiulewicz. president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “We also use these means to educate those outside the industry about the power of meetings.”

Mara Weber, global marketing and communications director for Honeywell Process Solutions in Phoenix, has taken the use of technology a step far beyond Facebook.

“We held a global sales and service kickoff meeting on a virtual platform, with live broadcasts of a general session in two time zones,” Weber says. “The objective was to align our global team on growth initiatives, portfolio offerings, key messages and how to sell the value to our customers.”

While Weber says virtual meetings — which experts expect to triple in the next five years — give companies the ability to create a global footprint and bring content to an audience when and where it’s convenient for them, there are logistical challenges that need to be overcome.

“To be honest, the time and energy required and cost is far more than people realize,” she says. “You need to start with a very specific plan of attack, keeping goals and results in mind and making sure you are creating the right content in the right format. Video format, platform format, firewalls, testing in varied browsers and software versions, ability to convert files and stay flexible at all times is just the start. You also need to think past the technical to the end-user experience and also branding to create a visual environment and help messages that guide attendees or they quickly get frustrated and jump off. It’s not like being lost at a trade show and being able to view a map and ask people for directions. The audience is largely on their own and you have to think about their experience every step of the way, how they behave, how you want them to behave, download, ask, engage.”

Weber believe the best use of virtual meetings are as a component of a live, face-to-face event, extending the value of the content through the web to attendees who cannot travel or have abbreviated schedules.

“We chose to do a fully virtual kickoff meeting because we have over 3,500 sales and service team members in more than 100 countries,” she says. “The cost and logistics of face to face meeting is not reasonable.”

Weber says Honeywell has piloted virtual meeting a couple of times with customers when they can focus on a specific, targeted topic. And even in the high-tech world that Honeywell does business in, change isn’t embraced easily.

“Our customer base does not seem to be accepting,” Weber says. “By nature, they are engineers and like live demonstrations, talking face to face with experts and networking.”

TECHNOLOGY IMPACTS THE MEETING INDUSTRY

Here are five way ways experts say the use virtual technology is changing the face of the convention, conference, meeting, event, and trades how industries: ways he says you can use virtual technology to enhance your meetings.

WEB CONFERENCING: Connects meeting attendees and speakers in different locations by using VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), which allows real-time streaming of audio and video. More hotels and business centers are also adding high-definition virtual conference rooms that can be used to host hybrid sessions.

ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS: Open source your meetings and events by allowing virtual participants to share documents, Web pages, whiteboards, slide decks, audio, and video … all in real-time. Some Web conferencing systems allow you to record your events, thereby creating a collective knowledge base. These tools can be used for small meetings or for larger groups of thousands.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: Often called the “backchannel,” social media represent the virtual conversations taking place in the background before, during, and often long after your live meeting or event. Take the time to set up and promote social media activity through things like assigning a specific Twitter hashtag for your event, creating event-specific Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and setting up Foursquare check-in locations.

REMOTE PRESENTERS: Use a streaming video feed of a speaker who is in a different physical location. This can be done as a realistic 3-D hologram, or a live feed of your guest speaker. Remote presenter options can be a great way to attract high-profile speakers who may not have the time to travel to a physical event.

LIVE WEBCASTS: Broadcast your keynotes, general sessions and breakouts by streaming your live audio and visual presentations via the Internet in real-time.

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Meetings and conventions drive tourism industry

Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, knows his industry is big business.

“If Arizona’s tourism industry were a publicly traded entity,” he says, “it would be the third-largest company in the state—just behind Avnet and Freeport-McMoran, and just ahead of US Airways and PetSmart.”

Despite the economic downturn and the hit that the state’s tourism industry has taken because of human rights concerns, the numbers back up Moore’s statement. According to a study released this year by Dean Runyan Associates:
* Total direct travel spending in Arizona was $18.3 billion in 2011. Travel spending increased by 5.4 percent in current dollars compared with 2010.
* The tourism industry employs 157,700 people in Arizona. Combined with secondary employment that is generated through this direct travel spending, total job generation for Arizona is nearly 300,000. Tourism-related employment increased in 2011 by 1.7 percent – an addition of 2,700 jobs. This is the first increase in employment since 2006.
* The re-spending of travel-related revenues by businesses and employees supported 136,000 additional jobs outside of the travel industry, with earnings of $5.4 billion.
* The biggest economic boost came from conferences, conventions and business travel, which accounted for more than $6 billion in spending, or the equivalent economic impact of hosting a Super Bowl every month.

“Conventions and meetings are essential to Phoenix’s economy,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says. “Their attendees stay in our hotels, go shopping at our local businesses and eat in our restaurants, which generates revenue and creates jobs.”

In many ways, experts says, conventions and meetings are a key indicator of the state’s ongoing economic recovery.

“Our industry is in a unique position in that our economic recovery has a direct effect on the recovery of the country as a whole,” says Donna Masiulewicz, president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “For most organizations, the first step in such a rebuilding phase is to regroup, reorganize and set out plans for the future. What better place to accomplish these things than at a company-wide event or convention? That means, in essence, that when we are hired to set up these events we are not only helping our own industry get back on financial track but we are serving as a conduit for other organizations to do so as well.”

The gross domestic product of Arizona’s travel industry was $7.3 billion in 2011, according to the Runyan study, making it the state’s top export-oriented industry, ranking above microelectronics, aerospace, and mining.

A big chunk of that revenue comes from meetings and conventions, which account for about two-thirds of the total revenue at Phoenix hotels and resorts, according to Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“That’s higher than the national average,” MacKenzie says, “because our destination holds great appeal as a meeting destination.”

MacKenzie is quick to point out that when a big event like Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game or the Super Bowl comes to Arizona, the public hears about the economic impact it has on the community because those events get a lot of media attention. But people often don’t realize that big conventions similarly bring thousands—and in some cases tens of thousands —of visitors to Phoenix on a regular basis.

“When a large convention comes to the Phoenix Convention Center, it’s like entire small town moving into downtown for a week,” says Douglas MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. “And each one of these temporary ‘residents’ directly puts dollars into the economy and generates tax revenue. By a very conservative industry estimate, each convention attendee who comes here spends more than $1,500.”

Meetings not only play a critical role in Scottsdale’s $3 billion tourism industry, according to Kelli Blubaum, vice president of Convention Sales & Services at the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, they are economic catalysts that extend beyond the singular event.

“Meetings and events not only help fill thousands of resort and hotel room nights each year, but also provide an opportunity to introduce new visitors and business decision makers to the area,’ she says. “These events often lead to repeat visitors and even economic development opportunities for the city.”

Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane says that meetings and conventions sometimes open the attracting new industry to Arizona.

“Sometimes, people who get a taste for Scottsdale end up buying a home here, or even moving a business here,” Lane says. “In fact, (convention-goers) may represent larger groups and businesses who may ultimately do more business in Scottsdale based on an initial stay here.”

MacKenzie says Arizona’s robust meeting and convention industry brings people into the state who might not otherwise be exposed to the benefits of doing business in Arizona.

“Many conventions and corporate meetings deliver to our doorstep the very manufacturing and knowledge industries economic developers want to attract to the city,” MacKenzie says.

And while meetings and conventions represent about one-third of the tourism revenue in Tucson, city officials have used their success as an attraction in the meetings industry to attract more revenue in the future.

“Many of Tucson’s larger resorts and hotels rely exclusively on group business to maintain occupancy and revenue throughout the year,” says Graeme Hughes, director of convention sales for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are also very successful in converting meetings attendees into leisure visitors.”

Since 2008 and 2009 — the low point for Arizona tourism in the wake of the economic downturn — tourism-related tax revenue has risen across the state and as much as 60 percent in some regions of Arizona.

“The hospitality industry is a primary driver of the Arizona economy,” says Andy Ernst, regional vice president of Robert Half International, a professional staffing and consulting service. “We anticipate that Arizona will continue to experience healthy growth in the coming years as hotel occupancy continues to rise, and business comes back to the state.”

With a bright financial outlook for the meeting and convention industry nationally, experts expect Arizona to ride the momentum.
“At this point, Arizona is positioned to follow the national trend,” Hughes says. “As the economy improves, travel increases. Organizations will soon be willing to reinvest in the positive outcomes that meetings and conventions provide.”

The groups that met at the Phoenix Convention Center in 2011 accounted for more than 240,000 attendees and $350 million in estimated direct spending, according the MacKenzie. That surpassed the previous year’s direct-spend total by nearly $10 million, and it reflects the drawing power of the renovated and expanded convention center and additions to downtown, including CityScape.

“However, that’s a performance that likely will not be repeated soon,” MacKenzie says. “The number of convention attendees we’ve booked for 2012 is down 20 percent compared with 2011.”

MacKenzie attributes the decline to the recession, a 30 percent cut to the CVB’s budget, the removal of half of our Prop 302 marketing funds, and client backlash from Arizona’s role in the immigration debate, and the “A.I.G. effect,” the tendency of corporations to cut down on lavish expenditures and luxuries in areas like travel and meetings to avoid appearing wasteful in times of economic downturn. The A.I.G. effect became a reality because of the negative publicity generated by some practices of the insurance giant A.I.G.

“Keep in mind: This year’s and next year’s conventions were booked from 2008 to 2010, during the depths of the recession and during the first year of the immigration debate,” MacKenzie says. “The typical booking window for citywide conventions is two to five years out—i.e., a group usually selects the site of its 2012 convention by 2010.”

Despite some challenges, experts agree that the long-term appeal of Arizona should allow the state’s convention and meeting industry to fluorish.

“We’re seeing an increase in business from third-party planners, and the corporate segment is strengthening as well,” Blubaum points out. “Plus, healthcare continues to be a strong segment. Canada also is a growing market for Scottsdale, which is why we are increasing our efforts to drive additional meetings business from key Canadian cities.”

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Businesses in Meeting Industry Exceed Goals

Business is booming in the meetings industry!  The Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (AZMPI) announced it exceed its goal of $5 million of business within its membership.

The My MPI ROI, an internationally recognized award-winning system, created for AZMPI is where members record the business they do with each other.  For the 2011-2012 year, 31 of the 392 members recorded $5,452,612.13 of sales with each other in Arizona.

“AZMPI has gained momentum creating excellence within the meeting industry through education, certification, advocacy and business-to-business networking opportunities for our members,” said AZMPI President Donna Masiulewicz, CMP.  “We look forward to continuing the momentum of education and professional development of our members.  Anyone who plans or supports meetings in any capacity, whether an administrative assistant or a caterer, can benefit from what AZMPI offers.”

The 392-member Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International was established in 1979.  Meeting Professionals International is the meeting and event industry’s largest association for the $102.3 billion meetings and events industry.  AZMPI offers monthly events providing education, and networking opportunities.  MPI membership is comprised of more than 21,000 members belonging to 71 chapters and clubs worldwide.  To learn more about AZMPI visit www.AZMPI.org or call 602-277-1494.

Lorne Edwards - Greater Phoenix CVB

Greater Phoenix CVB Hires Hyatt Veteran As Director Of Sales

The Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau has hired Lorne Edwards as its new director of sales.

Edwards joins the Greater Phoenix CVB after a 16-year sales career at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, where he most recently served as director of sales and marketing at two Boston-area hotels.

Edwards also spent three years as associate director of sales at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. There, he was responsible for pre-opening sales operations, and he coordinated sales and marketing efforts with the convention center and Denver Metro CVB.

A native of Antigua in the West Indies, Edwards began his career with Hyatt in Orlando before being elevated to a senior sales position at one of Hyatt’s iconic flagship convention hotels in Atlanta.

Edwards will oversee the Greater Phoenix CVB’s 11-member sales team and report directly to Senior Vice President of Sales James Jessie. He will be assisted by Donn Oswald, who has been promoted to director of Midwest sales and West Coast resort sales at the CVB.

“Lorne brings a wealth of convention-center and in-house sales experience,” Jessie said. “And his experience comes from a hotelier’s perspective, which I think will be an asset not just to our sales efforts but to our symbiotic relationships with CVB-member hotels and resorts.”

Edwards received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla. His industry memberships and affiliations include Meeting Professionals International and the American Society of Association Executives.

visitphoenix.com

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
Photographer

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

David Rosenbaum - AZ Business Magazine Sep/Oct 2010

With 35 Years In The Resort Industry, David G. Rosenbaum And MPI Are Perfect Fit

David G. Rosenbaum, CHME
Director of Sales and Marketing
Fiesta Resort Conference Center
www.fiestainnresortcc.com

When David Rosenbaum first joined the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of MPI 10 years ago, he was looking to take advantage of the group’s business and networking opportunities, and gain exposure to various meeting planners around the state.

As he became more involved in MPI, his career also jumped, and today, Rosenbaum is director of sales and marketing at the Fiesta Resort Conference Center in Tempe.

Rosenbaum grew up in the resort industry. He started 35 years ago in operations, working behind the front desk and parking cars. He was then given the opportunity to work a different angle of the business.

“I came out of operations and I thought I’d be in sales for two or three years, and then I’d get back into operations,” says Rosenbaum, who adds he has been in sales for 25 years.

Although he is not currently on any local MPI committees, Rosenbaum has participated in the student relations and programs committee, and has helped with planning various galas and events the chapter hosts. He remains involved with MPI by supporting the many people on his sales team who also are members of the chapter. Rosenbaum makes sure his employees get the time they need to become active members of MPI.

He says MPI is facing several challenges because of the down economy, namely a drop in membership. That, he says, is preventing the local chapter from meeting its full potential.

“The people that are supporting the membership are stretched thin, and are not as productive as they otherwise could be,” Rosenbaum says.

He says the solution to keep membership increasing is to provide more value to AzMPI.

“The more members we have, the more support, the more talent, the more creative ideas and the more successful our chapter will be,” Rosenbaum says.

Although many people join MPI for the business opportunities and networking, Rosenbaum says the most important thing he gets back from the organization is education. He enjoys just sitting down with other members and learning from them.

In the next year, Rosenbaum wants to see the local MPI add more educational programs, such as the ones he attended on surviving in this economy and keeping up to date with technology.

“Basically any education that makes us better prepared as professionals, that is where the value and the ROI is,” Rosenbaum says.

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Mindy Gunn - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Event Planning Chose Mindy Gunn

Mindy Gunn, AVP, CMP
Technology and Operations Group Event Manager
Wells Fargo Bank
www.wellsfargo.com

Mindy Gunn didn’t choose event planning — it chose her.

Gunn planned on attending law school, but she switched career paths when she was offered a job as a meeting planner with Wells Fargo Bank.

“My start in the meetings and events industry came when I co-founded a nonprofit organization in college that produced and promoted free concerts and theatrical productions in the community,” Gunn says, adding that she also produced events while working at Wells Fargo as she attended Brigham Young University.

Gunn has been with Wells Fargo for 15 years, starting as a teller.

In her role as an event manager, Gunn joined the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International seven years ago. She initially joined as a way to gain her certified meeting professional (CMP) designation, which she did in 2006.

“MPI provides a link to other meeting professionals, as well as valuable resources to help me manage my ever-changing role in my organization,” she says.

“I am able to network with others in my profession, and keep apprised of what is happening in the industry in a way that works for me, whether it be a networking event, or, more often, the Web resources.”

Gunn says the current economic situation hasn’t changed her association with MPI; it is still a resource.

“MPI has provided important information and resources on how I can be more strategic in the support of my company from a meetings perspective,” she says.

Gunn adds that MPI also can help industry newcomers in this economy.

“I think there are fewer newcomers to the organization,” Gunn says. “With the current job market, it is becoming tougher to enter the industry, and as a result, fewer new members. These newcomers are vital to continue innovating and keeping the approaches ‘fresh.’”

Gunn says she wants to personally mentor newcomers in order to help them understand the opportunities MPI has to offer both personally and professionally. Gunn admits she didn’t take advantage of an MPI mentor when she was offered one, but she says she now knows that mentors are important.

“I would also like to see these new members aligned with mentors from their area of focus, so they can truly learn more about how to take the most advantage of the opportunities before them,” Gunn says.

Not only are newcomers an important part of MPI’s future, but so, too, is bringing together existing members, Gunn says. She says that a forum for members from all branches of the industry, from independent and corporate planners to suppliers, is something that would benefit all members.

“The more we understand each other’s roles, the better we can work together,” she says.

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Jill Longfellow - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Jill Longfellow, Convention Group Sales Manager At EnterpriseHoldings Inc.

Jill Longfellow
Convention Group Sales Manager
Enterprise
Holdings Inc.
www.enterprise.com

Jill Longfellow is grateful for her membership in the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International, and now she is helping others see the benefits as well.

As the chapter’s director of Membership Retention and Global Community Challenge, Longfellow spends time speaking to members who want to cancel their memberships because of downturns in the economy and the tourism industry. The decline in membership is why the chapter created a global community challenge that encourages members to learn about each other’s businesses in order to create referrals, she says.

“(The global community challenge) has been a terrific way for our members to truly see the ROI from their MPI membership above and beyond the education we receive at our monthly meeting,” says Longfellow, the convention group sales manager for Enterprise Holdings Inc.

A referral is also what piqued her interest in MPI. She joined in 2000, after a former Enterprise employee explained to her that MPI is a “terrific association.”

In her time with the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter, the group has created a return on investment receipt program. This program allows members to see what their MPI membership has done for them in the past.

“It is a goal of our chapter this year to make sure that every member sees the ROIs from their local involvement with our local chapter,” Longfellow says.

“My MPI membership has allowed me the opportunity to meet with hoteliers and meeting planners that I would not have been able to meet with in the past without the exposure I receive from my involvement with my local chapter.”

The exposure Longfellow has created for Enterprise through MPI is “critical” to her job, she adds.

“My involvement and membership with MPI helps to ensure that the meeting planner committee understands Enterprise’s commitment to community service and customer service,” Longfellow says.

MPI also has allowed the business and meeting planning community to better understand all that the rental car industry can do for companies holding gatherings in Arizona, she says.

Just as MPI has had a big impact on her career, Longfellow says the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of MPI has a major role to play in the business community in the years to come, especially in this current economic climate.

“I believe it’s very important that our board and our members get the word out to the public and to our elected officials about the large effect that group conventions, meetings have on Arizona as a whole,” she says. “As a destination state, we need to keep our local hotels and resorts and convention centers full with meetings, so we can keep our Arizona residents employed through these businesses — and to keep meetings happening in our beautiful state, from the northern pinecap areas of Northern Arizona to the Valley here in Phoenix, and south all the way through to Tucson.”

http://azbigmedia.com/tag/september-october-2010-2

meetings industry

MPI Is Touting The ROI Of In-Person Meetings

The best advocates for the positive return on investment of in-person meetings may very well be members of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. The meetings industry has been hit hard by the media and public scrutiny of the actions of major companies that received bailouts from the federal government. But members of the industry remain adamant that face-to-face meetings are a crucial part of every business.

Mindy Gunn, CMP, AVP, senior meeting and event planner with Wells Fargo’s bank technology and operations group, and an MPI member for four years, is the first to admit that times have become increasingly challenging for professionals in the meetings industry.

“We are in a very transparent environment, and the meetings industry is being scrutinized from many angles,” she says. “This, combined with technological advances, has created a movement toward more virtual meetings, whether they be via Web, video or teleconference.”

However, she does not believe these technological advances can entirely supersede face-to-face meetings.

“I don’t think that in-person meetings will ever be completely replaced by Webinars or video conferences, especially those that are designed to build relationships and network with teams,” she says. “I do think, however, that the smaller meetings with existing teams can and will be replaced with the virtual approach.”

She adds that face-to-face meetings facilitate a form of relationship building that simply cannot be done via the telephone or Internet.

“The meetings where interaction plays a key role, such as large project planning, team networking and sales coaching, requires at least periodic face-to-face contact in order to create solid teams,” Gunn says.

Bernadette Daily, meetings manager, corporate meeting solutions with American Express and an MPI member for four years, agrees that in-person meetings offer something that other meeting formats cannot: the human touch.

“Yes, technology has changed meetings, and attendance for in-person meetings has lowered,” she says. “But we are humans. We like to see, feel and touch. People like to put a face with a name, and they like the camaraderie and personal touch that you get with an in-person meeting. Face-to-face interaction and body language mean a lot.”

Technology and recent media scrutiny may have changed the way meetings are being held, but MPI members are united in their belief in the benefits of face-to-face meetings.

There are obvious benefits of in-person meetings, according to Kathi Overkamp, CMP. Overkamp has been an MPI member since 1995, is past president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter, past board director for the international board of directors for MPI, and manager, special events and client hospitality for US Airways.

“In-person meetings are important for a number of reasons: better learning environment, networking, peer-to-peer interaction and accountability,” she says. “Our meetings are all business.”

Overkamp also thinks that conference calls and the like can be less effective as a result of daily diversions and interruptions.

“Have you ever been on a conference call at your desk? Do you check e-mails? Handle paperwork? Put the call on mute and talk to someone? How can you be engaged when there are so many distractions?” she asks. “Being able to see your counterparts face to face and meet folks you may have only communicated with via e-mail or on the phone is important.”

In Overkamp’s opinion, the biggest return on investment of meetings is face-to-face communication, whether it is a company or business update or training.

“You can communicate via the computer, conference calls and Webinars, but to have the leaders of your company in the same room as you, giving you important information about the direction of your business and then being able to network with these same leaders and talk to them up close and personal — that is priceless,” she says.

Gunn adds: “Meetings create a venue where strategy can be discussed efficiently and key decisions are made. In my industry, especially in the current economic climate, this is critical in doing business.”

She thinks that without effective meetings, the strategic and decision-making processes slow down and critical business suffers.

“Meetings, when planned and executed efficiently, bring together the key players and allow them to communicate in a way that other venues cannot duplicate, thus saving time and resources,” Gunn says.

www.wellsfargo.com
www.americanexpress.com
www.usairways.com

Mr. Gadget

Technology Changes The Meeting Planning Industry

Mr. Gadget

Technology changes the meeting planning industry

 

Webcasting. Green-screen photography. Video e-mail. Seamless projection. Gobos. Video curtains. Not long ago, this kind of technology would not have been in a meeting and event planner’s bag of tricks. But they are today as technology makes ever-greater inroads into the industry. How members of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International use technology depends upon each company’s expertise.

 

Mr. GadgetMerestone in Scottsdale specializes in audio-visuals. A whole arsenal of gadgets is at the disposal of Merestone president Camille Hill and account executive Lynne Wellish, CMP, who also serves as chairwoman of the MPI job bank committee. “To make your point in the meeting, you have to use the biggest, fastest, smartest and most colorful tools you can get your hands on,” Hill says. “You have to stand out.” Merestone uses glass gobos to project images on screens, walls or the side of a building. The company can make an entire room look like it’s in the tropics. Merestone uses seamless projection in which multiple video projectors blend images together into one image on a huge horizontal screen. The company also uses lasers, confetti cannons, music and sound effects.

Going Gobos
Pictured below:
Merestone uses glass gobos to project images on walls or the side of a building.

Gobos

 

Sonoran Communications in Phoenix specializes in creating visual experiences that encourage people to attend the meeting again next year. Its specialty is video for screens. “Clients pay for video screens, so why leave them empty?” asks Neil Schneider, owner of Sonoran Communications and chairman of the MPI public relations committee. “Why not have something playing on them? Having a blank screen is taboo. People are used to multiple screens of information now, so you can show things during lunch and breaks.” Schneider also digitally records a meeting or event and dubs it onto DVDs for people to take home.

Schneider says the MPI chapter recently used a new technology—video e-mail—to promote its Sept. 14 trade show at Arizona Cardinals Stadium. Chapter President Kathi Overkamp, CMP, was digitally recorded in front of a green screen as she gave her pitch for the event. A slide show was dropped in after she was recorded and the video was e-mailed to chapter members.

Mark Anderson, an account executive with Southwest Scenic Group in Tempe who is active on several MPI committees, sees an uptick in requests for meeting Webcasts. It started two years ago and became increasingly popular over the past year. “It’s always been there in the way of studio-type work, but especially now with HDTV and higher-end digital recording,” Anderson says. “This is used for instructional meetings and what we call ‘rah-rah’ sales meetings. People access the meeting either live or later.” Over the next few years, Anderson expects requests for even smaller presentations that meeting attendees can view at their leisure on the company Web site. “Some of these videos are supplements to the meeting,” he says. “For example, a video of a breakout session that some people were not able to attend—they can watch it later.”

Video curtains are available but the technology is in its infancy, according to Anderson. The curtain is a mass of LED lights (light emitting diodes) that looks like a video screen. It’s lightweight, portable and big. Lighting in general is becoming easier to program, saving operating and setup time, Anderson notes.

Superhero Productions with offices in Chandler, Phoenix and Scottsdale, specializes in the “wow factor,” says agent Randy Breen, an MPI board member. “Superhero got its name from that fact that we are here to save the day and, through technology, provide the wow factor for meetings and events,” Breen says. Images of a meeting–graphics, photos, logos–are made available on memory sticks, MP3 players and digital photo frames.

AZ Business Magazine October November 2006Green-screen technology allows on-the-spot photography with a variety of digital backdrops. Powerful, lightweight LEDs allow total lighting of an event so everyone can see, while small, powerful audio speakers can be strategically placed to make sure the entire audience can hear a speaker, Breen says.

Event planning has become less costly thanks to technology and that’s a real plus for clients on a tight budget, MPI members say. But there is a downside. As technology becomes increasingly easy to use, some clients think they can do the whiz-bang stuff themselves. “People think they are more techno savvy than they actually are,” Wellish says. “We manage people doing their own PowerPoint presentations. We help them determine what to project on stage with lights. This is something that has never happened to us before.”

www.merestone.com
www.sonorancommunications.com
www.southwestscenic.com
www.superheropro.com

 

Arizona Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006