August 2017
In This Issue

  • Educational Program on August 23, 2017 at AVFX, Countdown to the Keynote
  • Countdown to the Main Event, CMP Corner by Carolyn Browning, CMP, CMM
  • Ask the ExpertsHow They Prepare for Unexpected Changes 
  • Chapter Updates, On the Move & Calendar of Events
  • July Industry Outing Instant Replay
  • In the Member SpotlightRichard Carroll, CMP 2017-2018 Immediate Past President
Coming Up Next...
Educational Program on August 23, 2017

Meeting planners and event producers invest many months preparing for a major event and yet what they do in the final weeks, can be crucial to the quality, cost and success of the event. How you anticipate and react to last minute changes can make or break your event. 

Interactive Meeting Design:

Expert panelists will speak from three stages about the challenges they’ve faced in the last 30 days before their large events. Think of it as concurrent TED Talks where you get to participate by sharing your own interesting stories. The Ringmaster will alert the Panelists when it's time to move to the next stage.

Team of Experts: 
Mark Bice, CMP —HPN Global—Ringmaster
Michelle Johnson, CMP — The Anchor Group—Panelist
Steve Halling—AVFX—Panelist
Ken Barrett — BG Events and Catering—Panelist
Tim Seeberg — BG Events and Catering—Panelist

View Photos and Read Bios Here:

  • Negotiating Internet Bandwidth
  • Attendee Management
  • ADA Compliance
  • Risk Avoidance/Management
  • Last Minute Transportation Changes
  • Staff + Guest Management
  • Budgeting for Audio Visual Support
  • AV Partner Selection Criteria
  • The After Party

The event will end with time to share your stories with colleagues over great food & drink from BG Catering surrounded by the  Annual AVFX Event Technology Showcase . Every year AVFX invites event industry professionals to see what’s new and exciting in event technology.

Registration NOW OPEN

AVFX , Inc.
96 Holton Street
Boston, MA 02135 

Countdown to the Main Event – CMP Corner

By Carolyn Browning, CMP, CMM

You’ve spent countless hours planning the meeting – it’s 30 days out what should you be concerned about? If you are a CMP (or are preparing to take the exam), you have a good idea of what needs to be done.  This month’s MPINE program will focus on many areas critical to success in the final days – in this article we’ll look at how a well thought out project plan can help guide you towards event day.

Most meeting planners don’t think of themselves as project managers, but they are. Project Management is one of the lesser areas of focus on the CMP exam (9 questions under the new model).  However it is critical to a meeting or event’s success. Understanding the project scope from the outset helps define the event parameters to keep the event on course throughout the planning. Putting together a project plan will document how a project will be completed, by whom and in what timeframe. There are many tools a meeting professional can use to create a project plan – from a simple (or not so simple) spreadsheet, to a Gantt Chart, a PERT Chart, or a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).  These tools are helpful to show the tasks to be completed, who they are assigned to and associated deadlines. Project plans can help determine tasks that are on the critical path – those things that must begin on time and stay on track to achieve other significant milestones and complete the project (meeting or event) on time.

Regardless of the tool chosen for your project plan, it is a visual representation that will help the team see the big picture – where they are involved, where the key deadlines are and how important it is to stay on task to be successful. A project plan is a planner’s roadmap, much like their contract is. As new people come onto the team, the plan can help to show where in the process things are and what still needs to be done.

Hand in hand with a project plan are KPIs (key performance indicators) that measure the success of critical areas of the event. Measuring success along the way will help the planner & their team stay on track and adjust as necessary. It’s also helpful to have some SOPs (standard operating procedures) and checklists in place so the team performs tasks with consistency. Recreating the wheel isn’t in anyone’s best interest and having SOPs in place makes training new team members that much easier.

This is just a snapshot of some key project management concepts that apply to meeting management. What tools do you use to insure your meeting stays on track and is ready for the main event?

Carolyn is the Founder & Chief Solution Strategist of MEETing Needs, LLC, based in Stamford, CT. Passionate about both meetings and education, she seeks to share her knowledge and experience with others by leading CMP prep classes, speaking to groups, facilitating meetings and retreats, and helping clients design and execute impactful meetings.

She gives back to the industry she loves through MPI and SPIN. Ask her some Disney trivia questions or about her two kids and she can talk for hours!

Ask the Experts - 
How They Prepare for Unexpected Changes
30 Days Before the Main Event 
Meeting Planners, Event Producers and Suppliers invest months even years preparing for an experience and yet what they do in the final weeks can be crucial to success.

To take a deeper dive into this months educational program topic, we asked a few of our seasoned meeting & event professional members, what is top of their "30 days prior" checklist which is critical in preventing last minute changes and/or help to quickly adjust when unexpected situations arise.

“During the final weeks prior to an event, I’m checking and re-checking my event deliverable schedule, touching base with each and every vendor to ensure they have all the details relevant to their role on-site, and creating a detailed day by day of my responsibilities so that once on-site I do not have to think about where or what I’m supposed to be doing.  I go into auto-pilot on the things I can prepare for so that I can focus on addressing the pop-up needs on-site.” -  Nichole Baldwin, CMP, Events Manager, Kronos Incorporated

"Providing the Catering Manager with as much information as possible in advance is imperative to make sure we are all on the same page. Dietary restrictions, hot buttons, temperature preferences, labeling certain foods, program timelines, all need to be provided in advance to ensure we have everything we need to have a stress-free meeting. I also recommend thoroughly reading the event orders and floor plans provided to ensure everything is correct so you can change anything in advance rather than day of." Alexandra Swenson, Catering Manager, The Colonnade Hotel 

"Thirty days out from an event, the top of my checklist for me is actually the event’s planning timeline. This is an ideal point in the planning process to review the timeline with the client and team. At the event's kick-off , the timeline would be built with all significant deadlines and tasks. Hopefully, the document would be continually updated by ll involved. With that, reviewing this document thirty days out allows me to ensure  tasks  are completed or in-process. If I find items on the timeline are delayed or at critical point, I have enough time to facilitate a solution with the necessary parties, preempting a less than ideal scenario onsite." - Marjorie Lane, Meeting & Event Manager, Maritz Travel

"Ground transportation companies who love helping meeting and event planners shine will know the details early e.g. the weather, the city, and the planner and attendees’ preferences, and will get as much of “the little stuff” understood by all stakeholders weeks before it can become “the big headache” because it wasn’t discussed. Does every stakeholder know that trip times can be affected by rain and especially snow? Is the planned event near Kenmore on the same day or night as a Red Sox game or special event at Fenway? Does the planner know your company usually produces chronological trips manifests in .pdf form but you can also present the data in Excel or any way they need? Is the ground supplier permitted to contact the passengers on a logical path towards smooth rides, or not for more important reasons?  What in-vehicle amenities are requested beyond free bottled water at room temperature? How will the professional planner communicate the trips to the passengers and/or their main contact person before and during the event? These are some of the things that can be discussed and taken care of 3-6 weeks before the event, if the meeting planner has that much time, so the ground supplier can devote maximum resources and energy towards staying on top of unexpected situations and inevitable last-minute changes immediately before and during “Game Day.” - Frank Barrett, Account Executive, Addison Lee Group, Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services

Chapter Updates 

“Last Call” for Presenters – 2017 Fall Educational Institute

MPI/NE invites you to submit your ideas and speaker presentations for our 2017 Fall Educational Institute being held November 20th and 21st, at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel.  Our Institute sessions are to be no more than 60 minutes and should be complete learning experiences with specific outcomes and learning objectives.   Find the Call for Presentations Form HERE 

Once completed, please submit the form to
Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received.  The deadline to submit your ideas and speaker presentations is, Wednesday, August 23, 2017, so don’t delay! 

ffiliate Membership is Back

Back by popular demand is the MPI New England Affiliate membership!  If you are a member of another MPI chapter and seek more than just our monthly news, check it out.   The affiliate membership is $85.00 for the year and is available to Preferred or Premier Members of MPI, in good standing with a primary affiliation with another chapter. Affiliate membership includes access to the chapter membership directory, monthly chapter electronic newsletter, other special mailings, and eligibility to participate in all chapter sponsored programs and events at the member rate.  Read More and APPLY 

Upcoming Educational Programs
Mark your calendars for the following dates and stay tuned for more details!

Chapter Members On the Move

Sincere congratulations to our fellow MPINEers who have made recent career moves: 

Ainsley C. Onstott, CMP 
Senior Event Manager 
DPI Events

Richard W. Carroll, CMP 
Director of Sales & Marketing 
Hotel Viking, Newport 

Would you like to contribute a name to next's month's list?  Please e-mail Nancy Lorusso at with the details.

    July Industry Outing Instant Replay

    What say’s summer in Boston more than an evening spent mingling with peers on a rooftop overlooking the city?! 

    Even a deluge rain shower couldn’t dampen the spirits of 140 attendees at the recent MPI New England Summer in the City Annual Summer Industry Outing on July 18th at the Rooftop@Revere at the Revere Hotel.

    A sincere Thank You to our amazing partners that made this event memorable.

    Amazing Celebrations & Events
    David Fox Photography
    Fun Enterprises
    Gateway Productions
    Next Level Promotions 
    Red Sox VR
    Snap Seat Photo Booth
    The Revere Hotel Boston Common 

    Did you miss out on the fun?  You'll feel like you were there by checking out all of the great photos here.

    When You Buy MPI, So Do Our Members!

    To connect with our Advertising Sales Representative on marketing opportunities through MPI New England, click Here
    In the Member Spotlight
    Richard W. Carroll, CMP, D irector of Sales & Marketing
    Hotel Viking, Newport
    & 2017-2018 Immediate Past President
    For those of you that spent time on Cape Cod this summer vacationing and hoping to catch up with Richard Carroll, we have news!  He's left the Cape and is now the Director of Sales & Marketing at the beautiful Hotel Viking in Newport, RI.  We were able to find him and put him in the Spotlight this month.

    Q - How did you first become involved with MPI? 

    A -  I started volunteering on the membership committee, followed by MARCOM. One day, Brian Lavin and Karen King called and asked me to join the Board as Director of Publications. Never once did I think of being President. We know how that worked out.
    Q - Can you share one of your most memorable MPINE stories? 

    A -  It’s recent for sure as it’s the last Fall Institute. I knew we had something and wanted it to be great! The pride I felt when attendees were telling me that the education was amazing, the atmosphere light and approachable and overall energy different than past institutes was just overwhelming. It really showed that we can change and be current. One of the best memories for me.
    Q - Richard, this month's Educational Program is focused on the Countdown to the Keynote and what we can do as Meeting Professionals to be more prepared for last minute changes and quickly adapt.  As a seasoned Director of hotel sales departments, what advice would you give to a Sales Manager at any experience level to ensure he/she is contributing to the success of the event 30 days prior? 

    A -  Stay engaged and expect change. Nobody is planning outside 30 days anymore. Meeting, Conference and Sales Managers are doing more with less and all of our time is more valuable than ever. Sales and Conference planners need to maintain their consultative approach to ensure Planners understand how their individual venues operate so they can anticipate what course of action will be taken in the event of change either prior to or site during the event.  We are all in the same camp, working together and communicating effectively is key now more than ever!