PlanIt Tennessee
President's Message  
Hey MPI TN Family,
What an amazing year it has been! Great events in all three of our regions including CONNECT, GMID and the incredible Gala. We wrapped up the year with a killer luncheon at the Grand Ole Opry where our chapter set a record in attendance for an educational luncheon! Steve, Colleen and Jill, thank you for sharing your stories, talent and wisdom.

In June, our chapter represented at WEC, and everyone knew that the best chapter was in the house. Come on, we won 2 RISE Awards! What?? Yes, I am including the fabulous Carol Norfleet in this since she is a Past President, and we are very fortunate she is part of our chapter! Thank you so much for being a member and being an engaged one.

You have heard me say it many times, but we truly are the best chapter, and it is all because of you - our members. Our community here in TN is unlike any other in MPI. I want to send a huge shout-out to everyone that has volunteered this year, I think our number is at 107 peeps if not higher by now!

To the 2015-2016 Board of Directors, you all are an amazing group of people, and I am so honored to have served with you this past year. Thank you for sharing your time, energy, talent, wisdom, and passion!

While this year is over, I am looking forward to this coming year and all that it holds.I know it will be another fantastic one! We have a great luncheon planned in the Central Region on July 20. This is also our Volunteer Fair where you can check out all of the committees and volunteer opportunities available for our members to get engaged.  Please come out!

See you all soon!
In This Issue
Our Sponsors
Platinum Partners


Gold Partners 
The Peabody Memphis
Do you want to become an MPI Tennessee Chapter sponsor and partner with the state's largest and most vibrant community of meeting and event professionals?

For more information, contact Jill Kopecky, Director of Strategic Alliances for MPI:TN!

Looking to make a job change or know someone is?  Check out the positions available at
Upcoming meetings and events....
Central Region
What's Your Competitive Edge?
The 3 Step System to Building a Personal Brand That Creates Career Stability
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Gaylord Springs Golf Links
18 Springhouse Lane, Nashville, TN 37214

Do you want to learn how to promote yourself internally and externally? Would you like to land more professional opportunities?  
Speaker Judi Holler, entrepreneur and current President of MPI Chicago Area, will share her expertise on why your personal brand is critical to success, growth and freedom.  

Volunteer Fair 
Without the effort of our committees and volunteers, our success would not be possible. If you are not yet on a committee and would like to learn more, we encourage you to attend the annual volunteer fair which will be held during the networking time at July's educational luncheon (11 a.m.-11:45 a.m.) This is a great opportunity for members to learn about the committees and volunteer opportunities available in our chapter.

Can't make it? Contact Kimberly Bean, your new Director of Leadership & Professional Development, to find out how you can get involved. 
Central Region
Nashville Sounds Family MIX Night 
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
First Tennessee Park - The Sounds Stadium
19 Junior Gilliam Way
Nashville, Tennessee 37219

Batter up! Looking to expand your professional network while enjoying family time? Join MPI Tennessee at the Nashville Sounds game on Tuesday, July 26 at The Band Box inside First Tennessee Park. 

There will be yard games, food and more! Registration includes ticket, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and one drink ticket followed by a cash bar.
The fun starts at 5 p.m. and the first pitch is thrown out at 7 p.m.

RISE Awards 

The MPI's Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence (RISE) Awards are prestigious awards presented yearly that recognize and honor individual, community and organizational achievements for their innovation, global transferability, impact and influence. The 2016 RISE recipients were recognized at the RISE Awards presentation and luncheon during MPI's 2016 World Education Congress in Atlantic City.
See this year's winners.

Member of the Year
Carol Norfleet, MBA, CMP, DMCP
This award is given to an exceptional MPI member who through volunteer efforts has made outstanding grassroots contributions and demonstrated unparalleled commitment to the advancement of a chapter, club, community, or region.

Educational Programming Award
Past President's Road Trip
This award recognizes an MPI chapter, club, or student club for achievement in advancing the educational and professional development of its members through innovative programming.

Congratulations to Carol and to the Past Presidents, sponsors, and committee who conceptualized and produced this award winning program!
MPI:TN 2016-2017 Board of Directors  
The MPI Tennessee Chapter has selected the following individuals, whom we believe to have the skills, dedication and integrity to provide outstanding leadership to our chapter during their term of office.  To learn more, visit

President - Adam Spivey, Hutton Hotel

President Elect - Katie Rogers, CMP, Change Healthcare

Immediate Past President - Tammy Gilbert-Cardona, CMP, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation

VP, Communications - DesireƩ Wooldridge, CMP, Cat Financial

VP, Education - Shannon Yeater, Butler Snow LLP

VP, Finance - Jamie Hulet, Grand Ole Opry Entertainment Group

VP, East Region - Erika Biddix, CMP, CMM, Biddix Meetings and Events

VP, Membership - Valerie Summers, Gary Musick Productions

VP, West Region - Antwone Stigall, CMP, DES, West Wing Events

Director of Administration - Jessica Pfranger, Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Director of Communications - Chelsea Williams, Imagination Branding

Director of Leadership and Professional Development - Kimberly Bean, KBT Creative Support Services

Director of Member Care - Susan Raque, Destination Musick City

Director of Monthly Meetings - Cory Brooks, Maple Ridge Events

Director of Special Projects - Lauren D Stout, Gaylord Springs Golf Links

Director of Strategic Alliances - Jill Kopecky, EntertainmentBuy

Executive Director - Lindsay Buchanan, CMP, Travelink, American Express Travel

Chapter Business Manager - Holly L. Dotson, CMP, Meeting Professionals International 
We have a new addition to our MPI Tennessee family! Katie Rogers, our President Elect, welcomed a baby girl into the world. Emily Katherine was born on July 7 at 4:49 a.m. Everyone is doing great. Congratulations, Katie and family!
Membership Upgrade for New Members - Join by July 31   

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) recently announced it has restructured its membership model to offer three different levels for both planners and suppliers. For a limited time, MPI is offering new members the opportunity to receive a complimentary membership upgrade. New members can become a Premier Member for the price of a Preferred Membership or a Preferred Member for the price of an Essential Membership. This special promotion is valid for new members that join MPI between June 12 through July 31, 2016, and may be redeemed by completing the following steps: (1) fill out the online application at; (2) select the desired membership upgrade level; and (3) enter the promotional code NewMPI16.
New Member Spotlight
Name:  Brook Jones 

Current Employer and Position:  BPI (Building Plastics, Inc.); Executive Assistant

How long have you been in this position?   3 Years

How long in the industry?  3 Years

Why did you join MPI:TN?
I would like to network with other professionals that do what I do and know the tricks of the trade.

What do you hope to get from your MPI:TN membership?
I hope to gain valuable insight and time saving techniques that will help me get the most out of planning an event.

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with?  Why?
I really enjoy planning incentive trips.  It's fun for me and for our guests.

What would you like the chapter to know about you?
I love to travel, scuba and quilt!
Tennessee Proud  
By: Jill Kopecky

American comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick once said, "For hard resets, conventions and conferences can be inspiring," and that is what WEC 2016 in Atlantic City was for me, and here's the story of my WEC journey.

Being newly elected to the MPI: TN board is a tremendous honor, but it can also be very intimidating. As Director of Strategic Alliances I am tasked with finding partnerships for our association so that we can grow and support meeting professionals throughout Tennessee, and trying to follow in Colleen Cussick's footsteps makes it even more difficult. However, thanks to MPI: TN I was able to attend my first WEC and the knowledge I gained and the networking opportunities I had are priceless.

As a board member I attended the Chapter Leadership Forum on Saturday night and Sunday, and it was during those breakout sessions and roundtable discussions that I was able to find out new and innovative ways to try to raise money for our chapter.

Other chapter leaders were willing to share in their successes and give advice because they truly understood what my role on the board meant, and every single person in that room wanted you to succeed because it was for the good of the chapter and MPI as a whole.

In addition to the Chapter Leadership Forum I learned how fortunate I am to belong to the Tennessee Chapter. We were Tennessee strong, from our large numbers of attendees to the RISE awards won by the Chapter and Carol Norfleet. Everyone at WEC said the same thing, "Oh, you're with the FUN chapter," or "Way to go Tennessee! Congratulations on your awards!" and even, "You have all the great guys hanging with you!" (Thank you Adam, Antwone, and Brandon).

Having the scholarship to WEC meant that I was able to gather ideas to help me be the best Director of Strategic Alliances I can be, and it gave me the opportunity to network with other incredible meeting professionals from around the world. Finally, it gave me the chance to represent the Tennessee Chapter with the greatest group of people and tell everyone, "Bless Your Heart - we are Tennessee and we love it!"
Tips and Tricks

After the June Central Education Luncheon, did you wonder how your knowledge skills match up when it comes to dealing with AV, staging, lighting, and working with presenters?

Take the Event Leadership Institute's Technical Meeting & Event Production Skills Quiz. Find out if you are a technical production Rock Star!