PlanIt Tennessee
December 2013


In This Issue
Event Calendar
MPI:TN Facebook
CMP Program
Advertisers' Index
We Need Member News
Social Media Links!
President's Message
Thank You to Our Sponsors!
Professional Education and Member Support
Member News

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, January 14 - West Educational Luncheon  

Please join us for a Planner Forum n the West.  Listen to our panel of industry experts wrap up this past year's experiences and share with you their professional opinions on current trends and capturing business in 2014 and beyond. This is a great opportunity to network with your peers and understand more about what makes a meeting exceptional.
Click here for more information and to register for the event.

Wednesday, January 29 - Central Educational Educational Luncheon

Please join us at the Hutton Hotel for a fantastic presentation by Rick Weaver, "Is There a Difference Between a Great Manager and a Great Leader?"

Click here for more information and to register. 

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Stay up-to-date on what's happening!


  Grand Ave logo - 2011   

Anchor Tours
Big Events Inc.
BSA/Brantley Sound Associates, Inc.
Clayton Center for the Arts/Maryville College 
Country Music Hall of Fame´┐Ż and Museum
Drury Plaza Franklin
Embassy Suites Nashville South/Cool Springs
Gary Musick Productions
Graceful Tables
Hard Rock Cafe/Gatlinburg
Hard Rock Cafe/Memphis
Hard Rock Cafe/Nashville
Hilton Nashville Downtown
Hutton Hotel
Liberty Party Rental 
NetConnect Group
PSAV Presentation Services 
   RiverStone Resort & Spa
 Schenk Photography
Union Station Hotel 
United Airlines    
Do you want to become a MPI:TN sponsor
and partner with the state's largest and most vibrant community of meeting and event professionals!   

For more information contact
Scott WrightDirector of Strategic Alliances for MPI:TN.

MPI:TN FaceBook!

If you're not keeping up with MPI:TN on Facebook, 
become a Fan today!

Find us on Facebook

Future CMPs


Interested in the CMP process? Visit the MPI:TN website, or contact one of the regional representatives below.


MEMPHISCindy Brewer, CMP


NASHVILLE - Carol Norfleet, CMP

Donna Thomas, CMP

Advertiser's Index

 Check out MPI:TN's new Advertisers' Index at

MPI:TN Website -- Marketplace Page -- Advertiser's Index



Once you see it, you'll want to be seen and found there! Low-cost, high-value marketing opportunity for year-round visibility on the MPI:TN web site!


For more information, email:

Scott Wright at

Member News (2)

Do YOU have Member News to share?

If so, please email it to and put "Member News" in the Subject Line. 

We can't promise to run everything, but we'll do our best! 


Connect with MPI TN Today!

Your Tennessee Chapter of  MPI is loaded with Social Media Opportunities.... so if you have not  "Liked Us"... Facebook,  "Linked with Us"...Linked In, "Pinned Us"....Pinterest or "Tweated with Us" .... Twitter

Please use the links below to Follow us TODAY!



Melanie Clifford President Banner Header

Melanie Clifford


As I sit here looking out my office window at the beautiful mountains, I am reminded of the first time I came to Tennessee.  It was during the holidays in a blizzard, it was magical.  It was after midnight when we arrived and the streets were covered in snow.  There were millions upon millions of lights.  I knew at that moment I would make Tennessee my home. 

It is hard to believe it is again the holidays (funny how most of us say that every year).  The festivities of Christmas and Hanukkah are upon us. And soon the New Year will be roaring in.  Make this year special by spending time with your friends and family.  You might try creating a new tradition, or spend a few moments sending a card to someone that you have not seen in a while.  Surprise someone. 

We hope that you enjoy our Holiday E-Card as we look back on the past year.  It has been an amazing 2013. Thank you for being a member of MPI and thank you for making our Tennessee Chapter your MPI home. 

On behalf of your Board of Director's, from our house to yours......Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays!!!

It is a pleasure to be your President for the 2013-2014 year.

Melanie Clifford 



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"The RISE Awards-Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence-features seven annual awards in three categories: organizational achievement, individual achievement and community achievement. Recipients are recognized for innovation, global transferability, impact and influence. Individual winners join the MPI Community of Honorees, a group composed of past award winners and distinguished MPI leaders.  Visit the MPI RISE Awards website to nominate a deserving leader today!"


The 7th Annual Mind Your Meetings on November 19th at the Memphis Marriott East was a half day event consisting of a workshop and networking.  Meeting planners in attendance received the latest in tech advances, and meeting trends.  The General Session kicked off with a Technology Panel then followed with  Breakout rotations on topics ranging from exciting local venues to tips with contracting with suppliers and understanding the ins and outs to obtaining your CMP.

The Speaker Showcase was comprised of three excellent speakers that left you wanting more with Kimberly Medlock, Bridget DiCello, and Andrew Geiseselman.  The Topics were on subjects of "How to De-Clutter Outlook" to "Navigating Difficult Conversations" to "Building Trust".   The Latest Meeting Trends presented by Leo Events was very interesting and helpful to keep us on top of our game.  

The Memphis Marriott East was a great host for this event and we look forward to another successful Mind Your Meetings next year.


Three Meeting Professional International Membership Scholarships To Be Awarded Monthly

Disney Destinations, in support of the MPI Foundation, has made it possible for MPI to sponsor memberships for a select number of meeting professionals. Through its generous donation to the Foundation, Disney Destinations is committed to elevating the stature and successful future of the meetings industry.

Award recipients will gain full membership privileges to MPI, as well as the opportunity to join their local chapters. They will have access to national events and local chapter monthly meetings, leadership and committee involvement, industry tools, and peer-to-peer networking with professional colleagues who share similar challenges.

This one year sponsorship through Disney Destinations will open doors and experiences that will undoubtedly enrich meetings professionals' careers and help recipients deliver strategic value and quantifiable impact to their organizations. To apply for the Disney Destinations scholarship, you must be a meetings professional joining MPI for the first time. Applications are available now and can be found on the MPI website by clicking here.  


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Are you an industry leader looking for an opportunity to showcase your skills and contribute to the success of MPI:TN?

If so, consider volunteering your time and talent to the 2014/2015 MPI:TN Board of Directors!

The MPI:TN Board of Directors is responsible for chapter operations including programming, financial oversight and governance. By volunteering your time, you will help shape the future of our industry across the state!

Please note the following dates:

November 14 - December 20, 2013

Call for Nominations (required of all candidates)

December 20, 2013

Board Interest Form Due to Caroline Platz, IPP at


Interest Form (PDF)

Interest Form (Word)

Job Descriptions (PDF)

Job Descriptions (Word)


January 11, 2014

Application Deadline

BOD Application Form (PDF)

BOD Application Form (Word)


March 1, 2014

2014 - 2015 Board Slate Submitted to Membership


March 30, 2014

Final Slate Submitted to MPI Headquarters


Nominations will be conducted in accordance with the Meeting Professionals International Tennessee Chapter Bylaws. Any planner or supplier member in good standing is eligible. Your consideration should include the types of skills and talents you can contribute, your past involvement with the chapter, recognition of the time commitment involved in a leadership role and the necessity of your employer's support.


Please contact any member of the Nomination & Governance Committee with questions.  


* Immediate Past PresidentCaroline Platz - S
* Pesident Elect: Ex-Officio Member (no vote) Tammy Gilbert Cardona, CMP - S
* Member of Past LeadershipSheena De Giorgio - S
* Member of Present BoardValerie Summers - S
* Member of Present ChairpersonsKaren Eggert - P
* Member at Large (not involved in leadership)Heather Willis - P
* Member at LargeVicki Esponge - P
* Member at LargeAaron Mayo - S



(S)= Supplier

(P)= Planner


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Save the Date! Connect Education & Tradeshow Event ~ April 16, 2013

Lunch Presentation Topic - "Planners are from Saturn, Suppliers are from Venus: Interpreting the Strange Languages and Habits of Two Alien Species" Presented by Shawna Suckow, CMP, Founder of the Senior Planners Industry Network (SPIN)

Planners and suppliers often think they speak the same language, but three years of research has proven quite the opposite to Shawna Suckow, CMP, author of the book Planner Pet Peeves and the follow-up book, Supplier Pet Peeves (published in 2013). Planners are people-pleasers by nature, and may not always be forthcoming if relationships can be damaged. Suppliers want to put their best products and services forward, but they most often are left to guess at what the market really wants and expects from them. Then there's the trend of planners not answering the phone, not responding to emails, and generally making it harder for suppliers to build relationships. Join Shawna as she pulls back the curtain and shares what each side is doing-and how it is interpreted by the other-in a funny but impactful look at how we all can do better and drive each other a little less crazy.

We want your input! Help us determine the session topics for the morning education. Click here to take the survey

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Check out photos of some of the recent MPI:TN events at our Facebook page by clicking here!






Members Celebrating September MPI Anniversaries:


21 years

Scott Wright, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation

12 years

T. Clark Miller, Music Valley Event Center 
11 years 

Joanna Darnell, The Westin Memphis Beale Hotel

9 years 

Stephanie Bixby, Freeman 
6 years

Kara Brooks, Incredible Events

5 years

Eric Miller, FedEx

Tammy McLemore, Medtronic Spinal and Biologics Business

3 years 
Elizabeth Wasternack, Parthenon Management Group 
2 years  
Colleen Cussick, Brantley:  Full Production Services 
Debbie Garcia
Jacqueline Marko, Destination Nashville 
1 year
Jennifer Trsinar, Destination Nashville 

New Members
Heather Brett, Premiere Speakers Bureau
Angela Campbell, Holiday Inn
Pearl Dorsey, Visit Knoxville
Mary Koonce, Tunica Convention and Visitor's Bureau
Candace Mash, Millennium Maxwell House Hotel
Erica Rains, The Chef and I