PlanIt Tennessee

Message from the President

Tammy and her husband, Cesar, welcomed their first child, Alejandra Cardona. Baby Alejandra just couldn't wait to meet her MPI:TN family and joined us a month early! She was born November 8 at 4:40 pm weighing in at a healthy 5 pounds 8.5 ounces and 17 inches long. Congratulations Tammy and Cesar!

In This Issue
Our Sponsors
Platinum Partners

Gold Partners

The Peabody Memphis


Silver Partners
BB King's Blues Club Nashville
Chef's Market
Country Music Hall of Fame � and Museum
DG International
Drury Plaza Franklin
Embassy Suites Nashville South/Cool Springs
Gary Musick Production
Geo Teaming - John Chen
Hard Rock Caf�/Nashville
Hilton Memphis
Hilton Nashville Downtown
Holiday Inn/Fogelman Executive Conference Center
Hutton Hotel
Kix Brooks
Knoxville Airport Hilton
Knoxville Convention Center
Liberty Party Rental
Musicians Hall of Fame
Park Vista a DoubleTree by Hilton Gatlinburg
Rock Bottom Brewery
Ruth's Chris Memphis
SpringHill Suites Memphis
Schenk Photography
The Cannery
Union Station Hotel

Do you want to become an MPI:TN sponsor and partner with the state's largest and most vibrant community of meeting and event professionals?

For more information, contact Colleen Cussick, Director of Strategic Alliances for MPI:TN!

Educational Message - Central

In November, we learned how to handle a crisis situation that could potentially happen during our meetings or at our venues.  If you were unable to attend, here are the handouts that the speakers from Second Act Strategies gave out during their presentation.


12 Steps to Prevent & Prepare for a Crisis 


12 Step Program to Win on the Media Battlefield 


12 Step Program to Survive Crisis  

Mark Your Calendars for our January Meetings


West Educational Lunch: Planner Forum

January 20, 2015

Sheraton Memphis Downtown


Central Educational Lunch: Serve to Be Great: How Being Selfless Will Help You Sell the Roof Off

January 21, 2015

Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Getting your CMP in 2015?
Is getting your CMP on your New Year's Resolution list? If so, registering for the exam will be much easier starting January 1, 2015.

The Convention Industry Council (CIC) has announced their new CMP and CMP-HC online application and submission process. With this new application process, those applying to sit for the CMP or CMP-HC will no longer be tied to specific application, registration or scheduling deadlines. Education activities and employment experience will be tracked as they are accumulated and once the prerequisites are met, the application can be submitted for approval!   

Learn more at
Leadership Academy

We had 14 future leaders attend MPI:TN Leadership Academy which was led by past presidents Robyn Bass and Angela Layton and orchestrated by Jessica Pfranger current Director of Professional Development. The academy was held and completely sponsored by the Sheraton Nashville Downtown. All regions were represented at the academy with two from the West region, one from the East as well as one new member from Huntsville, Alabama.

Join us for our Annual MPI:TN Central Holiday Party!
It's sure to be a fun, festive night!! You'll have the opportunity to make your friends sing during our interactive fundraiser, auctionable karaoke.

Wednesday, December 10
 5:30p.m. -8:30 p.m.
Johnny Cash Museum
3rd Avenue - Downtown Nashville
Do you know someone who should become a member of MPI:TN?

Do you know someone who should become a member of MPI:TN? 

We have a special offer via LinkedIn! Join MPI and our chapter using this code "MPILinkedIn2014" and receive a $50 discount. 

Please refer potential new member to the MPI website for more information.

Recognize Your Peers:  Submit Nominations for MPI RISE Awards
MPI is accepting nominations for the annual RISE Awards program. This is your opportunity to Recognize Industry Success and Excellence by submitting a nomination for the individual, community and organizational categories.

The RISE Awards are peer-nominated, giving power to those in the industry to nominate leaders in their community for their achievements. The award program recognizes exceptional performance and best practices within the meetings and events industry. The awards have an emphasis on transformational change, innovation, global transferability and industry impact and influence. 

The category breakdown is listed below.
  • Young Professional Achievement
  • Meeting Industry Leadership
  • Member of the Year
  • Community Achievement in Knowledge and Ideas
  • Community Achievement in Marketplace Excellence
  • Community-Emerging Excellence
  • Organizational Achievement
Nominations due December 12, 2014 by 5pm CST.

RISE Awards will be presented at WEC 2015 in San Francisco!
Member Spotlight - Charlotte Coffer
  Scripps Networks Interactive, Event Marketing Manager    
  • How long have you been in this position? 15 years 
  • How long in the industry? 15 years
  • Have you been on the MPI:TN Board of Directors?  No
  • If yes, which position(s)? N/A
  • Why did you get into the meeting and event industry? I'm very detailed oriented, work with people and enjoy planning meetings and events. 
  • What do you enjoy the most and least about the industry? Learning about various venues and hotels.  What I like the least is the amount of money charged for various products or services through hotels and convention centers.
  • What is your favorite meeting or event you have held?  Why? I think it was the HGTV 10th Anniversary in 2014.  It was over the top with beautiful d�cor & lighting, exceptional food, a band and DJ.  I think everyone and their guest had a blast.  . 
  • Where is your favorite meeting or event location?  Why? I plan events all over, but honestly have to say I enjoy working with the staff at The Knoxville Convention Center.  The staff is awesome.  In addition to being friendly, they're flexible and do their best to accommodate our needs.  And the food is always great...seasonal, fresh and unique serving ideas.
  • What advice would you give someone entering the industry? To stay abreast of future technology and industry news.  If you're learning about current information, you're already behind.  Always think forward!
  • Tell us something about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc. Not much time for hobbies, but I love to travel, enjoy listening to music and love to shop.  Nothing like a little retail therapy!
  • If you weren't in the meeting and event industry what would you be doing? Not really sure.  I'm good at what I do, but it's very demanding of my time. Probably something totally different from event planning that didn't require early mornings or late nights.  But I do love to travel, so something that included that would be great.
Know Your Board  - Kristen Richardson    
  • Board Position: Director of Communications
  • Have you held other positions on the MPI:TN Board? No
  • Why did you decide to become a part of the MPI:TN Board? After attending my first WEC in 2013, I got to know most of the board members really well and shared in their excitement for MPI and our chapter. I had recently served on the Communications Committee and oversaw gathering articles and compiling the monthly newsletter. Well that just wasn't enough; I was eager to take on more and get more involved which is why I joined as the Director of Communications! Have you liked our Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter pages? 
  • What is the benefit of being on the Board? The benefit for me is getting to know more about the industry, building my career foundation and having a voice in what is happening right here in our chapter.
  • What is your paying gig?  Corporate Event Planner for Emdeon
  • How long have you been in this position? 5 years
  • How long in the industry? 8 � years
  • Why did you get into the meeting and event industry? I graduated wanting to pursue a career in sports marketing so it's one of those "I fell into it" stories.  I was the child that couldn't wait for back to school, not because I got to see friends again or loved school but because I was excited to get my school planner. I always bought two because if the first one got messy or bent I would rewrite everything into my new one - and of course everything was color coded. My obsession with check boxes and bullet points came at an early age.
  • What do you enjoy the most and least about the industry? What I enjoy the most is the ability to be creative. From the d�cor, to entertainment, to themes, to the food. I Iove the details and tying everything together! The best feeling to me comes at the end of the first day of an event when everything off and underway, your attendees are having a good time - and I can finally start to relax and have a glass of wine!
  • What is your favorite meeting or event you have held?  Why? That is a really tough one! I'm lucky to work on a team that has the opportunity to plan really cool events from helicopter tours and dinner in the Grand Canyon to taking customers to cirque shows in Vegas and teaching a flash mob to our sales team. But my absolute favorite was our IT/Ops Incentive Trip to WaterColor Inn & Resort in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Each trip winner was allowed to bring their spouse and family for five days and four nights to the beach. I handmade tea stained pirate treasure maps and dressed up the kids for a scavenger hunt that led to buried treasure on the beach, took everyone on kayaks and paddleboards on the lake complete with an ice cream truck as they returned to the dock, judged sandcastle and volleyball competitions on the beach, planned an adult scavenger hunt around the resort and Seaside, had two banquets, welcome and closing parties, worked with their staff for a kids camp during each banquet with tie dye shirts and let them create their own seashell jewelry... after the trip a photobook was made and sent to each family to remember their trip to the beach!
  • What advice would you give someone entering the industry? No idea is a dumb idea!
  • Tell us something about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc. I got my diving certification last year and was lucky enough to be able to sneak in a dive on the backend of one of my events in Aruba. I have a rescue Doberman Pinscher named Pailan (no not like Sarah).
  • If you weren't in the meeting and event industry what would you be doing? I would love to be a grade school art teacher, a sideline sports reporter or a food stylist for Paula Deen!
2015-2016 Board Nominations   
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 2015-2016 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 1 - December 12, 2014 
Call for Nominations (required of all candidates) 
December 12, 2014 
Board Interest for Due to Melanie Clifford, Immediate Past President -
January 10, 2015 
Application Deadline 
March 1, 2015 
2015-2016 Board Slate Submitted to Membership 
March 30, 2015 
Final Slate Submitted to MPI Headquarters

Nominations will be conducted in accordance with the Meeting Professionals International Tennessee Chapter By-Laws.  Any planner or supplier 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 Melanie Clifford (865) 453-4514 ext. 610 or with any questions.

The Nominations Committee:
  • Immediate Past President - Melanie Clifford (S)
  • President Elect: Ex-Officio Member - Adam Spivey (S)
  • Member of Past Leadership - Tracey Schenk (S)
  • Member of Present Board - Holly Stevenson (P)
  • Member of Present Chairpersons - Jennye Williams (S)
  • Member at Large (not involved in leadership) - Natalie Norris (P)
  • Member at Large - Kate Shattuck (P)
  • Member at Large - Julie Woodruff-Hurst (S)


MPI:TN Board Form (PDF) (Word)

MPI:TN Board of Directors Job Description (PDF) (Word)

MPI:TN Application (PDF) (Word

Brand Recognition  
As we quickly approach 2015, it is the perfect time to start the New Year as a Strategic Alliance Partner to MPI:TN!

Get your brand out to the three regions of our state, and be invested in 2015!

Contact Colleen at for assistance.

Happy Holidays from YOUR MPI:TN Strategic Alliance committee! 
Tips & Tricks 
The holidays are upon us and it is time to start shopping....if you haven't already. Kiplinger Magazine has pulled together a list of sites you may find helpful while cyber shopping.

Check out the article
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