PlanIt Tennessee

President's Message 

First, I would like to start out by saying thank you to everyone who participated in the MPI Membership Satisfaction Survey!  We look forward to seeing your feedback from the results so we can know how to better serve you.  Please know that while the Survey is launched just once a year, you can ALWAYS come to your Board for anything; we are here for you!

So much is happening in our chapter right now - the extended membership drive (thank you, snow/icepocalypse), our rescheduled Connect (thanks again, snow), the beginning of our online Auction at Bidding for Good, and the announcement of our new Board of Directors, just to name a few things.  I would be remiss if I did not mention these happenings, but really all I can think about is how much you all mean to me.  

Recently, we lost a member of our MPI family unexpectedly.  Thirty-eight year old Corey Bizzell was the Vice President of Group Sales and Business Development at Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau and served on the MPI Carolinas Chapter Board of Directors.  I met Corey over four years ago through my job with the NCVC but I really connected with him through our work in MPI.  You may recognize him from the cover of the December 2013 MPI 's The Meeting Professional Magazine.  After hearing of Corey's passing, our Board immediately reached out to the Carolinas' Board.  It was hard enough losing a dear industry friend, but I could not even imagine losing a fellow Board Member or a member of our own chapter.  

Life is so precious, and the friends & connections that we make are so important.  I wanted to take this time to say thank you to my MPI Family - thank you for your friendship, thank you for your well wishes as I have begun this thing called motherhood, and last but not least, thank you for your commitment to our chapter.  Though I may not see all of you all of the time, know that I think of you often (and will sometimes stalk you on Facebook).  We truly ARE family.  

Seize the day, dream big, and live life to the fullest - this time, mean it!


In This Issue
Our Sponsors
Platinum Partners

Gold Partners

The Peabody Memphis


Silver Partners
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
Knoxville Airport Hilton
Knoxville Convention Center
Liberty Party Rental
Park Vista a DoubleTree by Hilton Gatlinburg
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!

MPI:TN Board of Directors 2015 - 2016 Slate
As we continue to grow as a statewide chapter, one of the most critical decisions for our future is the selection of our volunteer leadership serving on the Tennessee Chapter Board of Directors.  The Nominating Committee unanimously submits to our members the following individuals, whom we believe possess the experience, talent and commitment to provide outstanding leadership to our chapter in the 2015 - 2016 year.

As a member, you have the opportunity to contest the slate and offer other individuals for consideration no later than Thursday, March 12, 2015 to Lindsay Buchanan, Executive Director.  If more than 10% of the membership contests the slate, an election will be conducted for all contested positions.

If less than 10% of the membership contests the slate; the proposed slate will be confirmed.  The list of elected chapter officials will be sent to MPI headquarters by Friday, March 13, 2015 and announced in the April issue of MPI:TN newsletter.  All unopposed nominees assume the offices for which they were slated effective July 1, 2015.

The purposed slate is below:
President (2 year commitment)
Adam Spivey, CGMP

President Elect (3 year commitment)
Katie Rogers, CMP

Immediate Past President
Tammy Gilbert Cardona, CMP

Vice President of Membership
Valerie Summers

Vice President of Education
Kristen Richardson

Vice President of Communications
Jamie Hulet

Vice President of Finance
Erika Biddix, CMP, CMM

Vice President of East Region
Angie Campbell

Vice President of West Region
Sophia Boulanger

Director of Communications
Brandon Terpstra

Director of Monthly Meetings
Shannon Yeater

Director of Leadership & Professional Development
Holly Stevenson, CMP

Director of Special Projects
Desiree Wooldridge

Director of Strategic Alliances
Colleen Cussick

Director of Member Care
Susan Raque

Director of Administration
Jessica Pfranger

Your 2015-2016 Nominations Committee

* Melanie Clifford - Committee Chairperson  - Member of Present Leadership

* Adam Spivey, CGMP - President Elect
* Tracy Schenk - Member of Past Leadership
* Holly Stevenson - Member of Present BOD
* Jennye Williams- Member at Present Chairpersons
* Natalie Norris - Member of Past Leadership
* Scott Wright - Member at large (not involved in present leadership
* Kate Shattuck - Member at large (not involved in present leadership
* Julie Woodruff-Hurst - Member at large (not involved in present leadership
Educational Message - Central
CONNECT Education & Marketplace - RESCHEDULED!

Join us on February 18th at the Omni Nashville Hotel for our annual half-day education and networking event.  We have some great education lined up for a total of 3 CEUs to go toward your CMP.  Additionally, we're bringing back our popular speed dating set up for a fun, fast-paced way to connect with potential clients and providers.  Visit our event page to see why you should participate!
The MPI:TN Chapter will be the recipient of donations through books at CONNECT on Thursday, thanks to our keynote speaker Deborah Gardener!  

Deborah is generously donating HALF of all proceeds from all sales from her Naked Negotiating book series.

So bring books for Altrusa, and bring $10 per book to replace them with some of Deborah's.  Great deeds for great organizations!
Missed the January meeting? Below is feedback from some of our members!  
"Loved the venue and the Speaker. Well done!"

"Matt was an amazing speaker! Really enjoyed his presentation.  The location was superb and impressive; the food was fair and an odd choice for the venue."

"One would think 'oh no, another motivational speech,' but Matt's presentation was FABULOUS!! The venue, the food, the content were ALL exceptional this month!"

"Matt Tenney was the best speaker we have ever had and I would rate him a 20 on a scale of 10!"

"Matt Tenney was fantastic. This is something that we strive for at our hotel to serve our guests and not always think about the money or the sale but the relationships."

"This was the best meeting ever. Matt Tenney was excellent, the venue was great, the food was delicious, and we finished on time!"
CMP Study Groups
The next round of Nashville area CMP Study Groups are forming for 2015.

There will be two different types of study sessions offered during the year so you may choose what works best for you. For the Spring session there will be four (4) evening sessions in March and April and for the fall there will be two (2) all day Saturday dates.  Each session will cover the recommended study materials so prior reading with be invaluable to the success of the participants. 
CMP Study Sessions:
Tuesday, March 10                          5:30pm - 7:30pm
  Domain A Strategic Planning
  Domain B Project Management
  Domain C Risk Management
  Domain D Financial Management
Tuesday, March 24                          5:30pm - 7:30pm
  Domain E Human Resources
  Domain F Stakeholder Management
  Domain G Meeting or Event Design
  Domain I Marketing
Tuesday, April 7                               5:30pm - 7:30pm
Domain H  Site Management
  Domain J Professionalism
Tuesday, April 28                             5:30pm - 7:30pm
  Boot Camp Review
CMP Intensive Study:
Saturday, September 19               9:00am - 3:00pm
  Domain A Strategic Planning
  Domain B Project Management
  Domain C Risk Management
  Domain D Financial Management
  Domain E Human Resources
  Domain F Stakeholder Management

Saturday, October 17                     9:00am - 3:00pm
  Domain G Meeting or Event Design
  Domain H Site Management
  Domain I Marketing
  Domain J Professionalism
All sessions will be held at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown.  Exact room locations will be noted on the reader boards at the venue when you arrive.  Thank you Sheraton Nashville Downtown for your support of the CMP Study Sessions!

Hours spent in the Study Groups do count as classroom hours for the CMP application.  If you have not completed your application and are in need of hours to fulfill the new minimum of 25 classroom hours, the Study Groups are a great way to gain hours.
Pre-Registration is required for any/all of the study sessions.  If you are interested in attending please e-mail me back with the date(s) you plan to attend.
Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail Carol Norfleet,
Belmont Meeting & Event Planning Certificate Program
The Belmont Meeting & Event Planning Certificate program Spring session will begin Friday, March 27, and run for five consecutive Fridays until Friday, April 24, with the exception of one Thursday on April 2 due to the Easter holiday.  For more information you can visit Belmont's website at or contact MPI:TN  Director of Leadership and Professional Development, Jessica Pfranger at
Planner and Supplier of the Year Awards!
Can you think of a MPI:TN Member who has consistently contributed time and experience to Tennessee's meeting industry?

Someone who is: Committed, Involved, Volunteers, Has Creative Ideas, Improves our Industry or Inspires us!!

Nominations are currently being received from the MPI:TN Chapter Membership for the Planner and the Supplier of the Year - to be presented at the MPI:TN Gala, May 7th.

Please send your nominations to: Susan Raque at before March 13!!
Your mission has been extended....Membership Drive ends March 31, 2015!
Your mission: Recruit as many people as you can to become new members of MPI:TN before March 31, 2015.  If you are successful at your mission, this message will not self-destruct, but will provide the winning agent with a Go Pro3 Camera. 

Go Pro or go home!

This mission made possible by:

Cort Furniture Rental
Destination Musick City
Classic Party Rentals
Neste Event Marketing
Community Service
Central Region Altrusa

Central is collecting books to donate to Altrusa International.  Altrusa's mission is to provide books to various populations in order to promote literacy and the enjoyment of reading.  Books of all reading levels are welcome.  Please bring gently used books to the March CONNECT event, Thursday, March 12.
East Region

Congratulations, East, on raising $100.00 for Second Harvest Food Bank at your February event.  This month East Region will be doing a cash drive for Relay for Life.
West Region

West will collect donations for Dress for Success.  Make a donation that will forever change the future of a deserving woman in need.  Please bring gently used business clothing to the West Region meeting on Tuesday, March 10.
Upcoming Community Service Projects

The Central Region's second quarter community service project will benefit Dress for Success.  Please bring gently used business clothing to any of the meetings in April, May and/or June.
MPI:TN Awards Gala and Auction
When: Thursday, May 7, 2015, 5:30 pm - 11:00pm
Where: The Hutton Hotel, Vista Ballroom, 1808 West End Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee 37203

Join us for a fun night beginning with our Auction.  Enjoy cocktails while bidding on your favorite items.  Go to to start now.  You will be able to bid and get text alerts on your phones.  

After the auction we head to dinner where we will find out who wins our Circle of Excellence Awards.  Who will win the coveted Planner and Supplier of the Year?  Be prepared for a couple of amazing LIVE auction items, raffles and the installation of the 2015-2016 Board of Directors.  Then celebrate by dancing the night away! 
Donations for the auction are currently being accepted. To donate please click on the link below to download the form. auction will go live in mid-February. 

Know Your Board  - Colleen Cussick      
  • Board Position: Director of Strategic Alliances
  • Have you held other positions on the MPI:TN Board? Yes - Director of Member Care
  • Why did you decide to become a part of the MPI:TN Board? I drank the Kool-Aid!! LOL! Actually, I was persuaded to replace a departing Board Member mid-term. I served out the term, took a year off, and then drank MORE Kool-Aid!
  • What is the benefit of being on the Board? The relationships I have built have been the most meaningful to me, as well as the insights to the industry and the help I get from my fellow FAMILY members! I enjoy taking on the various responsibilities to engage our members and sponsors!
  • What is your paying gig?  Sales & Marketing for Brantley: Live Event Production
  • How long have you been in this position? Been w/Brantley 12 years!
  • How long in the industry? MANY DECADES
  • Why did you get into the meeting and event industry? I have been involved in live event production since college and Brantley provided components for so many events, but we weren't proactive about marketing ourselves to the industry.
  • What do you enjoy the most and least about the industry? The most: the people I get to work with on a regular basis. The least: The chaotic nature of it at times.
  • What is your favorite meeting or event you have held?  Why? My fave event was actually a huge concert for Fort Campbell's Screaming Eagles Week when they first came back en masse from Iraq. 70,000 people showed up for it, and I was pinned by the 4-star General for all of my hard work helping to put it together! I asked him if that meant we were going steady, which apparently cracked him up, but his protocol people were about to have a heart attack that I was so casual with him - LOL!.
  • What advice would you give someone entering the industry? Don't be afraid to be yourself. I am NOT part of ANY mold, but my love of people and my approach is real, and that is what I have been told is appreciated!and help them have realistic expectations. Communication!
  • Tell us something about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc. I teach aquatic fitness at the Downtown Y, and our gym is the ONLY one in the state to have the hydroriders - SPIN CLASS IN THE POOL! I had an article about it published in a magazine and have trained other water instructors how to teach the classes in other states!
  • If you weren't in the meeting and event industry what would you be doing? I think I would be getting more certifications to teach more fitness classes, become a Master Trainer in Hydrorider and travel the world! Ahhhh.... Maybe someday...
Congratulations to MPI:TN's newest CMPs, Beth McDaniels and Micki Stayton! Way to go, Ladies!!! 

Beth McDaniels, CMP
Micki Stayton, CMP
Congratulations to Heather Willis on her Promotion! 
Congratulations to Heather Willis on her recent promotion to Senior Coordinator, Employee Development and Event Planning at Journeys.