PlanIt Tennessee
President's Message  
Hey MPI Tennessee Peeps!

What's up, May!  April was another great month for our chapter.  GMID was a huge success and thanks for everyone involved with the planning especially Shannon Yeater and Mindy Powell Hardy!  Thank you to all of you for coming out and celebrating the success of our hospitality industry in our great state!  This month is very big month for us as we have the Circle of Excellence Awards Gala and Auction on May 24th at the Doubletree Nashville Downtown.  Congrats to all the award nominees!  You should be honored to be a part of this elite group as you were nominated by your peers.  I can't wait to find out who the winners will be as I open the envelope.  That is correct, I have no clue who the winners are so we will find out together that night.  Please come and celebrate our chapter achievements  with your friends and peers!  Feel free to bring a guest...or two or three.  Also,  don't forget to bid on all of our great items we have on  Remember this is our chapter's biggest fundraiser and all of the money goes back to you our members.  We use these funds to provide quality education as well as numerous scholarships.  Hope to see you all there as it will be a party you won't want to miss!

In This Issue
Our Sponsors
Platinum Partners


Gold Partners 

The Peabody Memphis
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!

Looking to make a job change or know someone is?  Check out the positions available at
MPI Launches Chapter Rebranding 
Over the next two months you will see a change in the look for the MPI Tennessee chapter brand.  MPI Global has launched a rebranding campaign for all chapters that will be completed by July 1.  The rebranding includes a new logo, website URL, social media handles and how the chapter name is listed. The board's goal is to make this as transparent as possible.  For instance, the chapter website URL has already been changed to and thanks to the help of Travelink, our chapter administrator, any time you type in the old address,, you will automatically be directed to the new site.  You will also note MPI:TN will no longer be used when referring to our chapter.  Tennessee will be spelled out going forward, MPI Tennessee.  As the transition continues any changes that affect the way you connect with our chapter will be communicated to you via social media.  If you have any questions about this process, or would like to help, please contact me at

MPI Tennessee ROCKS!
Jamie Hulet
VP, Communications

Circle of Excellence Awards Gala & Auction  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Nashville Downtown
Networking and Auction 5:30 PM
Nominees Reception 5:30 PM
Dinner and Awards 7:00 PM
After Party 8:30 PM

LADIES - Want to channel your inner Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn?
GENTS - Want to invoke the style of James Dean or Frank Sinatra?

You're in luck because this year's 2016 Circle of Excellence Awards Gala and Auction theme is "Old Hollywood."  Dress to the nines and be ready to walk the red carpet!  Mr. Dean Martin himself (aka Chris Hodge) will be our host for the dinner and awards ceremony.

Still need to purchase your tickets? Click the link below. You DON'T want to miss this!
2015-2016 Circle of Excellence Awards Nominees
Congratulations to everyone nominated for a Circle of Excellence Award.  You are a big part of the success of MPI Tennessee.  Without your hard work and dedication as a volunteer our chapter would not be as successful.   Join us May 24 to find our who will be the 2015-2016 Circle of Excellence Award winners
Rising Star - This award recognizes a chapter member for their enthusiastic contributions to the chapter, involvement in a committee and demonstrated leadership ability during their first three years of membership in MPI and MPI Tennessee Chapter.

Chelsea Williams - Imagination Branding
Dannah Scott - Sheraton Memphis Downtown
Deb Kosmicki - Grand Avenue
Jill Kopecky - Neste Event Marketing
Tiffani Wilson - Marriott International
Chapter Leader of the Year - Nominees for Chapter Leader of the Year have received the Rock Star Award for their contributions to the committee(s) they serve on.

Chelsea Williams - Imagination Branding
Cory Brooks - Mapleridge Events
Courtney Hudson - Hard Rock Cafe
Dannah Scott - Sheraton Memphis Downtown
Kim Fry - Hilton Knoxville Airport
Kimberly Bean - KBT Creative Support Services
Renny Burdick - Liberty Party Rental
Tiffani Wilson - Marriott International
Virginia Cockran - Strategic Hospitality
Planner of the Year

Angela Layton - National Association of State Boards of Accountancy
Carol Norfleet - Destination Nashville
Desiree Wooldridge, CMP - Caterpillar Financial
Kimberly Bean - KBT Creative Support Services
Lindsay Buchanan, CMP - Travelink
Shannon Yeater - Butler Snow
Therese Byrne - Tennessee Bar Association
Supplier of the Year

Angie Smith - Doubletree by Hilton Nashville Downtown
Colleen Cussick - OnStage
Jamie Hulet - Grand Ole Opry Entertainment Group
Melanie Clifford - SpringHill Suites by Marriott Pigeon Forge
Mindy Powell-Hardy - Hard Rock Café Nashville
Nikki Taylor - Doubletree by Hilton Memphis East
Susan Raque - Destination Musick City
Pillar Award - This award  recognizes an individual or company in each region who makes continuous contributions to the MPI Tennessee Chapter.

Pillar Award - Central Region
Carol Norfleet - Destination Nashville
Destination Musick City
Doubletree by Hilton Nashville Downtown
Jamie Hulet - Grand Ole Opry Entertainment Group

Pillar Award - East Region
Angie Campbell - Dollywood's DreamMore Resort
Erika Biddix - Biddix Meetings and Events
Kate Shattuck - Integrated Solutions and Services
Knoxville Convention Center
Kristi Sowards - Knoxville Convention Center
Melanie Clifford - SpringHill Suites by Marriott Pigeon Forge

Pillar Award - West Region
Antwone Stigall - West Wing Events
Big Cypress Lodge
Dannah Scott - Sheraton Memphis Downtown
Sheryl Baker - Peabody Hotels
Sophia Boulanger - Hilton Memphis
Tiffani Wilson - Marriott International
Need a gift or a treat for yourself?  The MPI Tennessee auction is LIVE on Bid now and bid often.  All auction proceeds go back to the chapter to fund education and scholarships.
200 Tennesseans Celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID)
Thank you to all who attended the Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) 2016 celebration at the Wildhorse Saloon on April 14th.  It was a great event where professionals from all dimensions of our meetings industry came to mix, mingle, and celebrate.  We had over 200 in attendance in Nashville event, and there were 115 events across five continents encompassing over 30 countries.  Together, our events created almost 40 million social media impressions using the hashtag #GMID16.  MP Tennessee is proud to have partnered with Tennessee Society of Association Executives (TnSAE), International Live Events Specialists (ILES), Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP), and the Tennessee Business Travel Association (TBTA) to put on one of the great events.  Special thanks to Michael Owen for emceeing our event, Butch Spyridon, CEO and President of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation and Mayor Megan Barry for presenting great statistics about Nashville and the impact meetings have on our economy and our city.  We couldn't have done this without our venue sponsor- The Wildhorse Saloon, our parking sponsor- SP+ Parking, and our video and photography sponsor, Details Nashville. We look forward to a great Global Meetings Industry Day 2017!

March Meeting Follow Up
The post-event survey results and comments are very important to our Board of Directors. Going forward, each month we will reply to your questions, comments or concerns in the newsletter.

The Central region March meeting held at the Patron Platinum Club was one of our most popular yet.  The feedback on speak Beth Ziesenis was amazing.  Attendee survey results are as follows.
Overall Score: 9.62 out of 10
Attendance:  97
Meeting Survey Completion Percentage: 47.33%
The comments you provide on the monthly meeting surveys are very important to our Education Committee.   Going forward each month they will reply to questions and comments in the newsletter.

March Questions and Comments

Question 1:
 "Might be helpful, if there was a way to view the attendees that have RSVP'd ahead of time, so if there was someone in particular I would want to connect with I would know ahead of time." 

We are glad someone asked about viewing the attendees!  There is a way to see who will be attending each event and the company they represent.  After you register for the event, you can click on the attendees tab at the top of the invitation.  You may access the attendee list by going to the events calendar on  Select the event you are interested in attending and click on Register .  At the top of the summary page there is a tab titled Attendees.  Click on that tab and a list of everyone registered will come up.

Question 2:
I was seated at one of the long tables toward the back, by the food. It was difficult for all of us to hear/see the speaker and the screen from that location. 

We are sorry that the seating wasn't perfect for everyone!  Next time, please make sure to let us know, and we will see how we can fix it.
Upcoming meetings and events....
West Region
The Worst Case Scenario:
Active Shooter Awareness & Prevention Training
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
11:15 AM  - 1:00 PM
Crowne Plaza Downtown Memphis
300 N. Second St, Memphis, Tennessee 38103
Central Region
Second Harvest Food Bank Community Service
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
12:45 pm to 1:00 pm
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee
331 Great Circle Road, Nashville, Tennessee 37228
The January 2016 program that was cancelled due to weather has been rescheduled for June 29.  Same topic.  Same location.  Hopefully no snow!
Central Region
The Effects, The Booking, and The Behind the Scenes
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Studio A at the Grand Ole Opry House
2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37214

World Education Congress (WEC)
June 11 - 14, 2016
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Registration is still open.  
Want to see who's attending WEC before registering?  Go to See Who's Coming.

Don't forget MPI Tennessee is nominated for TWO RISE Awards and Carol Norfleet is nominated for MPI Member of the Year. 

The winners will be announced at WEC.
Membership Recruitment News
MAY - THE FORCE BE WITH YOU - Membership Referral Drive

For each referral that a MPI member gives us before May 31, their name will go into a drawing for Two Tickets to the Movie Theater and a $50.00 gift Certificate at the Flying Saucer!

Please email your referrals to Susan Raque at

The drawing will be held on May 31st.

APRIL - It's Raining Members!!
The Winner of our April - It's Raining Members  - Membership Referral Drive is Jamie Hulet!
New Member Spotlight
Name:  Samantha Lane  

Current Employer and Position:  University of Tennessee, Student

How long have you been in this position?   2 years

Why did you join MPI:TN?
I am a rising junior at the University of Tennessee in the Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management program. I joined MPI:TN to learn from those in the industry and gain knowledge by networking.

What do you hope to get from your MPI:TN membership?
I hope to gain knowledge from those in the industry much longer than I, and network with those to gain experiences.

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with?  Why?
I am a Student Director at the University of Tennessee and love being involved with organizing everything that goes into New Student Orientation. Being a student it is amazing to watch these new students get acquainted to campus and come into their own!

What would you like the chapter to know about you?
I am originally from Nebraska, but I wouldn't call it home. Both of my parents are in the Air Force so my home is my family. Coming so far away can be hard at times but I am doing what I love, which is working with people and getting an amazing education. I love people, children and my church. A little known fact about me is that I lived in Hawaii, which was amazing, and hope to go back someday.

Name:  Kelli Myers   

Current Employer and Position:  Gartner, Sr Director

How long have you been in this position?   15 years

How long in the industry?   20 years

Why did you join MPI:TN?
I have been planning Gartner's internal sales meetings for many years and I was looking for an organization of other professional meeting planners to network, learn, and share ideas as well as challenges. 

What do you hope to get from your MPI:TN membership?
Network of peers who I can engage, share ideas, learn, and grow in my role planning our internal sales meetings.  As our internal meetings grow we need new and innovated ideas to meet the expectations of these meetings.  Being aware of new ideas and innovations in the meeting industry is important.

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with?  Why? 
Our Global Sales Managers Meeting 2014.   We made dramatic changes to our agenda and our general session seating.  It was a challenge to convince our leaders the need for the change but in the end our CEO and Head of Global Sales were very pleased with the results as well as the attendees at the event.  We were very proud of that meeting.

Tell us more about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc.

I am a mother of 2 boys - 11 and 8.  My husband and I have lived in Brentwood for 14 years. I am a huge UK fan- grew up in KY.  I enjoy playing tennis, being outdoors, watching my boys play baseball and basketball, and watching movies with my family.