PlanIt Tennessee

 2014-2015 Chapter Needs Assessment Survey


There is still time to complete the 2014-2015 Chapter Needs Assessment Survey! We want to know how to best meet and exceed your needs and expectations in the coming year. Sharing your feedback about your MPI experience takes just 15 to 20 minutes. We will use your input to make adjustments, evolve and deliver greater value to you. Survey closes Friday, November 7, at 5:00 pm.


MPI:TN Chapter Incentive:  We will draw one lucky winner from the MPI:TN participants to receive a $100.00 Visa Gift Card.
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
Crisis Management - How You Present Yourself & Your Organization Can Make All of the Difference

Come join us for this interactive session as we hear from The Recovering Politician's Second Act Strategies, a bi-partisan band of former politicians who lead corporate audiences in crisis management simulations, that teach valuable lessons on leadership and teamwork under crisis, professional integrity and shared values, and reinventing your brand.

After hearing their own fascinating and entertaining stories of crisis, scandal, survival and reinvention, the Second Act Strategies troupe will lead us through our own crisis simulation -- leading us through a potential public crisis faced by meeting managers, and teaching us valuable strategies to transcend difficult policy, organizational and personal challenges.

Learning Objectives:
  • Learn how to lead your organization during difficult times
  • Evaluate the plans your organization has in place so you can make sure to work as a team during crisis
  • Protect your professional integrity and your organization's shared values
Education Program
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Omni Hotel Nashville Downtown
Melanie Clifford to Serve on MPI RISE Award Judging Panel
CONGRATULATIONS to Melanie Clifford for being selected to serve on the 2015 MPI RISE Awards judging panel!  The MPI RISE Awards is an annual program established to recognize individuals, communities and organizations that are improving the meetings and events industry.  There are seven awards in the program rewarding volunteerism, innovation, commitment to the industry and transferability of practices across boundaries.  The awards are a vehicle for peers to recognize the work and accomplishments of others, and also provide an opportunity to promote the importance of meetings and events as a mechanism to drive business results.

MPI:TN won the 2012 RISE Award for Community Achievement in Knowledge and Ideas for the "Let MPI Rock Your World Road Trip".
MPI:TN Member Appointed to Third Term on Nashville's Transportation Licensing Commission
Rhonda Marko, CMP, CMM, DMCP, has been appointed to a third term on Nashville's Transportation Licensing Commission by Mayor Carl Dean.  The Transportation Licensing Commission has exclusive jurisdiction of the licensing and regulation of all vehicles for hire, including, but not limited to, taxicabs, wreckers, sedans, limousines, horse drawn carriages, and persons or businesses engaged in the practice of "booting" vehicles. The Transportation Licensing Commission shall constitute the sole administrative agency for the administration of all laws and ordinances relating to the licensing and regulation of vehicles for hire and booting services.  Rhonda is a dedicated member of MPI:TN and owner of Destination Nashville.
Fa La La La...Holiday Parties!
East Region

When:   Thursday, December 4
              5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
:  Holiday Inn Knoxville Cedar Bluff

Hors d' oeuvres  and cheer, a fun wine pull , and  an exciting silent auction~

Reconnect with colleagues! Bring a prospective member!

Don't forget to bring your donations for The Ronald McDonald House!

West Region

When:   Tuesday, December 9
              4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Where:  Hilton Memphis East

Central Region

When:   Wednesday, December 10
              5:30p.m. -8:30 p.m.
Where:  Johnny Cash Museum on 3rd Avenue- Downtown

Catering by Chef's Market; Beer, Wine, and a Flavored Prosecco Bar

"Embarrass your friends, and pay for them to have to karaoke for a cause!" with Auctionable Karaoke
2015-2016 Board Nominations   
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  
Hey  MPI-ers!

Want to know how to get your brand recognized at ANY MPI:TN educational meeting and special event?? We are a multi-faceted region with multi-faceted packages, and are willing to work with you to make it your own. The Hilton Orlando recently took advantage of a new partnership opportunity as did the Nashville Doubletree Downtown.

Don't miss out!

New options make it easy and affordable for you, and our Strategic Alliance Director Colleen Cussick will make it a fun, yet seamless process! You can reach Colleen at or call her at 615-256-6260.

Get out in front of the numerous professionals who are loyal to the MPI community, and see your ROI GROW... 
Member Spotlight - Abby Mason
  Director of Events and Public Relations   
  • How long have you been in this position? 2 years 
  • How long in the industry? 9 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? Because I love meetings and events! I love being a part of bringing people together and helping to make their time together beneficial. 
  • What do you enjoy the most and least about the industry? My favorite part of the industry is seeing an event from conception to completion. It is fun to see the where the journey begins and the path that it takes as ideas come together, budgets get worked out, timelines get finalized and the event arrives. My least favorite part is the wrap up - once the event is over, I am ready to move on to the next one and not get slowed down with the post-meeting projects.
  • What is your favorite meeting or event you have held?  Why? Alpha Omicron Pi's International Conventions are so special and I consider it is a privilege to have a role in developing the events that are so significant to my organization. Each one is an important part of the Fraternity's history and being a part of that is incredible. 
  • Where is your favorite meeting or event location?  Why? Arizona resorts. In addition to spectacular views, they provide an atmosphere that allows for meetings to turn into celebration and business to turn into vacation.
  • What advice would you give someone entering the industry? Learn to understand contracts. They are essential to making certain that you provide your attendees with the desired experience.
  • Tell us something about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc. I love movies - all kinds of movies - comedy, drama, horror, you name it. I could go to the movie theatre every day.  I see every movie that is nominated for the major Academy Awards and have my predictions ready to go on Oscar night.
  • If you weren't in the meeting and event industry what would you be doing? Something that allowed me to still make people happy . . . or that let me see more movies.
Know Your Board  - Holly Stevenson, CMP   
  • Board Position: VP of Education
  • Have you held other positions on the MPI:TN Board? Director of Monthly Meetings
  • Why did you decide to become a part of the MPI:TN Board? To learn and grow with my fellow members!  It's a privilege to serve and give back to our industry. 
  • What is the benefit of being on the Board? You truly get the most out of your membership by being involved.  I like learning about the inner workings of our association and chapter.
  • What is your paying gig?  What?!? MPI doesn't pay?  Lol.  Cross Country Education
  • How long have you been in this position? About 3 years
  • How long in the industry? About 6 years
  • Why did you get into the meeting and event industry? I kind of "fell" into it - well more like trial by fire.  I had the opportunity to be involved in conferences with an association management company and quickly found my niche.  I haven't wanted to do anything else since!
  • What do you enjoy the most and least about the industry? Most - that I'm always learning something new.  I enjoy making meaningful experiences for attendees.  Least - the stress.  I'm going to go gray early!
  • What is your favorite meeting or event you have held?  Why? That's a tough one.  I've had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of speakers and great venues.  It's hard to pick just one.  I will say that planning the MPI monthly meetings has been a lot of fun and some of the highlights of my career so far.
  • What advice would you give someone entering the industry? You'll learn quickly if this is the industry for you (or not).  I would encourage them to get involved in an association (MPI of course!), and to seek out a mentor and peers who you can ask questions when you run into situations because you will run into new situations.
  • Tell us something about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc. I love being outdoors and active.  Running, hiking, dancing, and reading.  I'm a bit of a book junkie.  Also, like a lot of people in our industry, I love to travel and experience new cultures.
  • If you weren't in the meeting and event industry what would you be doing? I'd still be planning events for my church.  Can't imagine not planning things.
What does MPI Global do for me?
MPI Global Headquarters provides all 18,500 members worldwide with a basic list of benefits designed to help the member's network, increase their industry knowledge, and expand business opportunities. These benefits range from producing our member magazine, The Meeting Professional, which showcases the stories of our community to producing industry research to help guide our members decision making. Annually, MPI Global organizes our member conferences World Education Congress (WEC) and the European Meetings and Events Conference (EMEC).  Besides our member conferences, MPI education appears in more than 20 different industry organizations.  Many of these educational opportunities are then shared globally through our Professional Development on Demand to help increase our member's knowledge. Partnerships with individuals and organizations enrich our industry by providing scholarship and grant money administered by the MPI Foundation to members and chapters.

Do you have a question for MPI Global?  If so, please submit it to Jamie Hulet,
The Convention Industry Council Needs Your Help
Have you experienced room block poaching?  If so, please share your experience with the Convention Industry Council APEX Standards Committee? The CIC APEX Standards Commission is in the process of developing a white paper on Room Block Poaching. Following the August MPI:TN educational meeting, both planners and suppliers mentioned being affected. If you have experience or knowledge about the issue, please let Michael Owen and he will set up an interview with the committee lead.  You may contact Michael at
Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn    Find us on Pinterest