PlanIt Tennessee
November 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

Wednesday, November 13 - Central Educational Luncheon.  

Please join us for "Everything You've Wanted to Know About Hiring Celebrity Talent, But Were Afraid to Ask" presented by Kix Brooks at The Musician's Hall of Fame from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.  Click here for more information and to register for the event.


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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


 Tennessee is the place to be! Everywhere you look, people are talking about Tennessee.  The CMA's, the opening of the Omni Hotel in Nashville, fall in the Smokies, the opening the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge are just a few reasons.

And now it is time for the transition from Fall to Winter.  In the Smokies the fall decorations are coming down and Christmas-Winter decor are going up.  Next week is the official start of Winterfest with millions upon millions of lights being turned on.

Are you making that transition?  What are you doing?  Next week, our chapter is honored to have Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn as our guest speaker.  There is still time to register.  Join us on the 13th at the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Are you planning a Holiday Party or event?  Shop your fellow MPI members. The MPI: Tennessee Directory is now on line.  If are one those people who loved having the printed directory, you can now print it out monthly so that you have the most current list of members.  You now have the capability to have your own unique username and password.  Be sure to go to to register so that you can have access to it.

Remember, to get the most out of your membership you need to come, you need to be involved and you need to be visible.

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

Melanie Clifford 


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Road Trip Thank You Note



I just had to share with you how much I enjoyed attending the MPI Roadshow luncheon last month!!!  After being out of work for several weeks, it was so nice to participate in this event, to feel part of a professional group.  This was my first event, but everyone was so welcoming; I felt comfortable right away!  Being on the job hunt can be a stressful venture and those I met personally were very encouraging, lifted my spirits.  I especially enjoyed John Chen and his presentation on Digital Team Building and Gameification and most exciting is I was able to use my newly learned term "gameifcation" during an interview the following week when discussing upcoming event planning for the firm and to feel confident during this line of questioning.  I could tell they were very impressed as they are looking for new ways to improve their events!!  Thank you again for the invite and the opportunity to learn and keep up to date with the latest trends in event planning.....By the Way I landed the job!!

Thanks again!!

Lee Ann Hansen






"I am Gary Musick and I am MPI. I love what we do." And I have the greatest job in the world.

When did you realize that you wanted to be in the meeting and event industry? 

I remember performing in my first live industrial show in 1982 for a major cosmetic company convention at Opryland Hotel.  I knew I wanted to produce events as a career when I walked into the ballroom for dress rehearsal and realized I was about to be on stage with the Nashville Symphony and Henry Mancini backed by a Dancing Waters display and huge concert sound, lighting, and video systems.  Corporate show business-what a concept!

What is your most memorable moment at a meeting or event?   

Standing backstage with Bob Hope just before he went on to perform for 7000 guests at a private corporate show we were producing in Denver. It was one of those "I can't believe I'm doing this" moments. It was the last live concert performance of his career.  Thanks for the memories, Bob!


What is the most bizarre moment you've experienced at a meeting or event?

Our company produced the opening ceremonies for the 1994 World Cup Games in Dallas, which at that time was the largest sporting event in the world. Our entire team had worked tirelessly on the show for over a year, and just as the show was about to begin, every major television network preempted the live broadcast with coverage of OJ Simpson driving down the interstate in his white Bronco. The show went on flawlessly, but the US television audience never saw it. I understand it got great ratings in Spain, though!

How did you get connected to MPI, and how has it affected your life?

I have been a member for 30 years. I joined shortly after becoming involved in the meetings industry. Many of the members back then were the charter members of the chapter. It was an exciting time in Nashville. Opryland Hotel had just been built, the new (now the old) convention center had recently opened, and the city was about to take off. MPI was unquestionably the most prestigious organization for professionals in our industry then, as it still is today. Many of my strongest professional and personal relationships came from my association with MPI, and I was proud to serve two terms as the President of the Tennessee Chapter. During those years we began the transition from Nashville Area Chapter Meeting Professionals International to TNMPI. Wow, it has come such a long way since then!


What are your connections?!?!

I have been a member with MPI for 5 years and I cannot count the number of connections I've made with suppliers and fellow planners in this organization.  We, at Emdeon, are always looking for new vendors/ideas and MPI is a great resource for building and making those relationships.

Since keeping track of my Connections in 2012,
Emdeon has spent over $730K with vendors through MPI:TN.  Be sure to enter your "connections" online by clicking here.  This is a great resource to validate your membership.  Our YTD total dollars spent are $152,588.59.  Unfortunately, that's probably not even half of the business that is done, but not captured.  If you have any questions or need assistance please feel free to contact me at

Check out the Event Sponsors Page by clicking here



Money Man   



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 13, 2013

Call for Nominations (required of all candidates)

December 13, 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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The Tennessee Chapter of MPI is pleased to invite you to attend an exclusive program on Wednesday, November 20th.

Leadership Academy is a leadership training program offered to our top active members. Our goal is to share essential elements of serving as a chapter leader of MPI:TN, and to provide each attendee with the tools needed to be a productive & strong future leader for our chapter. Though the event is complimentary, space is limited, so early registration is encouraged.  Click here for more information regarding the event.

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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:


24 years

Rhonda Marko, CMP, CMM, DMCP,  Destination Nashville

20 years

Aven Humphreys, CMP, Union University School of Pharmacy 
17 years 

Jo Dermid, CPCE, Graceful Tables

15 years 

Randy Miller, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center 
11 years

Karen Burnett, CMP, Vanderbilt University 

10 years

Judy Sadler Tn Pharmacists Association
Kim Terrell, Desoto County Tourism Association 

9 years

Robyn Bass, Maple Ridge Event Solutions, LLC
8 years 
Anita Kellerhouse, ServiceMaster Clean and Furniture Medic
Natalie Norris, CMP, Meetings and More Inc.
7 years  
Shari Long Neely, Hilton Garden Inn Tupelo
6 years
Kay Witt, Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau
4 years
Jordan Carnell, Vanderbilt University Student Life Center 3 years
Donna Thomas, CMP, Crowne Plaza Downtown Knoxville 
Cindy Underwood, CREDO Institute, Inc.
Joshua Tart, Courtyard by Marriott - Nashville
Vicki Sanders, Branching out Floral & Event Design
1 year
Kristen Vanek, Medtronic Spinal and Biologics Business 
Laura Russell, ALSAC/St. Jude
Shane Fortner, Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
Lori Story, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
Heather Nelson, Center For Executive Education at Belmont University 

New Members
Shareese Golightly, Medtronic Spinal and Biologics Business 
Courtney Ingersoll, Sheraton Memphis Downtown 
Dusky Norsworthy, Behind the Scenes 
Stephanie Schultz, CMP, Event Logistics, Inc. 
Angela Smith, DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown 
Maria Velasco, CGi, LLC