PlanIt Tennessee

 2014-2015 Chapter Needs Assessment Survey


Knowing how to best meet and exceed your needs and expectations is important to MPI:TN chapter leaders and MPI staff. Sharing your feedback about your MPI experience takes just 15 to 20 minutes.  Member feedback is important and enables MPI and the MPI:TN Chapter to improve programs and services to better meet our membership's needs. We will use your input to make adjustments, evolve and deliver greater value to you. The survey will be coming out in the last part of October.  We thank you in advance for your help, and appreciate you taking the time.


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
This month we will be having our Education Luncheon on October 15th at Rocketown in downtown Nashville.  If you haven't been before, Rocketown is a 40,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility whose purpose ranges from coffee bar to skate park to entertainment venue to after-school hangout for teens. Rocketown's unique space provides room for large events such as concerts as well as small, private events such as weddings or group meetings. We will have an interactive panel of speakers including:

Erika BIddix, CMM, CMP

Senior Meeting Planner at MAC Meetings & Events
Carol Luttrell, CMP
Solutions Specialist Advisor at FedEx Solutions
Katie Rogers, CMP
Tradeshow & Events Manager at Emdeon
 Lori Hulet, CMP
Meeting & Event Planning Manager at
Bridgestone Americas

Our moderator will be Kate Shattuck, CMP is a Meeting and Event Services Senior Planner at Integrated Solutions & Service,  Inc.   You may submit questions for the panel to

Our luncheon will begin at 11:30 am and conclude at 1:00 pm, with the option for you to arrive beginning at 11:00 am to network and socialize with your fellow MPI members! We're looking forward to this great event to interact with some of these great planners to help develop relationships and professional skills. See you there!
Voucher Program for Monthly Meetings

MPI: TN is offering prepaid vouchers for our monthly educational luncheon meetings. This program allows you to pre-pay for six future registrations for monthly luncheon meetings and save money at the same time.  

  • A booklet of 6 vouchers costs $175.00 (the price of 5 meetings)
  • Vouchers are good for meetings from July 2014 through June 2015
  • Valid in all three regions - West, Central, & East
  • Vouchers are transferable - so you can give them to a peer or colleague if your are unable to attend a meeting or you may use them for your guests
  • Valid for MPI - Members ONLY

Click here to purchase your vouchers

Community Service Corner, MPI:TN Giving Back
The volunteer sheet for MPI:TN's fourth quarter community service project is now available.  We are asking for two volunteers per hour.  If you can volunteer more time we would love to have you.  The event is Wednesday, October 29, at the Music City Center.  The Career Exploration Fair will provide an avenue for high school freshmen in Nashville schools to explore a breadth of career areas including hospitality.  It will host approximately 5,000 freshmen from the Academies of Nashville and the Magnets of Nashville. Students will complete career exploration research at school in preparation for their visit and learn about professionalism. They will also participate in an essay contest and other follow-up activities to show what they learned.  MPI:TN's goal is to raise awareness and excitement about the meeting and hospitality industry.
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) 

Not sure what is involved in a leadership position with MPI:TN?
MPI:TN is pleased to invite you to attend the Leadership Academy on Wednesday, November 19, from 8:30am-4:30pm at the Sheraton Downtown Nashville.  Leadership Academy is a leadership training program offered to chapter members in good standing.  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 and strong future leader for our chapter.

Though the event is complimentary, space is limited, so early registration is encouraged! Please RSVP to Jessica Pfranger,, if you would like to attend Leadership Academy. If you plan on attending the monthly meeting and luncheon you will need to register for it separately. 
Member Spotlight - Erika Biddix, CMM, CMP
  MAC Meetings and Events, Senior Meeting Planner (East Region)  
  • nullHow long have you been in this position? 10 years 
  • How long in the industry? 12 years
  • Have you been on the MPI:TN Board of Directors?  Yes
  • If yes, which position(s)? Vice President of the East Region
  • Why did you get into the meeting and event industry? I have a journalism degree with an emphasis in advertising.  While working at an ad agency I handled a client's internal communications, including their annual sales meetings. We sourced meeting logistics to MAC, and handled design and marketing work in house. After a two year relationship with MAC, I was lucky enough to be brought onboard with them.
  • What do you enjoy the most and least about the industry? I enjoy that no two days or projects are the same and that I can work across different sectors - I've had a chance to work with grocery retailers, major shoes brands and technology companies to name a few.  What I think is hardest about the industry is the perception that we're just matching napkins and table linens to an event theme.
  • What is your favorite meeting or event you have held?  Why? A global sales kickoff for a technology client. We had attendees from over 20 countries, and the event was held at a hotel that still has a scratch kitchen.  I love menu planning, and we took it to a new level with this event - each region had their own breakfast, catered to the standards of their area, as well as an awards dinner that followed local customs.  It was fun to plan and enjoyable to eat as well!
  • Where is your favorite meeting or event location?  Why? I love to do meetings anywhere with an ocean view!  If I'm going to be staring out hotel windows all day, I like to be able to see something pretty.  I just got back from an oceanside event, and our registration table was on a cliff overlooking the ocean - not a bad way to spend a day.
  • What advice would you give someone entering the industry? Be open to learning and change, and know how to stay calm under pressure!  You will be the most successful if you learn something new from every event you plan and handle.
  • Tell us something about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc. I took up distance running at 26 - prior to that the longest I had run was the President's Physical Fitness test in eighth grade.  Now I do one or two half marathons a year, and am gearing up for my second full marathon.
  • If you weren't in the meeting and event industry what would you be doing? I would be working in production in the entertainment industry.  That, or going to culinary school!
Know Your Board  - Shannon Yeater, Director of Special Projects  
  • Have you held other positions on the MPI:TN Board? No
  • Why did you decide to become a part of the MPI:TN Board? I became part of the board to learn more about MPI, get more involved, and to create more personal MPI relationships. I also wanted to learn more about how to be a leader and have great examples in front of me to do this with. 
  • What is the benefit of being on the Board? I have learned so much about the meetings and events industry as well as grown my personal and professional relationships tremendously.  Being on the board, I have great mentors and people to learn from that are always willing to help and teach.
  • What is your paying gig?  Member Relations Director at Westhaven Golf Club
  • How long have you been in this position? 3 months
  • How long in the industry? 4 years
  • Why did you get into the meeting and event industry? I planned my senior prom for my high school and loved all of the creativity and logistics involved with planning an event.  I knew it would be something I would want to do for a career. I had started working on the restaurant/ venue side of the industry, and have never left that.
  • What do you enjoy the most and least about the industry? My favorite thing about the industry is building relationships with clients and colleagues. I can't really think of what my least favorite part is.
  • What is your favorite meeting or event you have held?  Why? My favorite event was the Jimmy Buffett Street Parties.  There was so much involved, and I learned so much about working with so many different vendors, the city, liquor laws, etc. to make it a viable event for all parties involved.  That was great experience for me on the planning side. And who doesn't love watching 30,000 people enjoy something you've worked so hard to put together?
  • What advice would you give someone entering the industry? Go after everything and get to know everyone!  There is not a single person that isn't worth talking to. Your business and your mentors can come from the strangest places.
  • Tell us something about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc. I am a big Disney Kid at heart. I love everything about Walt Disney and have a closet Disney collection.
  • If you weren't in the meeting and event industry what would you be doing? Hmmmm..... that's tough! Probably some sort of accounting.
E-Learning Opportunities Available
Did you know that MPI Global offers an online education resource? We invite you to browse through the catalog and register of online webinars. Several webinars qualify for CEU credit.  Visit the professional development tab on for more information.
What does MPI Global do with my membership dues?
MPI membership dues accounts for 39% of MPI's overall operating budget.  When a member joins MPI either as a new OR renewing member, 18% of the dues are rebated directly to their chapter.  The remaining 82% is used to support the Global office which manages the benefits we provide members. These benefits include live events, online professional development or webinars, online member community, pan industry research, industry certifications, as well as the overall management needed to create functioning chapters around the world.  Membership dues also supports the departments of Professional Development, Research, IT, Marketing and Creative which support projects and activities that directly support our members (through benefits) or indirectly through chapter leadership training (CBS, CLF) and management.  Some of these projects include the design and functionality of the Global MPI website, including the Chapter Leader Resource section; professional development and certification programs; research data and tools provided directly to Chapters to assist them with member growth and support local buying; and marketing promotion for live events including WEC and the European Meeting and Events Conference (EMEC).
Tips and Tricks from WEC
When using PowerPoint a great trick is to be able to quickly black out or white out your screen. When you are in ppt. if you want to discuss something with the audience about what you just presented on a particular slide or if you want to take a break and do not want to leave your slides up, you can black or white out your screen. Press the "B" key for a black screen and press the "W" key for a white screen. To return back to your presentation click "B" or "W" again. This is an easy way to bring attention from your attendees off your reading the screen and instead having them listen and engage on what you are saying.
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