President's Message  
President's Message

In This Issue
Our Sponsors
Platinum Partners


Gold Partners 

Do you want to become an MPI Tennessee Chapter sponsor and partner with the state's largest and most vibrant community of meeting and event professionals?

For more information, contact Jill Kopecky, Director of Strategic Alliances for MPI:TN!

Looking to make a job change or know someone is?  Check out the positions available at
Support our East Tennessee Members by donating to the My People Fund

As a result of the devastating wildfires in East Tennessee, we would like to encourage our MPI Tennessee members to make a donation to the Dollywood Foundation "My People Fund" to help support our members and friends who have been affected by these recent events. 100% of the proceeds will help those who lost their homes in the wildfire.

In addition, MPI Tennessee Chapter will be donating a portion of the proceeds from our December silent auction to the "My People Fund." Let's all show some Tennessee spirit and make Dolly proud!
2016 Holiday Party - Don't miss it!

Join MPI Tennessee Chapter for a "Mix and Jingle" with industry professionals at this year's annual Holiday Celebration! The historic Hermitage Hotel will host to this year's festivities on Thursday, December 8, 2016.

Network with colleagues and friends while celebrating the end of a great year and a merry holiday season! Enjoy fabulous food and cocktails courtesy of our host, the Hermitage Hotel.

This year, we are making it so easy to find the perfect gift for that special someone. You can shop our Silent Auction which will be loaded with fantastic items including hotel stays, restaurant certificates, and unique gifts. Shop enthusiastically because it is going right back to our chapter. 
Silent Auction - Online Silent Auction Live!
Stop everything and follow this link to our Silent Auction Bidding for Good online site which is LIVE and full of amazing items that coincidentally match your holiday shopping list. Shop the site while supporting our chapter. 
We are still looking for donations! If you have an item that you'd like to donate, please reach out to our Director of Special Projects, Lauren Stout.

To learn more about this great marketing opportunity, visit
Upcoming meetings and events....
Central Region
Embodying Change:  Creating a Vision to Meet and Exceed Your Business Goals
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Franklin Marriott Cool Springs
700 Cool Springs Blvd, Franklin, TN 37067

Change is in the eye of the beholder.  How much are you willing to grow? What is holding you back? Having a "vision" of how to achieve your business goals and solve your business problems is more critical now than ever.  Revenue, sales, client relationships, bonuses, survival. How do you achieve them all and give it 100%? Michelle will teach you how a well laid plan can help you traverse a changing business landscape.  Walk away with your opportunity to make positive change in your business!
Education and Marketplace
A Day of Networking and Education 
Thursday, February 9, 2017 
Planner/Supplier Mixer

Friday, February 10, 2017 
Hosted by the Westin Nashville
Spring MIX event - Members Weigh In
The special projects committee is looking for venues to host the Spring Meetings Industry Exchange (MIX) event. Please send your ideas or proposals to Holly Carpenter at
ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) 
November West Education Luncheon - FOOD: A User's Guide

During the West Region November Educational Luncheon, speaker and fellow Meeting Professional Carol Norfleet, CMP, DMCP shared insights into attendee diets, allergies vs intolerants, legal cases regarding food at events and many other food topics.  

In case you missed it, Carol explained to us:
  • Our Duty of Care as it pertains to our attendees in regards to Food at our events.
  • The BIG FOUR MEDICAL DIETS - Diabetic, Gluten-Free, Lactose Intolerant, and Low-Sodium.
  • The many different kinds of non-medical food diets - Ever heard a FLEXITARIAN?
  • The importance of labeling food and how it can possibly help you in a legal case.
Session Survey Score: 9.79 out of 10

"The Speaker: FANTASTIC! Venue: great choice! Great to see so many attendees out for this luncheon and I am looking forward to the next luncheon. "
2017-2018 Board Nominations  
Are you an industry leader looking for an opportunity to showcase your skills and contribute to the success of MPI Tennessee Chapter?

If so, consider volunteering your time and talent to the 2017-2018 MPI Tennessee Chapter Board of Directors! 

The MPI Tennessee Chapter 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:
Now through December 16, 2016
Call for Nominations (required of all candidates)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Board of Directors application due to Tammy Gilbert Cardona, CMP, Immediate Past President -

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 Tammy Gilbert Cardona at with any questions.

MPI Tennessee Chapter 2017 - 2018 Board of Directors Job Descriptions, Board Interest Form and Board Application may be found  HERE .
The Board of Directors - An Awesome Opportunity
By Erika Biddix

When I talk with college students about potential membership in MPI, there is one thing I tell them that seems to resonate the most. Once you leave college and are in the professional world, your job tends to dictate who and what you are leading. Getting involved in a professional organization allows for leadership opportunities that are hard to come by when you are busy being an adult. One of the amazing things about membership in MPI is that you have boundless leadership opportunities with all of the volunteer positions we have available. And the greatest of these is the Board of Directors. These 16 members get the awesome responsibility of leading a chapter of over 300 influencers in the meetings and events industry. And the only requirement to apply is that you are a chapter member!

As a member of the Board of Directors, you are able to help shape the direction the chapter is taking. This could be the way we approach growing our membership, setting the educational curriculum of our monthly meetings, or helping to raise the money that provides certification scholarships to members. Depending on your position, you can use the strengths and talents you use daily at your job, or you have a chance to stretch yourself and take on a role that is completely different from your day job. Regardless, you'll be adding a valuable volunteer role, and possibly new skills, to your resume.

But, the best part of being on the Board of Directors is definitely the people! You get a chance to interact with the membership on a closer level, over and above chatting at monthly meetings. And the MPI TN Board of Directors themselves is always a dynamic, dedicated and FUN group that will just reinforce the awesomeness that is being a member of the chapter.

What are you waiting for?  Applications for the 2016-17 Board are due January 4!
Member Recognition
Congratulations to the newest group of CMP's:
Cori Brooks
Sarah Brown
Heather Dameron
Shannon Yeater

Congratulations to Jamie Hulet who recently earned her Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certification (HMCC).
WEC  - A member's experience
By Lauren Stout

Hey MPI Family!

I wanted to briefly write about my amazing experience this year at the 2016 WEC in Atlantic City! I was granted a scholarship to attend and am so thankful to this chapter for providing me with the experience! I learned an incredible amount, networked with other industry professionals, and was able to get to know my fellow chapter members more closely.

WEC offered classes that appealed directly to me being on the supplier end of things as well as the catering sales side. I was able to attend sessions about new food and beverage trends, networking with a purpose, and leadership training for the upcoming board role I am currently in. My favorite part was the chapter leadership training; at one point we broke into groups and had an open format brainstorming ideas for special projects. This gave me some insight into what other chapters are doing to creatively engage members as well as fundraising to hit the chapter goals. I came back inspired and have already put some of those ideas in place and already thinking ahead to 2017 goals and ideas for our chapter!

Networking, Networking, Networking! I met so many talented people from so many markets and have returned that investment into my current role at Gaylord. I was able to secure 2 leads for our hotel and have since passed those along to our sales department. In addition to this I was able to connect with more Marriott sales managers which has translated back into career goals within this company and hopefully eventually growing myself within the Marriott sales team and brand.

My favorite part of this trip was definitely the friendships I established with my fellow MPI Tennessee members. Being a newish member of MPI, this trip definitely has brought me closer to those I already knew and networked with but now I can truly say that there is no better family than my MPI family!
New Members in September

Michael Elizabeth McQuillen
Rock Bottom Brewery

Holly Williams
Evolution Event Solutions

Member Anniversaries
Congratulations to our members who celebrated an MPI anniversary in December!

Scott Wright, 24 years
T. Clark Miller, 15 years
Stephanie Bixby, 12 years
Kara Brooks, 9 years
Tammy McLemore, 8 years
Colleen Cussick, 5 years
Jacqueline Marko, 5 years
Shellye Harrell, 3 years
Antwone Stigall, CMP, 3 years
Amy Alder, 2 years
Mackenzie Summers, 1 year

Misty Danmyer, 1 year
Katie Starnes, 1 year
Jarmeese Morrow, 1 year
Jeanette Foster, 1 year
Collin Husbands, 1 year

New Member Spotlight
Name:  Becca Kennamer 

Current Employer and Position:  American Farm Bureau Federation/ IDEAg, Director, Communications and Events


How long have you been in this position?   After working for AFBF for 7 years, I left to join SHRM for a year; however, I returned to AFBF in May to take on my current role. 

Why did you join MPI? 
I value continuing education as I believe new knowledge vital to long-term success.

What do you hope to get from your MPI membership?
I'm looking forward to networking with my local community while continuing to grow as a professional through educational opportunities. 

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with? Why?
While I may work the same main convention every year, I truly value the people and community in which I work. We travel around the country and are catering to some of the friendliest people - America's farmers and ranchers.

What would you like the chapter to know about you?
After living in the DC area for 8 years, my husband and I decided to move to his hometown of Nashville to put down some roots. I love cheering on the Hokies, pushing boundaries at CrossFit, playing with our dog, Huckleberry, and making my new home in this wonderful city.