President's Message  
Hello our lovely MPI Tennessee members!

CONNECT is coming up and I love this event! It's a great day of education, networking and round table discussions between suppliers and planners. We will begin the day with Michael Owen discussing the importance of "The Attendee Experience." Attendees are looking for engagement and memorable events, don't miss the boat in making these things happen at your event! During lunch, Carol Norfleet will discuss the many generations that are actively in the workforce these days. See how to best communicate and work together. Lastly, we will conclude the day with Tripp Mitchell discussing security management and risk reduction strategies. Learn about which protocols you should have for your emergency management plan. If you haven't registered yet, we encourage you to do so now. It's an event you will not want to miss. And if you can't attend the full day, you may register for the luncheon only. This will be our monthly luncheon for February.

Back in November, MPI Tennessee sent out the Needs Assessment survey to our membership which is usually sent every two years. This particular survey and the information received are specific to the Tennessee Chapter. MPI Global also sends out an annual Chapter Satisfaction survey, which launched on February 1st. The survey asks some chapter specific questions but is primarily looking at MPI as a global organization. This survey is open for 2 weeks and we ask that you please take a few moments to share your feedback. With your participation, our chapter benefits with more opportunities to share WEC and membership scholarships with you guys! For those of you that take the survey, we'll draw a winner for a $100 gift card, then you can buy all the things you love! 

I am so thankful to be part of such an amazing chapter! We, as a board and chapter, have several goals or metrics that are set before us from Global each year. Your board of directors is doing an amazing job at helping us achieve those. We are well on our way to even more recognition at World Education Congress, a meeting produced by MPI Global. You should be very proud of the dedication and love that the board of directors has for this chapter. When you see our leaders, give thanks and share some love! 

Love y'all

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
Upcoming meetings and events....
Central Region
Driving Forces in Meetings and Events
Thursday, March 16, 2017
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Tennessee Bankers Association
211 Athens Way #100, Nashville, TN 37228

Our industry has become more complex with issues like room piracy, cyber security, and meetings advocacy. It is critical to understand economic concerns and forecasts that will dictate behavior in the meetings environment. Industry veteran Michael Dominguez shares the latest trends and how they affect your meetings.
MPI Tennessee Chapter Board of Directors Proposed 2017-2018 Slate
The Tennessee Chapter of Meeting Professionals International Nominating Committee has selected the following individuals, whom we believe to have the skills, dedication and integrity to provide outstanding leadership to our chapter during their term of office. Please be aware that as a member in good standing you have the right to review and challenge the slate of directors as indicated in the chapter bylaws. If positions remain uncontested, the slate of officers will be considered approved by a unanimous vote after 30 days. Please congratulate and thank these members for their service.


The following slate of officers is elected by the Chapter Board of Directors. They are identified in this communication so members can view the full board proposed for the upcoming term. Position, Name and Company, Term

Katie Rogers, CMP
January 2017 - June 2018

President Elect
Erika Biddix, CMM, CMP, Biddix Meetings + Events
July 2017 - June 2018

Immediate Past President
Adam Spivey, Hutton Hotel
January 2017 - June 2018

Vice President Finance
Jessica Pfranger, Country Music Hall of FameĀ® and Museum
July 2017 - June 2018

Vice President Membership
Shannon Yeater, CMP, Butler Snow LLP
July 2017 - June 2018

Vice President Communications
Chelsea Harris Williams, Imagination Branding
July 2017 - June 2018

Vice President Education
Cory Brooks, CMP, Maple Ridge Events
July 2017 - June 2018

VP East Region
July 2017 - June 2018

VP West Region
July 2017 - June 2018

Directors (Board members)
The following slate of board members is elected by the membership of the chapter. This slate will be deemed elected by unanimous vote unless the slate is challenged as outlined in the chapter bylaws. Position, Name and Company, Term

Director Special Projects
Lauren Stout, Fontanel
July 2017 - June 2018

Director Strategic Alliances
Jill Kopecky, EntertainmentBuy
July 2017 - June 2018

Director Communications
Heather Dameron, CMP, Journeys
July 2017 - June 2018

Director Monthly Meetings
Kayce Kiningham, CMP, Tennessee School Boards Association
July 2017 - June 2018

Director Leadership & Professional Development
Kimberly Marlin Bean, KBT Creative Support Services
July 2017 - June 2018

Director Member Care
Marisa McWilliams, SouthComm, Inc.
July 2017 - June 2018

Director Administration
Valerie Summers, DMCP, Destination Musick City
July 2017 - June 2018

Please direct any questions to: Adam Spivey, Immediate Past President,
A copy of the chapter bylaws can be viewed by logging in to the member portal at
2017 MPI Membership & Chapter Satisfaction Survey 

MPI is committed to ensuring the best possible experience for every member, which is the primary reason we conduct the annual Membership and Chapter Survey (MCSS). This survey is the most important tool we have for capturing the thoughts of our members. Participation not only guarantees each member's voice is heard, but also shapes the future of our community as a whole.

On February 1, each MPI member received an email from Global containing his/her unique URL to complete the 2017 Membership and Chapter Satisfaction Survey. If you did not receive the survey email, have issues with the link, or experience difficulties while taking the survey, please send an email to Please note the survey will close on February 14 at 11:59 CST.
ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)

During the January Central Education Luncheon, speaker Michelle Johnson shared her insights about how change and flexibility can help solve problems and achieve business goals.  In case you missed it, attendees learned about the Gen-Fluxers, trend setters that span generations. They are a change adopters who embrace flexibility; they view change as an opportunity and continuously reinvent norms. Michelle emphasized the importance of adopting some of these Gen-Fluxer skills in order to stay current and relevant. 
Save the Date
MPI Tennessee Chapter 
2017 Circle of Excellence Awards Gala & Silent Auction
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville, TN
Networking and Auction 5:30 p.m.
Dinner and Awards 7:00 p.m.

World Education Congress
June 19-22, 2017
Las Vegas, NV
The World Education Congress is designed to teach meeting and event professionals to think outside the ballroom. More than 2,000 global meeting and event professionals join us every year to learn how to stop planning meetings and start designing transformative experiences that deliver return on investment dividends to all stakeholders and participants. WEC is produced by Meeting Professionals International, the largest, most diverse and influential association of its kind in the world.

MPI Tennessee usually sends approximately 25 attendees, we'd love to increase that number this year. There are scholarship opportunities available through MPI Tennessee and MPI Global, visit for more information.
Circle of Excellence Awards Nominations Now Being Accepted
The Planner and Supplier of the Year awards are distinguished awards given at the MPI Tennessee Chapter Circle of Excellence Awards Gala each year. These awards are given to an exceptional member in each category who represents leadership and excellence in the meeting planning profession along with a commitment to the local meeting community and an exemplary record of customer service in the industry.  Nominations for these awards are received from our membership and all members are eligible for the award in their respective category. To nominate someone for each of these awards, please email Kimberly Bean by Monday, March 20.
CONNECT Sponsor - Catchbox
MPI Tennessee is thrilled to partner with Catchbox, the world's first throwable microphone, to increase engagement and make our meetings more interactive. Catchbox is the world's first wireless microphone built for audiences. With its soft exterior and auto mute technology, the device can be safely passed around without getting damaged or causing unwanted noises.With Catchbox, getting audiences to participate becomes as easy as throwing them the box. Because this is faster and easier than passing a handheld microphone, questions, comments, and discussion become more spontaneous and can occur throughout a presentation or lecture, not just at the end.

Learn how MPI used Catchbox at WEC 2016
"Get to Know Me" Campaign
By Andrew Nelson, Classic Party Rentals

I truly feel the "Get to Know Me" campaign that MPI has created has been one of my favorite aspects since joining last April. The program is designed to allow all members of MPI a chance to connect with others in a one-on-one setting and interact with them in a way that hasn't been done previously. Attending our meetings can be overwhelming when you first join. You are interacting with so many people that it can be difficult to build relationships at the meeting itself. The "Get to Know Me" campaign alleviates some of the stress of that and provides an opportunity to build a relationship with someone that you may not otherwise have had the chance to get to know. It's a wonderful program that I hope to see continue to grow in the coming months and years.

MPI Tennessee Chapter's "Get to Know Me" Campaign helps facilitate membership engagement by creating opportunities to get to know each other outside of MPI sponsored events. Members are randomly paired and encouraged to meet at least once per quarter. This program is extremely popular and has received great feedback. If you are interested in learning more, contact Susan Raque, Director of Member Care.

Member Recognition: Movers & Shakers
Earned your CMP, CMM, or other industry accreditation this month? Were you recently promoted or changed jobs? This section of the newsletter is where we recognize our membership movers and shakers. Submit your announcement by emailing Desiree Wooldridge, VP of Communications, at
Tips, Tricks, and Insights
January Central Region Presenter, Michelle Johnson left us with a few sources of inspiration we can't get enough of.

Michelle invited us to identify who are the 5 people on our A-team? These are the ones who have our backs, the ones we trust the most, and the ones who treat us with care. She challenged us to know who these people are, and more importantly, tell them how important they are. We heard a lot of "You know you are on my A-team" as the meeting was winding down.

She also challenged us with this quote.

New Members 

Shannon Brace
Martin's BBQ Joint

Cindy Draws
Millennium Maxwell House Nashville

Tim Grant
Tim Friday Magic

Jenna Nelson
Hello! Nashville

Chantelle Nikkel
Kimpton Hotels

Sharon Winter

Member Anniversaries
Congratulations to our members celebrating an MPI anniversary in February!

Elizabeth Wagster, 25 years
Carol Norfleet, 23 years
Barbara Campbell, 22 years
Cindy Brewer, 15 years
Lauren Sefton, 14 years
Kevin Brewer, 13 years
Nikki Taylor, 11 years
Melanie Clifford, 10 years
Lori Hulet, 8 years
Nancy Foy, 7 years
Judith Adkins, 5 years
Christine Booker, 5 years
Holly Stevenson, 5 years
Ronni Anderson, 4 years
Dottie Baskin, 4 years
Jessica Lamb, 4 years
Meredith Schakel, 4 years
Kim Fry, 3 years
Jill McCullough, 3 years
Debby Gilliatt, 2 years
Chelsea Williams, 2 years
David Bruce, 1 year
Crystal Buttrey, 1 year
Lindsey Chance, 1 year
Michele Harbin, 1 year
Cathy Hill, 1 year
Kayce Kiningham, 1 year
Charles Satterwhite, 1 year
Veronica Seaman, 1 year
Tecla Tawonezvi, 1 year

New Member Spotlight
Name:  Vanessa Burse 

Current Employer and Position:  Caesars Entertainment, Property Sales Manager Horseshoe and Tunica Roadhouse


How long have you been in this position?   5 months 

Why did you join MPI? 
I love the relationships that are built through the networking events and by attending the monthly luncheons you obtain lots of different ideas and learn a lot.

What do you hope to get from your MPI membership?
I hope to increase my database as supplier and connect and learn from others that is in the same business as I am. 

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with? Why?
On my very first MPI meeting, Antwone Stigall's enthusiasm about MPI drew me in and from then I said "This is the type of people I need to be involved with!" 

What would you like the chapter to know about you?
I have been working in the casino industry for 18 years. I just graduated from Belhaven University the Spring of 2016. I have a 9 year old son, Nicholas that I spend a lot of my spare time with. He's one of my greatest blessings. I work with the youth in my church, Halliburton MB Church in Nesbit, MS.