President's Message 

Happy New Year! 

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year! We are kicking off the new year with a continued celebration in the West with an "After the Holidays" Party. We hope you will join our friends on January 18th at International Paper in Memphis. We have several events in the Central Region including a luncheon and New Member Orientation, so be sure to check the website and your email for updates and links to register. 

We are very excited about CONNECT coming up in February! This event will be a full day of networking and education. We encourage everyone to attend and/or sponsor the event. You, the members, asked for more so we're providing even more opportunities for client connections and CEUs for receiving or renewing your CMP. More information will be shared soon. Be sure to register early as space will fill up fast! 

MPI Tennessee is larger than ever and YOU are our biggest billboard for gaining even more members. There's a special event at the end of January for recruiting new members. Be sure to invite prospective members to join us for this special event. Our members are passionate, and we are family. We want everyone to share in the joy and benefits of MPI Tennessee. Click here  to learn more and to register! 

I'm looking forward to a wonderful 2018! Cheers!

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  
Katherine Page Saldana
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 & Events
January Central Educational Luncheon
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
11:00am - 1:00pm
Gaylord Springs

Every detail of the meeting is coming together just fine and then you hit the tough spot . . . planning a menu to accommodate all the food allergies in your group. Adding food allergies into the fold can prove to be a stressful situation.  It's time to break down the barriers that food allergies present, understand why it's so important to honor the needs of your attendees, and work with the executive chef to create ease in the menu planning process.  It is possible, and we will show you the way!
West After the Holidays - 
Holiday Party!
Thursday, January 18, 2018
5:30pm - 7:30pm
International Paper - Tower IV

Join us as we kick off a new year with MPI Tennessee. What better way to start 2018 than by attending our "After the Holidays" Party? You'll enjoy time networking with fellow members and enjoy festive music and delicious hors d'oeuvres. There will also be a wine tasting and fantastic give-ways throughout the event! 
New Year, New Member 
Recruitment Event
Thursday, January 25, 2018
5:00pm - 7:00pm
The Valentine

Join us at The Valentine for our New Year, New Member Recruitment Event. This event is complimentary to prospective members, and members get in free when they bring a guest! There will be special membership discounts and drawings available for guests that join MPI Tennessee at the event. This fun-filled evening will celebrate our successes in 2017 and look ahead to an exciting 2018. 
New Member/Future Member Orientation
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Have you joined MPI Tennessee in the last three months? Are you considering joining MPI Tennessee but want to learn more about our chapter? Join us as we host our new member/future member orientation. This is your chance to learn more about our chapter while meeting fellow members. Please RSVP to Shannon Yeater at, and you'll receive more details via email. 
CONNECT Education & Marketplace
Thursday, February 8 & Friday, February 9, 2018
Cambria Hotel & Hilton Nashville Airport

Are you a professional meeting planner with primary responsibility for planning and booking meeting destinations and services in and around the Southeast? Are you interested in meeting numerous vendors in a quick and fun atmosphere? If so, CONNECT is the event for you. This year's CONNECT will kick off with a planner/supplier mixer on Thursday night at the new Cambria Hotel, and the all-day education and networking will be on Friday at the Hilton Nashville Airport. You won't want to miss this great event! 
A Note from Your Education Team...
Happy New Year from your Education Team! We are so excited to offer the January meeting with Angela Gaffney on Wednesday, January 17th at Gaylord Springs. Need more energy - don't we all? Don't know how to plan for a meeting with twelve different food requests? We've got you covered! Expect this meeting to be a little different from our usual format as we delve into all things food-related through an interactive look into menu planning. Click here to watch Angela's video message to our membership.

In addition to the January meeting, we are deep in the planning for CONNECT. We will kick off the program Thursday night with a reception hosted by Cambria Hotel! Come see one of Nashville's newest hotels and network with your fellow members in a cool atmosphere.

The signature event on Friday will be a memorable one for suppliers and planners alike. We are incorporating unique formats and interactive content to create an engaging atmosphere. Watch social media for messages from our speakers about the great programming they have in store. Our host for the meeting is the new Nashville Airport Hilton. Join us to see the beautiful redesign of this hotel and meet the staff that is eager to roll out the red carpet. Be sure to register early!
ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)
MPI Tennessee Holiday Party @ Bound'ry
MPI Tennessee celebrated the holidays with our annual holiday party at Bound'ry Events & Catering. This year's theme was "Winter Wino," and it didn't disappoint! Attendees were treated to a wine tasting and had countless opportunities to win a bottle of wine throughout the night. This sold-out event was a great way to end the year and celebrate the chapter's successes of 2017.

Thank you to the event sponsors, and a big thanks to the Special Projects Committee, who put tons of time and effort into planning the event.

Need a Scholarship? The MPI Foundation Can Help!
The MPI Foundation provides MPI members professional development and career opportunities through grants and scholarships. MPI Foundation scholarships are accepted on an ongoing basis. Applications received by the end of the month will receive notification by the end of the following month. Conference scholarships do not typically follow the normal application cycle but will be reviewed each month. 

For more information on the scholarship application cycle and specific deadlines, click here! 
The World Education Congress is MPI's signature event   through   which  it delivers premier education, business and  networking opportunities for meeting and event planners. The conference is scheduled for June 2-5, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Indianapolis is the #1 convention city in the U.S, and it's the perfect host for WEC's cutting edge education. Every programming decision MPI is making for #WEC18 is toward the goal of revitalizing you and the events you plan. From the keynotes to concurrent sessions; from the networking functions to the food, #WEC18 will be the place to recharge yourself and the experiences you design.

Want to learn more about WEC? Click here to see pricing, get registered and see the schedule of events!
WEC 2017- Viva Las Vegas!

Excited, but nervous. Ready to learn, but a tad bit intimidated by all the offerings.

That was just a little bit of what I felt as I prepared to attend WEC as a newbie. It wasn't my first visit to Las Vegas, but it was my first WEC. I've been a member of MPI Tennessee for almost 5 years and always wanted to attend a WEC, but work and life commitments had not allowed it in years past.

This year, as a board member, I was determined to attend, and I am so glad I did. I wanted to make sure I understood as much as possible about both supplier and planner members and then translate that knowledge into being an effective board member. There is so much to take in at a WEC: trainings, presentations, special events, awards, entertainment. Now add in the Vegas excitement and it's over the top! So, I decided to set a simple goal: observe and absorb.

Here's my advice for first timers:

Download the WEC app: You can personalize your agenda. This helps you keep up with when and where you need to be. It also offers a way to interact and connect with other attendees during and after the conference.

Attend the sessions:
Review all the workshops and pick the ones you want to attend ahead of time. I decided to join several sessions for suppliers and a few for planners. Some are better than others. But in each session, I did learn something new and at the same time, I heard some incredible presenters. It's a great way to preview and give input on potential speakers for future MPI Tennessee chapter meetings.

Meet people; Lots of people: Get to know your fellow chapter attendees, but get to know members from other chapters. The connections gained at WEC are invaluable when it comes to referrals and future business opportunities. MPI members, no matter the chapter, have each other's and the industry's best interest at heart. Take advantage of that connection and shared passion.

Attend the meal functions: As tempting as it is to take a break from the non-stop schedule and chaos, the luncheons are the best opportunity to get to know your chapter attendees. These sessions are full of energy and high on excitement. You are inspired by award winners and industry experts. You get to see some fabulous entertainment. But most importantly, you can feel the pride of being part of one of the best chapters in the country!

I could go on and on with advice and how it was worth it to attend, but the most important advice to garner is simple- just "go all in." Vegas or not, WEC is not the time to play it safe. Bet on a great time. I promise, this is one bet you won't lose!
Member Recognition: Movers & Shakers

Tammy Gilbert Cardona with the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation has been selected to serve on the MPI Global Chapter & Membership Advisory Council starting January 1st until December 31, 2018. The objective of the Chapter & Membership Advisory Council is to provide feedback and input on MPI global initiatives and strategy at the chapter level; including chapter-level member retention, member acquisition, resources and content.

The CMAC will be led by Melanie Clifford. This is huge for us to have such representation from our chapter. We are lucky to have them and know they'll be great contributors to the team!
New Members in December
Dwayne Bass
Bass Photography
Rebecca Parton
Bush Brothers
Mallory Briggs
Tennessee Academy of 
Physician Assistants
Venecia Potts
Medtronic Inc.
Karen Goonewardene
Medtronic Inc.
LeighAnn Puryear
Medtronic Inc.
Taylor Harrell
Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
Leisa Recabo
Harmony Heard
Westin Huntsville
Angela Richmond
Medtronic Inc.
Jackie Huser
Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
Brandon Rolland
Karen Jones
Medtronic Inc.
Betsy Spring
Medtronic Inc.
Shannon Kasakevics
Leave Them Speechless Events
Nicolette Thomas
Alsac/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Monica Starr MacGeen
Palladium Signs
Jennifer Turrill
Aquarium Restaurant & Rainforest Cafe
Samantha Mazzuca
Vanderbilt University
Emily Webber
Nashville Luxury Travel
Angela Mills
Fadds Entertainment
Kenneth Zahn, Jr.
Pursell Farms
Member Anniversaries
Congratulations to our members celebrating an MPI anniversary in January!

Janice McCallen - 16 years
Eva Goodson Eagen - 14 years
Deborah Cohen - 7 years
Teresa Ogden - 6 years
Adam Spivey - 6 years
Stephanie Lund - 5 years
Brandon Terpstra - 4 years
Desiree Wooldridge - 4 years
Susan Raque - 3 years
Kelly Wise - 3 years
Rip Beasley - 2 years
Lindsay Hensley - 2 years
Sara Holifield - 2 years
Lori Jenkins - 2 years
Sandra Johnson - 2 years
Mary Katherine Roberts - 2 years
Jamie Shirley - 2 years
Shannon Brace - 1 year
Kortni Butterton - 1 year
Jessica Dafler - 1 year
Tim Grant - 1 year
Jenna Nelson - 1 year
Sharon Winter - 1 year
New Member Spotlight
Angela Mills

Current Employer and Position:
Fadds Entertainment, Corporate Sales Manager


How long have you been in this position?
Two months

Why did you join MPI?
I previously was in the hospitality industry as an event planner and before that as a hotel sales manager. I have always enjoyed MPI and wanted to get involved again and represent Fadds Entertainment.

What do you hope to get from your MPI membership?
Build relationships with others in the industry to help further my business efforts.

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with? Why?
I recently did a large event at the Hilton Downtown for a company and it was a carnival theme. It's went great and Fadds did an amazing job creating the carnival theme.

Tell us more about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc.
I love planning parties and entertaining at my house. I have a sweet 17-year-old daughter, Ashley and my husband Tim. We have lived in Franklin since 1996. I help at my daughter's school, Centennial High School, and will be the PTSO President next year.
Kenneth Zahn Jr.

Current Employer and Position:
Pursell Farms, Director of Sales


How long have you been in this position?
I've been with Pursell Farms since March 2017.

Why did you join MPI?
I was a member several years ago when I lived and worked in the Nashville Hospitality Industry and it was fantastic for connecting with clients and fellow industry members

What do you hope to get from your MPI membership?
I want to connect and reconnect with industry professionals!

Tell us more about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc.
I'm very active with Crossfit and enjoy competing in local and regional competitions. I'm also a huge sports guy. I love to play and watch sports. Roll Tide!
Erica Monroe

Current Employer and Position:
HelmsBriscoe, Global Accounts Manager


How long have you been in this position?
Two months

Why did you join MPI?
I joined MPI to expand my network and build business relationships with other members.  You never know when you might need help from others, and I like to be available to others as well.

What do you hope to get from your MPI membership?
I hope to increase my exposure to new ways of obtaining business, as well as provide my assistance to others that are trying to build their business

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with? Why?
My favorite event was being a part of the Curb Your Enthusiasm filming at my old restaurant.  I was responsible for securing the contract and they filmed multiple seasons there!

Tell us more about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc.
I enjoy all kinds of music, yoga, hanging out with my dog Jason. I am also a big Asian horror film fan. I am a classically trained Chef and I enjoy whipping up gourmet meals for friends and family.