President's Message  
Happy New Year MPI Tennessee Chapter!!  I hope each of you had a wonderful holiday season with your families and friends. 
There are lots of new things to be so excited about this year!
First, I'm excited to be your new MPI Tennessee President. Our board usually transitions in July but since I have been on maternity leave, and after a little begging, Adam and Tammy graciously stayed in their roles for another six months. Now it's my turn! I cannot thank Adam and Tammy enough for all of your hard work, leadership and guidance for me and this chapter. Tammy will now be stepping off of the Board of Directors to focus on other obligations with her career, MPI Global and family. Adam will remain on the board as Immediate Past President through June of 2018. My term as President will end in June of 2018 as well. Adam and I have been working closely on the transition and we assure you we will not skip a beat. I'm very excited to be your next President.
Second, during our holiday party, held at the Hermitage Hotel in December, we incorporated a new element, the auction. Most of the fundraising for our chapter to fund education, scholarships, etc. is done through the auction, which is typically held in conjunction with our Gala in May or June. To relieve some of that stress from our board, we decided to hold a smaller auction in December, which is great for some holiday shopping. During the event we raised just over $5,000!! With this being the first holiday auction we are very excited about this success. We will begin promoting and planning the May auction soon, so stay tuned.
As you all are aware, our friends in East Tennessee experienced a tragic fire in Gatlinburg and Sevier County right after Thanksgiving. MPI Tennessee pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds from our holiday silent auction to Dolly Parton's "My People Fund." With your help, we were able to donate $500 to help our friends in the East. If you would like to make a personal donation, you may do so by clicking  here . We ask that you continue to pray for this state, the city, the families and businesses that were affected. We know they will rebuild but it will be a long process. 
Third, the January luncheon in the central region will be held at the newly renovated Franklin Marriott Cool Springs. Many people create goals or resolutions for things they may want to change or do this year. Michelle Johnson 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. It's sure to be a helpful and motivating discussion. We hope you plan to join us, click  here  to register. We are also having a meeting in the West region this month. The meeting is scheduled for January 11th at the DoubleTree by Hilton East, Memphis. Betsy Bondurant, CMM, CTE will discuss how strategic meetings management can enhance the the meeting experience. It's sure to be an insightful event. Click  here  to register.  
Lastly, our Connect Education and Marketplace event is quickly approaching and will be held at the new Westin Nashville. It's sure to be a great day filled with networking, education, round-table discussions and connections made with others in our industry. We received great feedback from the event last year and this one will be even better. Our speakers even include some of our very own MPI Tennessee past Presidents. I encourage you to mark your calendars and join us. Registration is open, click  here
While the year may be new and our events will surely hold some new elements, our chapter is still the same smart, friendly, fun bunch of people. I look forward to seeing what's in store for us!  

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....
West Region
Strategic Meetings Management - Adding Value to the Participant Experience
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
DoubleTree by Hilton East
5069 Sanderlin Ave, Memphis, TN 38117

You may think that strategic meetings management programs have little to do with the end experience. After all, the main goal is to save money, right? SMM is more than just cost savings. In this session, consider how strategic meetings management can help enhance the experience of all meeting participants and discuss strategies for capitalizing on these efforts with your peers.
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
Upcoming Community Service Projects

Do you have gently used coats in your closet that you don't wear?

Bring them to the January meeting! MPI Tennessee is collecting gently used coats for the Nashville Rescue Mission. The Mission houses anywhere between 500 and 800 people a night, and many of them don't have winter coats.

A donation bin will be set out at registration. If you have any questions, please reach out to Deb Kosmicki at
ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) 

Thank you to the Special Projects Committee for an amazing Holiday Party!

We want to give a big shout-out to our sponsors for helping make this event happen: The Hermitage Hotel - Nashville, Classic Event & Tent Rentals & Brown's Florist. Thank you for your support of MPI Tennessee.

And finally, thank you to all of our members and future members who attended and joined in the celebration. It was an awesome ending to a great year for our chapter.
Silent Auction Results! 
We are proud to announce that the winter Silent Auction raised over $5,000! Thanks to everyone who attended our Holiday Party & Silent Auction and to everyone who bid on items.

Following the fires in Gatlinburg and Sevier County, MPI Tennessee pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds from our Holiday Silent Auction to Dolly Parton's "My People Fund." With your help, we were able to donate $500 to help our friends in the East.
MPI International Committee Appointments
We are so proud to have 4 members representing the Tennessee Chapter in MPI Global Committees, Task Forces, and Advisory Councils. Congratulations.

Melanie Clifford - Chapter and Membership Advisory Council
Tammy Gilbert Cardona, CMP - Chapter and Membership Advisory Council
Antwone Stigall, CMP, DES - Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force
Angela Layton, CMP, CMM - Professional Development Task Force
Needs Assessment Update
Our chapter is focused on the needs of our members and greatly value your feedback. We appreciate your feedback from our recent Needs Assessment Survey. Our board of directors plans to review these during our retreat this month. We'll share some of the feedback and our action plan in next month's newsletter. Thank you members your participation and remember the MPI Tennessee Board of Directors is always happy to receive your feedback. You don't have to wait for a survey.

We would also like to congratulate Shannon Worley for winning our $100 Visa gift card.

*Winner was selected using
Membership Incentives for January 2017
Future Members: Do you know someone who is considering joining MPI? Now is a great time with this January promotion. Use promo code NewMPI17 before February 1 to save 10% on membership dues.

Current Members: Renew your MPI membership in January to be entered into a drawing for one of two great prizes. The winner will pick either one! Either a Complimentary CMP Study Kit or 1 year extended MPI membership. Renew today!
Member Recognition
Congratulations to Valerie Summers and Susan Raque for earning your DMCP's. We're so proud of you!
Congratulations to Lauren Stout, who has been named the new Director of Sales for Fontanel Nashville. 
Congratulations to Lindsay Buchanan, CMP and MPI Tennessee Chapter Executive Director, for her promotion to Manager of Meetings & Conferences, Association Management, and Groups at Travelink, American Express Travel. Lindsay, so well deserved!
New Members in December

Terrie Aldridge
Corporate Encore Entertainment, LLC

Lauren Ashley
GCFA, The United Methodist Church

Sharon Beasley
The University of Memphis

Vanessa Burse
Caesars Entertainment National Meetings and Events

Chelsea Glass
Mahaffey Tent & Event Rentals

Nathan Honeycutt
Macro Productions

Laura Hyde
Belmont University

Fiona Lipscomb
GCFA, The United Methodist Church

Debi Neal
The Guest House at Graceland

Joselyn Smotherman
CRAVE Catering

Elliot West
Gray Line of Tennessee
Member Anniversaries
Congratulations to our members who are celebrating an MPI anniversary in January!

Janice McCallen, 15 years
Eva Goodson Eagen, 13 years
Deborah Cohen, 6 years
Amy Grow, 5 years
Adam Spivey, 5 years
Teresa Ogden, 5 years
Stephanie Lund, 4 years
Desiree Wooldridge, 3 years
Brandon Terpstra, 3 years
Kelly Wise, 2 years
Bobbie Beach, 2 years
Susan Raque, 2 years
June Swartz, 2 years
Lindsay Hensley, 1 year
Sara Holifield, 1 year
Lori Jenkins, 1 year
Mary Roberts, 1 year
Michael Adams, 1 year
Sandra Johnson, 1 year
James Liggett, 1 year
Hayley Field, 1 year
Rip Beazley, 1 year
Jamie Shirley, 1 year
Madison-Kate Sullivan, 1 year
Samantha Dorsey, 1 year

New Member Spotlight
Name:  Fiona Lipscomb 

Current Employer and Position:  General Council on Finance and Administration, Travel and Meeting Planning Lead


How long have you been in this position?   One year 

Why did you join MPI? 
To network and to continue to stay on trend and up to date with the evolving world of meeting planning.

What do you hope to get from your MPI membership?
To meet new people in the Nashville area who come from a similar background and career, and to become more engaged with MPI through volunteerism. 

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with? Why?
This is a hard question to answer as I have worked in many different facets of meetings: corporate, non-profit, fund-raising, weddings, incentive groups. I would have to say the best events I worked on was when I worked at Sun City in South Africa as their International CSM. We had very diverse groups, with unlimited budgets, so we arranged black tie dinners after safaris in the middle of the wilderness, and beach parties at the wave pool or corporate themed events inside the large arena. Budget was not an issue - those events are the best plan!

What would you like the chapter to know about you?
I have spent most of my career in meeting planning, both on the supplier side as a Convention Services Manager in the hotel industry, as well as a meeting planner in the non-profit markets.

I speak fluent French, and conversational Italian and Afrikaans, having grown up in South Africa. I love travel, with my favorite country being France, and recently fulfilled my dream of owning property in the south of France, by purchasing a house there in January last year, which I rent out to holiday makers.
Name:  Elliot West 

Current Employer and Position:  Gray Line of Tennessee, Charter Sales/Account Manager


How long have you been in this position?   I've been working for Gray Line for almost 2 years now. 

Why did you join MPI? 
To have the opportunity to network.

What do you hope to get from your MPI membership?
To learn from others already in the organization and to network. 

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with? Why?
Still waiting to attend my first event since I joined a couple weeks ago.

What would you like the chapter to know about you?
I'm from the Nashville area originally - Brentwood HS. Have a 3 year old Golden Retriever named Tucker. Sports Fanatic!