President's Message 

What a year it's been! As I write my last President's Message, I just want to thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to serve as your MPI Tennessee Chapter President. It really has been a blessing in my life. I've grown professionally and personally, met amazing professionals in this industry and made some great new friends.

The gala last month was a night to remember! It was such an amazing night celebrating the accomplishments of our chapter, awarding some of our highest-performing members and raising funds for our chapter through the silent auction. If I didn't get to speak to you that night, I do apologize. I was hoping to speak to everyone. A HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS: Grand Ole Opry, Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Go West Creative, Schenk Photography, Marquee Event Rentals, Imagination Branding, Cort, EntertainmentBuy, DJ Russ Pollard, Destination Nashville, Macro Productions, iDitty and Natalie Murphy. 

The night would not have been possible without the leadership of our volunteers; Shannen Stewart, Director of Special Projects; David Fischette, Gala Co-Chair; Kelli Myers, Gala Co-Chair and Jill Kopecky, VP of Finance. The surprises, the nominee stars, the entertainment, the meal, the centerpieces, the lanyards, the program, the stage set, every detail was thought of.......THANK YOU! Lastly, thank you, members, for your support of our chapter and generosity during the silent auction. 

I would personally like to thank Adam Spivey, Immediate Past President and Erika Biddix, President Elect for all your support during my presidency. It's been a fun journey with my A-team! The Office of the President is a unity, trio, working together to lead this high-performing, award-winning chapter. It was better having you by my side. Also, thank you to the Board of Directors, names mentioned below. You have been amazing this year and have accomplished some incredible things. You should be very proud.
Shannon Yeater, Vice President - Membership
Chelsea Williams, Vice President - Communications
Cory Brooks, Vice President - Education
Jill Kopecky, Vice President - Finance
Tiffani Wilson, Vice President - West Region
Marisa McWilliams, Director - Member Care
Heather Dameron, Director - Communications
Kayce Kiningham, Director - Monthly Meetings
Shannen Stewart, Director - Special Projects
Katherine Page Saldana, Director - Strategic Alliance
Desiree Wooldridge, Director - Leadership & Professional Development
Valerie Summers, Director - Administration

In closing, I encourage you all to keep up the momentum by volunteering and being involved. You will see many benefits from it. I'm here as your biggest cheerleader and encourage, and please reach out if you need anything at all! I can't wait to see what the future holds for this chapter... I know it's big!

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
World Education Congress (WEC) 2018
Saturday, June 2nd - Tuesday, June 5th, 2018
Indianapolis, Indiana

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.
Summer MIX Event
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Ole Red
4:00pm - 7:00pm

Before we head into the dog days of summer, let's go to the new dog in town - Ole Red. Join us on Thursday, June 14th for a MPI Tennessee Chapter Meetings Industry Exchange (MIX) networking event. The fun evening at the brand new live music venue, Ole Red, includes delicious bites and two drinks per person.
June Central Educational Luncheon
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Al Menah Shrine Temple
11:00am - 1:00pm

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!

MPI Tennessee will also be partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank for an allergen-friendly 
food drive. Please bring your allergen-friendly, non-perishable food items including:
  • Gluten free products (like rice products)
  • Low-sodium products
  • Nut free products 
  • Soy Free products
  • Sugar Free products
June West Educational Luncheon
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Crowne Plaza Downtown Memphis
11:00am - 1:00pm

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!
ICYMI - In Case You Missed It

ICYMI... The sold-out 2018 Circle of Excellence Awards Gala was one for the books! More than 150 members and guests gathered at the Grand Ole Opry to celebrate another successful year and participate in our chapter's largest fundraiser. From the opening reception, to dinner and awards on the Opry stage, to a final send-off in the famous "circle," the night was fun-packed from start to finish. Thank you to everyone who attended, and thank you to all our great event sponsors! We couldn't have done it without you.

Silent Auction Update

On behalf of the Meeting Professionals International Tennessee Chapter, we would like to thank you for your generous donation to our 2018 Silent Auction. Your commitment to helping the meeting and events industry in our community is sincerely appreciated. Each year the MPI Tennessee Chapter continues to advance its mission of making members successful by building connections to knowledge, ideas, relationships and marketplaces. Through our monthly educational meetings, networking events, CONNECT event and more, we have helped many meeting professionals advance in their career. 

This year's auction raised more than $20,000 thanks to wonderful donors like you! These funds will help support our chapter goal of giving back to our membership through scholarships, quality programming and opportunities to advance professionally and personally. Thank you again for your generous support of the MPI Tennessee Chapter!
2017-2018 Circle of Excellence Award Winners
MPI Tennessee is proud to announce the following award winners for the Circle of Excellence Awards. These winners represent leadership and excellence in the meeting planning profession and were nominated by their peers. Be sure to congratulate them, as this is a huge accomplishment!

Planner of the Year - Angela Layton, CMP, CMM
Supplier of the Year - Ashleigh Cote
Volunteer of the Year - Holly Carpenter
New Member of the Year - Kimberly Fuller
Pillar Award, Central Region - Macro Productions
Pillar Award, West Region - Jamie Hulet, HMCC
President's Award - Michelle Johnson
Beth Calveard Volunteer Spirit Award - Holly Stevenson, CMP
Lifetime Achievement Award - Michael Owen
Central Meeting of the Year - Venue - The Engine Fueled by C3
Central Meeting of the Year - Speaker - Kayla Barrett Curry
West Meeting of the Year - Venue - The Peabody Hotel
West Meeting of the Year - Speaker - Carol Norfleet, CMP, DMCP, MBA
RISE Award 

MPI Tennessee is proud to be nominated for this year's RISE Award in Membership Achievement.  This award recognizes an MPI chapter, club, or student club for achievement in membership growth, engagement, and retention demonstrated by overall membership numbers or effective campaigns, programming, and involvement in activities.  Winners will be announced at WEC on Sunday, June 4th at the evening Pep Rally.  Make sure to follow MPI Tennessee on social media to find out if we take home the prize!
Board of Directors Retreat at Barnsley Resort
Gorgeous scenery, inspirational meeting spaces, serene settings, top notch service - this is what the incoming Board of Directors was able to experience at Barnsley Resort during their annual planning retreat. Adriane Long, an MPI Tennessee supplier member, answered our chapter's RFP for a board retreat and offered to host the group for the integral meeting. Michelle Johnson, our current President's Award winner, served as the groups' facilitator.

The Board was able to meet in varying venues - a restored church, a more standard ballroom, and finally, a front porch.  Teambuilding activities were included too - such as an Amazing Race style event that had the group literally running around all much of the 3,000 acres of the Resort. The group dined one evening in Barnsley Ruins and enjoyed a presentation by Historian Clent Coker on the true love story that started Barnsley. The next night, a magical dinner was set within a private bamboo forest.

The group was able to truly focus on teambuilding, business planning and goal setting for the year ahead. The incoming Board of Directors is EXCITED about what the new year is bringing, and offers a grand THANK YOU to Barnsley Resort for a fantastic experience!
CMP Scholarship Recipient - Michael Elizabeth McQuillen

Making the decision to become a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) was easy. It was something that I had wanted to do for a long time. Convincing myself to study instead of starting Gossip Girl for the third time was the challenging part. Getting back into the school mindset, while maintaining a fulltime job was something I had to work at every day, but attending Carol Norfleet's class helped to keep me motivated. 
I took advantage of the many webinars offered through MPI Global to get the remaining clock hours needed to qualify for the exam. Once I got the go-ahead to take the test and had it scheduled, I applied for the scholarship through MPI. I spent the next two months reading the books and going over all of the notes from Carol's class until it was time. Once the exam was over and I saw the computer screen saying "Congratulations," I felt a huge relief and sense of accomplishment. 

While I have only had my CMP for a short time, I can already see the impact that the distinction is having on my career both within my company and also with my clients. Without the tools provided through MPI and the support of the many members, I do not believe I would be carrying those three letters behind my name and for that, I am truly grateful.
Membership Recognition: Movers and Shakers

Congratulations to Sarah Brown, CMP, who recently accepted a position as Corporate Events Manager for Dollar General Corporation. We can't wait to see where this new journey takes you! 

Congratulations to MPI Tennessee's newest CMP's, Stephanie Harmon with Hotel Indigo and Courtney Burgin with Travelink. Both ladies passed their CMP exam last month, and we couldn't be prouder! 

New Members in May
Anna Kaye Gilbreath
Ernst & Young
Lindsey Paige Shell
Student - Trevecca University
Suzie Lusk
Stephanie Vess
Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa
Dusty Schleier
Barbershop Harmony Society
Jeni Williams
Icon Shears
Member Anniversaries
Congratulations to our members celebrating an MPI anniversary in May!

Rhonda Thomas - 20 years
Lyn Sholl - 13 years
Christopher Hodge - 10 years
Julie Hurst - 10 years
Cynthia Conricode - 9 years
Rhonda Selby - 7 years
Lindsay Buchanan - 6 years
Katie Bohrer - 5 years
Patricia Bilodeau - 4 years
Patricia Couch - 4 years
Lea Collins - 2 years
Brook Dilworth - 2 years
Carl Haley - 2 years
Stephanie Harmon - 2 years
Deb Kosmicki - 2 years
Kate Parrish - 2 years
Mike Severson - 2 years
Erica White - 2 years
Heather Burrow - 1 year
Kaylee Colon - 1 year
Kimberly Fuller - 1 year
Leslie Henderson - 1 year
Gene Holt - 1 year
Thomas Kenny - 1 year
April Macri - 1 year
Lee Mayer - 1 year
Kathy Olen - 1 year
Scott Pederson - 1 year
McKenzie Portelance - 1 year
New Member Spotlights
Name:  Hannah Oliver

Current Employer and Position:
Chattanooga Marriott, Group Sales Manager


How long have you been in this position?
I've been in the hospitality industry for about 9 years, but I am a complete newbie to Tennessee! I grew up and started my hospitality career in Lexington, KY. At the age of 20, I started working for a private country club where I held various positions. My longest stint was spent "booking and cooking" weddings and events. I loved every grueling minute of it! After 6 years, I decided to make the switch to hotels. Most recently, I was the Group Sales Manager for a historic hotel in Lexington called The Campbell House. At the end of March, I packed up all my stuff and moved to Chattanooga!

Why did you join MPI? 
Development and relationship building are invaluable. The great thing about MPI is that it provides opportunities for both!

What do you hope to get from your MPI membership? 
I hope to make connections with people who love this industry as much as I do. Since I'm new to the area, I want to make sure my new path is full of great people!

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with? Why? 
While at the country club, I planned around 15 social events and facilitated roughly 20 weddings per year. Each one was different and exciting in their own way. Though I do not have a singular event that sticks out as my favorite, I loved being the source of a memorable experience for someone else.

Tell us more about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc. 
In my free time, I love traveling, seeing concerts, cooking, playing softball, and exploring the area around me.
And in Closing... 
It is with both sadness and excitement that I send out my last newsletter as the Vice President of Communications for MPI Tennessee. The past three years on the Communications Committee have been an incredible journey, and I can't wait to see where this new journey takes me. I'm confident that the incoming VP of Communications, Kayce Kiningham, will take the chapter's communications to a higher level. Thank you for letting me serve you!