PlanIt Tennessee
President's Message  
Hey June!

What an amazing Circle of Excellence Awards Gala and Silent Auction!  It was such a fun evening and once again congrats to all the nominees you should feel honored for being part of such a special group. Huge congratulations to all the winners you are now part of an elite group!!  A huge shout out to these talented people who made it happen!  The gala chair Marisa McWilliams, auction chairs Beth McDaniels and Kate Shattuck, Angie Smith, Gregory Woodruff, Erika Biddix and the very caffeinated Desiree Wooldridge!  This night wouldn't have been possible without all of our sponsors so thank you, thank you, thank you!  Doubletree Nashville Downtown, Destination Musick City, OnStage, Quest Drape, Over the Top Linens, Schenk photography, Browns Florist and Snyder Entertainment!

Moving on to WEC.  Our chapter has 28 people headed to Atlantic City to get our education, networking and family bonding on!!  Please watch our social media outlets for all the action because it is going to be an experience for sure!

Lastly we have our rescheduled January Central luncheon and that will take place on June 29 in Studio A at the Grand Ole Opry House with Steve Buchanan - Opry Entertainment Group President and Executive Producer for Nashville, Colleen Cussick - OnStage and Jill Kopecky - Entertainment Buy.

To all our new members welcome to the family!!

See Y'all soon!
In This Issue
Our Sponsors
Platinum Partners


Gold Partners 
The Peabody Memphis
Do you want to become an MPI:TN sponsor and partner with the state's largest and most vibrant community of meeting and event professionals?

For more information, contact Colleen Cussick, Director of Strategic Alliances for MPI:TN!

Looking to make a job change or know someone is?  Check out the positions available at
Circle of Excellence Awards Gala & Auction 

The 2016 Circle of Excellence Awards Gala and Silent Auction was a huge success.  Over 150 members and guests gathered at the DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown to celebrate another successful year and participate in our largest fundraiser of the year!  We are proud to announce over $16,000 was raised during the auction process!  These dollars go towards our educational programs, scholarships for membership, conference attendance and certificate programs and chapter operational expenses (website, executive director, taxes, insurance, supplies, etc.). Thank you to everyone who donated, bid and bought items. And, congratulations to the Circle of Excellence Award winners. MPI Tennessee appreciates your time and dedication to the chapter.

To view a complete list of Award Descriptions, click here. 

Pillar Award
East Region
Melanie Clifford
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Pigeon Forge

Central Region
Jamie Hulet, Grand Ole Opry Entertainment Group

West Region
Antwone Stigall, CMP, West Wing Events

Rising Star
Chelsea Williams, Imagination Branding

Chapter Leader of the Year
Chelsea Williams, Imagination Branding

Beth Calveard Volunteer Spirit Award
Carol Norfleet, CMP DMCP

President's Award
East Region
Melanie Clifford
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Pigeon Forge

Central Region
Angela Layton CMP CMM, NASBA
Robyn Bass, Maple Ridge Events

West Region
Tiffani Wilson, Marriott International

Supplier of the Year
Jamie Hulet
Grand Ole Opry Entertainment Group

Planner of the Year
Shannon Yeater
Butler Snow

Meeting of the Year
East Region - Lights, Cameras, Microphones!
  • Speaker -  Colleen Cussick, OnStage
  • Sponsors - Hilton Knoxville Airport, OnStage

Central Region - Understanding Your Leverage

  • Speaker - Michael Dominguez, MGM Grand Resorts
  • Sponsor - Hilton Garden Inn Nashville Downtown

West Region - Past President's Road Trip

  • Speakers - Sheryl Baker, The Peabody, Robyn Bass, Maple Ridge Events, Carol Norfleet, CMP DMCP, Destination Nashville and Caroline Platz, Loews Vanderbilt Hotel
  • Sponsors - DoubleTree by Hilton East Memphis, Grand Avenue, Nolan Inc.
Circle of Excellence Awards & Silent Auction
Thank you to everyone who made the Circle of Excellence Awards Gala and Silent Auction a success!  This year's sponsors went over and above. 

In case you did not attend the Gala here is what you missed....

Below are just a few of the comments shared from the attendees.

"Loved the elegant theme!  Great decor for the event."

"Great evening though - it was so much fun. Loved the Live! from the red carpet duo."


"I thought that this year's event was a home-run!!  The nominee/past president reception was an excellent addition to the evening.  I loved the panels that highlighted the nominees - it really placed a higher level of acknowledgement to all of the nominees which is such an important part of the celebration."

"It was an excellent event, great pace, great food, exciting awards presentation - - -just all around FUN!"
Upcoming meetings and events....
The January 2016 program that was cancelled due to weather has been rescheduled for June 29.  Same topic.  Same location.  Hopefully no snow!
Central Region
The Effects, The Booking, and The Behind the Scenes
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Studio A at the Grand Ole Opry House
2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37214

The Results Are In.... 
We greatly appreciate and value all your feedback not only on the Global Chapter Satisfaction survey but also on the local chapter satisfaction and meeting surveys.

You may recall taking the MPI Global Chapter Satisfaction survey in February.  We just received the results and MPI Tennessee ROCKS!  Our overall chapter satisfaction is a 9.14 out of 10!  The overall list of chapter rankings was not released, but with a score like that we have to once again be in the top four chapters in the world. 

To quote Adam Spivey, "That's freakin' awesome, Ya'll!"
New and Future Member Orientation 
We would like to invite you to come to our NEW MEMBER Orientation on June 21st at the Hutton Hotel from 4:30-5:30pm.  The orientation will introduce you to other members and provide you with information that will help make your MPI membership work best for you!   We are a fun and enterprising group, and we believe in utilizing our talents to help the chapter as a whole.  You are an important part of the chapter and we want you to feel at home and a part of your organization!!

Please RSVP to
Scholarships Are Available!  
As an international organization, and as a chapter, MPI and MPI Tennessee are committed to giving back to their members.  This includes educationally, professionally and personally.  One of the best ways we do this is through scholarships, which you, as a member, can apply for!

The MPI Foundation provides scholarships in varying amounts throughout the year.  You can visit to learn more and apply, but here is a quick list of what is available:
  • Conference Scholarships - These can be used to cover registration and/or travel to IMEX, WEC and EMEC, all conferences hosted by MPI
  • Membership - Scholarships are available for planners and suppliers that cover the cost of one year of membership.
  • Professional Development - These scholarships can be used to cover the registration, program fees and travel costs for obtaining the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM), Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate (HMCC), and the Experiential Event Series.
Additionally, MPI Tennessee offers scholarships to our chapter members. Information and an application can be found at

Scholarships are awarded quarterly, with deadlines on March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1.

Similar to the MPI Foundation, the chapter offers scholarships for membership fees, WEC Conference Fees, and registration and exam fees for the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM).
MPI Global Offers New Professional Development Opportunities
The Event Design Certificate course offered by Event Model Generation and supported by San Diego State University and Meeting Professionals International is a three day program that will help meeting professionals design better events and create value for stakeholders.  Click here to learn more.

The CMM, Certificate in Meeting Management, program delivers one global standard of excellence that will bolster your business management skills and advance your career.  Learn more about the CMM here.
Are you interested in being involved with MPI on a global level?
MPI is seeking industry champions who are passionate about the meeting and event industry and wish to assist MPI in its strategic advancement toward being the first choice for professional career development and a prominent voice for the global meeting and event community. We are now accepting applications for the International Board of Directors as well as the International Council.  Below are the deadlines and the link to where you can find all the details on the MPI Global website.

IBOD applications are being accepted now through June 15th

International Council applications will begin accepting application on September 1-30th.
Jackie Marko, DMCP, of Destination Nashville has received her CMP.

Way to go Holly Stevenson, CMP, on her recent promotion to Corporate Meeting Manager at Cross Country Education.

The winner of the MAY - The FORCE be with you - Referral Drawing - Michelle Harbin, Nashville & Visual Elements
Second Quarter Community Service - Second Harvest Food Bank  
Thank you to everyone who volunteered at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee on May 25.  MPI Tennessee members sorted, boxed and packed 2,209 pounds of food!
New Member Spotlight
Name:  Anita Sullivan-Akers 

Current Employer and Position:  CrossBRIDGE Inc - Catering Manager

How long have you been in this position?   1 year

How long in the industry?  20+ years

Why did you join MPI:TN?
Networking possibilities.

What do you hope to get from your MPI:TN membership?
To meet like-minded planners and to introduce CrossBRIDGE Catering into the Corporate segment of Nashville.

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with?  Why?
Blue Jeans and Boots Bash.  This is the annual fundraiser for CrossBRIDGE Inc. that is held at the Cordelle - a truly hope inspiring, spirit lifting event!

What would you like the chapter to know about you?
I've just recently starting riding bike riding hobby on the greenway and I love it!

Name:  Chemain Kellogg

Current Employer and Position:  Holiday Inn World's Fair Park - Corporate Sales Manager

How long have you been in this position?   2 months

How long in the industry?   2 years

Why did you get into the meeting and event industry?
Overall, I LOVE Hospitality. It is what I have been made to do, just hadn't ever tied it all together until now in my life. I have 27yrs of experience in caring for customers. 10+ yrs. of managing, motivating, building and training teams. And 9+ yrs. in sales. Added to which, travel, events, relationships and great experiences are passions and purposes of mine.

What do you enjoy the most and least about the industry?

I Love the relationship building and the trust building. The gratification of that accomplishment is downright addicting. Nothing like making a planner walk away a major Rockstar. I guess what I like the least are the inevitable incontrollables that pop up. But what can you do for that really? They will always be a part of the process and life is 80% how you react to it anyway.

What is your favorite meeting or event you have held?  Why?
I guess that would be the annual Recruiters meeting with TeamHealth. That was a diligently worked and sought after client and it was everything meetings should be. Energetic, fun, vibrant and business. That meeting was an in-house referral from TeamHealth, from one department to another and we have deepened our relationship and trust within that organization and it was a heck of a lot of fun getting there and room to grow as well!

Where is your favorite meeting or event location?  Why?
Well my property of course. We have a gorgeous park in our backyard that we are licensed to cater to. A museum of modern of art that we can cater to. An observation deck called the Sunsphere we can cater into. And an amphitheater in our backyard we can also cater into, all in our backyard. So in addition to the beauty of our property, our walls extend out into some really exciting areas that are gems to Downtown Knoxville.

What advice would you give someone entering the industry?
Be tough, be honest, be tenacious, be transparent, get out of your comfort zone, be turned on by "No's", raise your team up, and accept that not all business opportunities are a good fit for your property, be open and present because that is the only way that your creativity will flow, and have fun!

Tell us something about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc.

Happy wife of 22yrs, mom of two high schoolers, I cannot be outside enough, travel is my pulse if I have gone too long without it I get grouchy, I plan travel around food and I am deeply spiritual.

If you weren't in the meeting and event industry what would you be doing?
I could probably pretty easily be a park ranger, would love to be a travel writer with my AMAZING photographer husband and that's about it
And in closing...
It is with sadness and excitement that I send out my final newsletter as Vice President of Communications for MPI Tennessee.  The past two years have been amazing.  I'm confident Desiree Wooldridge, the incoming VP of Communications, will take the chapter's communications to a higher level.  Thank you for letting me serve you!

Jamie Hulet