President's Message 
Wow, we sure have had the April showers, hopefully we have some dryer and warmer days ahead this month. April was a fantastic month of social gatherings. We had a great celebration of Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) at the George Jones Museum and also a great MIX event at Wildhorse Saloon. We're so glad you all came out and hopefully you made some great industry connections. 

May is here and that means our biggest event of the year is right around the corner. Our annual Circle of Excellence Awards Gala and Auction is scheduled for May 18th at the Country Music Hall of Fame. This is going to be such a fun exciting night recognizing some of our members' accomplishments in the industry. Congratulations to all the nominees, you should be very proud of yourselves. We encourage all of you to attend and also bring guests; significant others, friends, colleagues, parents, bosses, anyone really. Come one, come all. Also, be sure to check out the online action prior to the event. There are some really great items listed already and there are many more to come. All funds raised will support MPI Tennessee. 

There a lot more information about our chapter and upcoming events below. Be sure to read on. And if you haven't liked our Facebook or Twitter pages, please do so. We share lots of information through social media as well. 

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn  View our videos on YouTube

See you soon!

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
Register Now for the 2017 Circle of Excellence Awards Gala & Silent Auction
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Networking and Auction, Nominees Reception 5:30 PM
Dinner and Awards 7:00 PM
Drinks and Dancing 8:30 PM

Join MPI Tennessee Chapter and industry professionals for the annual Circle of Excellence Awards Gala & Auction hosted by the Country Music Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 18. This is one of the most popular events of the year and is on track to be the most unique, fun, and engaging gala in our chapter's history. This year's gala theme is "The Future is Now" and will feature innovative technologies that will take the guest experience to the next level. 

The silent auction will once again be powered by BiddingForGood and featured items can be viewed during the reception. We encourage you to visit the auction before the gala to register, bookmark the site to your device, and check-out the amazing donations,

New to the Gala this year is the Innovator of the Year award. This award will be presented to a member who has effectively utilized industry technology and trends to engage and educate at their meetings and events and will be voted on at the event by the gala attendees. Award nominees may be suppliers or planners. If you would like to submit a nomination, please email Kimberly Bean at

Registration deadline is May 16.
Silent Auction - 
Register at Bidding for Good

MPI Tennessee's annual silent auction is LIVE on Bidding for Good. The auction closes at 7pm on May 18th, so get your bids in early! It's simple - Just create an account, save your payment information and start bidding!  We have more than 60 items up for auction including weekend getaways, themed gift baskets filled with spirits and food, restaurant gift certificates and more. Bid high and bid often, as the proceeds from the auction help fund chapter education and scholarships. Click the link to start bidding!
2016-2017 Circle of Excellence 
Awards Nominees
Congratulations to everyone nominated for a Circle of Excellence Award. You are a big part of the success of MPI Tennessee. Without your hard work and dedication as a volunteer our chapter would not be as successful. Join us May 18th to find our who will be the 2016-2017 Circle of Excellence Award winners 

Rising Star 
This award recognizes a chapter member for their enthusiastic contributions to the chapter, involvement in a committee and demonstrated leadership ability during their first three years of membership in MPI and MPI Tennessee Chapter.

Brittany Baugh - Event Logistics, Inc.
Rip Beazley - Brown's Florist
Renny Burdick - Liberty Party Rental
Jonathan Ealy - Opera Memphis
Sandra Johnson - Tennessee Banker's Association
Kiara Jones - University of Memphis
Kayce Kinningham, CMP - Tennessee School Board Association
Jill Kopecky - EntertainmentBuy
Marisa McWilliams - SouthComm Communications
Mary Katherine Roberts - Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
Kristie Rosenblum - Christian Brothers University
Anita White - First Tennessee Bank
Chelsea Williams - Imagination Branding

Chapter Leader of the Year 
Nominees for Chapter Leader of the Year have received the Rock Star Award for their contributions to the committee(s) they serve on. 

Anita Akers - White Door Events
Brittany Baugh - Event Logistics, Inc.
Holly Carpenter - Prima
Marisa McWilliams - SouthComm Communications
Kelli Myers - Gartner
Vanessa Shake - Hard Rock Café

Planner of the Year
Erika Biddix, CMP, CMM - Biddix Meetings + Events
Rob Clifton, CMP - ConferenceDirect
Kelli Myers - Gartner
Holly Stevenson, CMP - Vyne Education
Antwone Stigall, CMP, DES - West Wing Events
Tammie Vogel, CAP-OM - International Paper
Desiree Wooldridge, CMP - Cat Financial
Shannon Yeater, CMP - Butler Snow LLP

Supplier of the Year
Rip Beazley - Brown's Florist
Cory Brooks, CMP - Specialty Planners International
Rusty Chester - Onstage
Jill Kopecky - EntertainmentBuy
Gary Musick - Gary Musick Productions
Chelsea Williams - Imagination Branding
Pillar Award  
This award recognizes an individual or company in each region who makes continuous contributions to the MPI Tennessee Chapter.

Pillar Award - Central Region
Rip Beazley - Brown's Florist
Destination Musick City
Liberty Party Rental
On Event Services
Gary Musick, Gary Musick Productions, Inc.
Valerie Summers, DMCP, Gary Musick Productions, Inc.

Pillar Award - West Region
Nikki Taylor, CSE, CTC, Doubletree by Hilton Memphis
Tiffani Wilson, Marriott International
Chapter Business Summit Recap
Erika Biddix, CMM, CMP, Incoming President Elect
I was honored to attend MPI's annual Chapter Business Summit (CBS) in Dallas this year as the Tennessee Chapter's President-Elect. What a jam-packed (and fun!) filled three days. I was able to spend quality time not just with the leadership of our chapter, but with incoming leaders from across the globe. My biggest takeaways? The industry is booming, MPI offers amazing opportunities to their membership, and being a leader is all about serving your members! The similarities between chapters are striking, regardless of size, and being able to gather ideas, solutions and professional contacts from near and far was priceless.

Cory Brooks, CMP, Incoming VP, Education
My experience at CBS (Chapter Business Summit) representing the upcoming year as VP of Education was awesome! We met in Dallas, TX and it was cool having fellow chapter leaders from all over the world get together and learn from each other and how to use the MPI Global team to help make a better experience for our members. I had the opportunity to present on some of the great ideas we have done for meetings this past year, such as CONNECT, Michael Dominguez, Carol Norfleet's Millennial program, and our Roundtables. I shared how we come up with the ideas and some of the specifics on the calendar and working with vendors. The information that was shared during the sessions was amazing! I am energized and armed with some great new ideas for the upcoming year such as how to get big name presenters and new fun and memorable formats for the meetings. Another bonus to participating in CBS was the opportunity to meet, network and exchange ideas with other chapter leaders doing the same thing. I think we will definitely be working with other chapters to make ours even better in the future. Each of us that attended came away energized and full of new ideas, so we can't wait for next year to unfold...
Calling All Nashville Hotels
You want exposure? Let's talk Hotel Sponsorship.

MPI Tennessee has an exciting and unique opportunity for hotel properties. We have launched an RFP looking for a property in Nashville to provide three sleeping rooms for our monthly Central meetings, July - June, 2018, and as a thank you, we are offering up a sweet deal. In exchange for the three rooms each month, your property will receive these benefits before June 30, 2018:
  • Logo placement in our E-Newsletter
  • One (1) tabletop display opportunity with mic time at one lunch meeting
  • Two (2) complimentary lunch registrations
  • Four (4) mentions on social media - Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Logo on MPI Tennessee website under Sponsors
  • Visual recognition at the 2018 Annual Gala
  • One (1) E-Blast bulletin to members
Interested? Please contact Jill Kopecky at for more information.
May Membership Campaign
Do you know someone who could benefit from an MPI membership? With over 17,000 members in 90 clubs and chapters, Meeting Professionals International is the largest and most vibrant global meeting and event industry association. Use promo code MPISMMay17 to receive 10% off their new membership if they join before May 31.
World Education Congress 2017

Join MPI Tennessee Chapter at WEC 2017 as we meet with other members from around the world.  WEC is June 19-22 in Las Vegas at MGM Grand. HUGE DISCOUNT!
Use code  LVCMBR17 
Looking For an Intern
If your organization has internship opportunities within the hospitality/event industry, we will share with area universities and their event planning students.  Please contact Kimberly Bean for more information.
Member Recognition: Movers & Shakers
Melanie Clifford, MPI Tennessee Chapter President 2013-2014, has been selected as Chair of the Facilitator's Program Review. This committee oversees the nomination of professional facilitators to be trained by MPI and to lead MPI Chapters in strategic planning at their biannual retreats. . Participating facilitators ensure all MPI chapters are in compliance with MPI global guidelines and bylaws and manage chapter volunteer resources through their planning.
Congratulations Melanie on this exciting appointment.
Shannon Yeater, CMP was honored on Friday, April 7 as one of Nashville's Top 30 Under 30.  This honor is awarded by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Honorees spend 5 months learning about Cystic Fibrosis and fundraising to help find a cure and "Add Tomorrows" for those with this life threatening disease. This charity spoke to Shannon's heart, and she spent time helping procure items and organize the event's silent auction. For her added efforts to help raise money, Shannon was awarded the "Adding Tomorrows Award" the night of the event.   Congratulations Shannon!
Congratulations to Mike Henry with Hyatt Place Nashville Opryland for being named Aimbridge Hospitality's Director of Sales of the Year. 
New Members in April

Allison Hooker 
Knoxville Marriott

Liza Leatherman
Alsac/St Jude Children's 
Research Hospital

Brigid O'Connell
Gibson Brands

Lisa Roberts
The University Club

Beth Wamsley
Hard Rock Cafe Nashville

Ryan Weaver
Incredible Events LLC

Debbie Whiten
The Chattanoogan Hotel

Member Anniversaries
Congratulations to our members celebrating an MPI anniversary in May!
SCourtney McGee, CMP, 26 years
Nyla Davis, DMCP, 13 years
David Fischette, 13 years
Velvet Graham, CTC, 11 years
Katie Rogers, CMP, 9 years
Jamie Hulet, HMCC, 9 years
Gary Musick, 7 years
Virginia Cochran, 4 years
Jenny Decker, 2 years
Laurie Adams, 2 years
Courtney Baer, 2 years
Sarah Rowan, 2 years
Lauren Stout, 2 years
Camille Wellington, 2 years
Tim Daugherty, CMP, 1 year
Marcus Fritz, 1 year
Kim Fuller, 1 year
Kayla Hatcher, 1 year
Chemain Kellogg, 1 year
Allie Lamb, 1 year
Cassie Nixon, 1 year
Caron Shelton, 1 year
Michelle Viera, 1 year
Anita White, 1 year
Lee White, 1 year
New Member Spotlight
Name:  Brigid O'Connell

Current Employer and Position:  Gibson Brands, Global Events Coordinator


How long have you been in this position?   I have been at Gibson Brands for one year. 

Why did you join MPI? 
I joined MPI to meet other professionals in my industry. 

What do you hope to get from your MPI membership?
I hope to form invaluable relationships with vendors and other meeting professionals. 

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with? Why?
My favorite event has been Consumer Electronics Show 2017. I was the Project Manager on this event and had many responsibilities to ensure we had a successful exhibit. 

What would you like the chapter to know about you?
I thrive when I have to multi-task and I love organizing. I worked for a year as a Magician's Assistant on Oahu.