President's Message 

Hello MPI family! How many of you joined us for Global Meetings Industry Day last month? We had two great meetings, one in the Central Region and one in the West Region. Both had amazing programs celebrating the impact meetings has on our industry and community. It was also a pleasure partnering with Tennessee Society of Association Executives and other industry partners! This is an annual industry celebration, so be sure to mark your calendars to attend next year.  Thank you to everyone who attended, thanks to our education committee, and thanks to all of our sponsors for making GMID so successful!

It's May, do you know what that means?!?! The Circle of Excellence Awards Gala and Silent Auction takes place this month! This is such an exciting chapter to recognize the achievements of our chapter and our amazing members. It's also our largest fundraiser of the year and helps cover the chapter operating expenses, educational programming, scholarships and so much more. The online auction is live now! We encourage you to shop, bid high and bid often. Don't forget to share the auction link with your family and friends. It's a public auction, and there are some pretty awesome items listed.

And if you thought this night couldn't get any better, the event is actually happening at the Grand Ole Opry! We will have backstage access to an American icon and get to experience dinner on the famous Opry stage. That being said, seating is limited. We encourage you to purchase your tickets now, as it's sure to be a sell-out event. We can't wait to see all of the nominees, members and guests for this special night.  
Our next educational program will be held in June. Be sure to watch your email and social media for more information. See y'all 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  
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
New Member/Future Member Orientation 
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
The Westin Nashville

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.   
MPI Tennessee Circle of Excellence
Awards Gala & Silent Auction 
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Grand Ole Opry
5:30pm - 10:00pm
Walk in the footsteps of the stars and join us on May 17th for an experience normally reserved for the artists at the Grand Ole Opry House! As an attendee of the 2018 Gala, you will have an all-access pass to be treated like country music royalty. Have drinks in the former home of Hee-Haw, stroll through the 18-themed dressing rooms, and step into the iconic circle before settling in for dinner and awards on the world-famous stage! You will not to miss this experience at the Grand Ole Opry House as we celebrate a tremendous year for MPI Tennessee.
Ya'll Dine & Donate 
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Rock Bottom Brewery & WestEnd Kitchen and Bar
Times Vary
Join MPI Tennessee for our "Y'all Dine & Donate" fundraising event benefitting the MPI Foundation. Rock Bottom Brewery and WestEnd Kitchen and Bar will be donating a portion of their sales to the MPI Foundation, which provides professional development and scholarship opportunities for MPI members. Grab a client, colleague or date and head over for happy hour for a good cause! More details below. 
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.
ICYMI - In Case You Missed It
Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) 2018 - Central Region

In the Central Region, we had a successful GMID celebration with our industry friends. Tripp Mitchell spoke on Emerging Trends in Event Security. Participants who attended this session got a crash course in managing event security, identifying threats, reducing risks, and diminishing vulnerabilities. We walked away with a new understanding of what to include in a security plan and got a reality check in active shooter training. We also showed up with our best Preds Pride!
Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) 2018 - West Region

The West Region celebrated GMID with speaker Terry Donald, Gulf War Veteran, minister, and graduate of the Homeland Security's Active Shooter Instructor Training Program. He gave great insight into looking at events through the lens of security and security threats. GMID attendees learned valuable information on creative action steps to take during an emergency at an event.
Silent Auction - NOW LIVE! 
MPI Tennessee's annual silent auction is LIVE on Bidding for Good. The auction closes at 7pm on May 17th, 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!  

2017-2018 Circle of Excellence Award Nominees 
MPI Tennessee is proud to announce the following nominees for the Circle of Excellence Awards. These nominees represent leadership and excellence in the meeting planning profession and were nominated by their peers. Winners will be announced at the MPI Tennessee Chapter 2018 Circle of Excellence Awards & Gala on May 17th at the Grand Ole Opry House.

Planner of the Year
Recognizes a planner member who represents leadership and excellence in the meeting planning profession along with a commitment to the local meeting community and an exemplary record of customer service in their industry.

Kelli Myers - Gartner
Angela Layton - NASBA
Sarah Brown - TN SCORE
Tammie Vogel - International Paper
Erica Monroe - HelmsBriscoe

Supplier of the Year
Recognizes a supplier member who represents leadership and excellence in the meeting planning profession along with a commitment to the local meeting community and an exemplary record of customer service in their industry.

Sharon Winter - RightLane
Ashleigh Cote - Macro Productions
Stephanie Harmon - Hotel Indigo
Brandon Terpstra - Stewart Transportation
Michael Elizabeth McQuillen - Rock Bottom Brewery
Scoobie Schneider - Scoobie's Photographic Images

New Member of the Year
Recognizes an MPI Tennessee Chapter member volunteer for their enthusiastic contributions to the chapter, involvement in a committee and demonstrated leadership ability during their first 12 months of membership in MPI and MPI Tennessee Chapter.

Erica Monroe - HelmsBriscoe
Kimberly Fuller - 1-800-DENTIST
Scoobie Schneider - Scoobie's Photographic Images

Pillar Award - West Region
Recognizes an individual or company that makes continuous contributions to the Tennessee Chapter.

Jamie Hulet
Tammie Vogel - International Paper
Peabody Hotel

Pillar Award - Central Region
Recognizes an individual or company that makes continuous contributions to the Tennessee Chapter.

Macro Productions
Liberty Party Rental
Rip Beazley - Brown's Florist
Grand Ole Opry
Michael Elizabeth McQuillen - Rock Bottom Brewery
Dwayne Bass - Bass Photography

Volunteer of the Year
Recognizes the special impact and contributions of a committee member who has volunteered his or her services to the chapter in the current year. Their active dedication, enthusiasm and numerous hours of volunteerism has demonstrated unparalleled commitment to the advancement of our chapter.

Kelli Myers - Gartner
Holly Carpenter - Deacon's New South
Sarah Brown - TN SCORE
Robert Hickman
Anita Akers - White Door Events
Melanie Blanche - Union Station Hotel
Rip Beazley - Brown's Florist
Ashleigh Cote - Macro Productions
Ya'll Dine & Donate - Benefiting the MPI Foundation 

Join MPI Tennessee on Thursday, May 31st for our "Y'all Dine & Donate" event benefiting the MPI Foundation. We currently have two local restaurants that will be giving a portion of their sales to the MPI Foundation. The MPI Foundation is a non-profit organization that fuels the advancement of MPI members by providing them with professional development and career opportunities through grants & scholarships. The MPI Foundation also funds innovative research and pan-industry initiatives that support the strategic plan of MPI.

I'm in! How can I show my support?
  •  Make a reservation with family, friends, coworkers or MPI colleagues at one of our participating restaurants!
  • Gather a group for an after-work cocktail!
  • Supplier partners - Take a client or prospect out for a meal or drinks and let them know you're supporting MPI in doing so!  
  • Share with your social media network that you're attending and encourage others to do the same!
Who's participating?
  • Rock Bottom Brewery - Happy hour between 4pm - 6pm. 10% of proceeds will be donated.
  • WestEnd Kitchen and Bar - All-day breakfast, lunch or dinner. 25% of proceeds will be donated.
Can I make a reservation? About the participating restaurants:
  • For almost twenty-five years, Rock Bottom has been pioneering the craft beer revolution! Their brewers have been awarded over two hundred national awards for their unique brewing styles. The tradition continues today at each Rock Bottom with local brewers and local chefs coming together to create bold local flavors both in our beers they brew and the food they serve.
  •  WestEnd Kitchen and Bar, set inside the lively West End neighborhood, offers an inventive take on traditional Southern cuisine. The food at is thoughtful and delicious, drawing inspiration from the culinary team's Southern heritage. The vibrant cocktail program and spirit menu is run by beverage director Megan Cross, formerly of Los Angeles' Old Lighting, and focuses on whiskeys - including a custom-blend Belle Meade bourbon, by Greenbrier Distillery. Reclaimed barn wood floors preserve character and warmth.
We Want You! 

Are you passionate about our MPI Tennessee and are looking to represent, recruit or simply serve your fellow members? Consider joining us on our Membership Committee for the 2018-2019 year! Please contact Marisa McWilliams at or 615-678-9007 and let's chat about your perfect role on our Team!

#WEC18 Pro Tips 

We are so excited about the group of MPI Tennessee members joining us for WEC in Indianapolis in June. Not registered yet? It's not too late! There's still time to register or apply for the hosted buyer program!  

First time attending? Take note of these pro tips of what to pack for WEC. 
  • Comfy shoes - There is so much to see and do, and you'll definitely hit your step goal each day.
  • Business casual clothing - You'll be interacting and making friends with lots of industry colleagues. You'll want to dress nice, but make sure you're comfortable. 
  •  Business cards and a card holder - Be prepared to hand out hundreds of business cards (and you'll gather the same amount). WEC is an amazing way to grow your professional and personal network, so come prepared!
  • A notepad and your curiosity - WEC promises to share tons of amazing ideas that you can implement in the upcoming months. They are trying a new way of presenting information this year that is sure to get your creative juices flowing!
  • Travel charger - Between the pictures and videos you'll take, you'll need to keep your phone charged.

Have questions about WEC? Check out the frequently asked questions here, or reach out to an MPI Tennessee board member!  

Third Party Planners 
MPI understands the groundswell of concern following recent announcements regarding third party commission cuts. We have nearly 3,000 third party meeting planners and small business owners within our global community, and since MPI was established 45 years ago, we have consistently provided this group with relevant, unparalleled education and networking opportunities to assist with their career advancement and business growth.
Our association remains focused on providing value to all of our members and all professionals in the industry, including this important group. Accordingly, we recently developed a new special interest group, MPI's Independent and Small Business Owners (ISBO) Community. We also enhanced the member benefits we offer to include the new ISBO MyMPI Online discussion group and new MPI Academy Virtual Small Business Summits - all of which support them in navigating and planning for success, especially in the current business environment.
In addition, thanks to support from MGM Resorts International, we are offering a special discount for third party planners on registration for our 2018 World Education Congress (WEC18). MPI is also offering independent third party planners a special rate on Preferred Planner Membership.

$200 off Planner Member WEC18 Registration for All Third Party Planners
[Offer valid through May 15, 2018 with promo code: 18IN3PP200]
30% off New and Renewing Preferred Planner Membership Level for Independent Third Party Planners only
[Offer valid through May 15, 2018, with promo code: ISBO18]

Visit our website for more information on MPI's ISBO Community and how we support them. As always, thank you for your time and for your support of MPI.
Membership Recognition: Movers and Shakers

Congratulations to Anita White, Events Marketing Manager at First Tennessee Bank, for being awarded the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Impact Award from First Tennessee National Corporate for her contributions to supporting an inclusive and diverse employee culture at First Tennessee.

Several of our members were recognized as 100 Leading Persons in Personal Services; Food & Hospitality! Congratulations to Jennye Williams, Kelly Kaplan, Shannen Stewart and Deb Kosmicki. We are so very proud of you!
New Members in April
Sara Balsom
Tennessee Medical Association
Holly McElyea
Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau
Kris Intress
Fit Farm
Anderson McLaughlin
The Crichton Group 
Sarah Kelley
Destination Musick City
Adam Smith
Mint Julep Tours 
Julie May
1212 Germantown 
Ashley Owens
Kaylee Parks
Foundations Recovery Network

Member Anniversaries
Congratulations to our members celebrating an MPI anniversary in April!
Courtney McGee - 27 years
Nyla Davis - 14 years
David Fischette - 14 years
Velvet Graham - 12 years
Jamie Hulet - 10 years
Katie Rogers - 10 years
Gary Musick - 8 years
Laurie Adams - 3 years
Courtney Baer - 3 years
Jenny Decker - 3 years
Sarah Rowan - 3 years
Lauren Stout - 3 years
Camille Wellington - 3 years
Tim Daugherty - 2 years
Caron Shelton - 2 years
Kim Fuller - 2 years
Anita White - 2 years
Lee White - 2 years
Dana Akin - 1 year
Courtney Burgin - 1 year
Bill Cakmis - 1 year
New Member Spotlights
Name: Harmony Heard

Current Employer and Position:
Westin Huntsville
- Sales Manager


How long have you been in this position?
I have been a sales manager for two years, having worked previously as the accountant for the Westin Huntsville. I love people and, fortunately, being in sales gives me the opportunity to meet so many people. I strive to make a difference and positively impact every person that I come into contact with.

Why did you join MPI? 
I joined MPI so that I could build relationships with both planners and suppliers so that we can collaborate to achieve and deliver unique, unprecedented experiences.

What do you hope to get from your MPI membership? 
Relationships, resources, friendships, referrals.

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved with? Why? 
The Taste of Huntsville would be my favorite event that I have personally been involved with. This event has a great impact on our community! Through this event, we are able to raise thousands of dollars that go to two very special local charities. I love being able to make a difference in our community.

Tell us more about yourself...hobbies, little known fact, etc. 
I strongly believe that you can do all things....anything that you put your mind to. With that in mind, I trained and entered the Our Kids Hope 5K in 2015. I actually won 2nd place for my age division, having never competed in a race before in my life!