MAY 2020
"MPI is a heart thing, not a head thing!"
Happy May!

As we continue to all go through this pandemic together, please know that MPI Tennessee and our board of directors is here to support you in anything you need. Please make sure to check out our weekly Hot Topic Happy Hours. They have been a really great virtual option where our organization has come together to share concerns, solutions, delicious recipes, funny stories about homeschooling, and more. Our Private Facebook Group has also been a great outlet for information sharing and support. Our board is working hard to keep us all connected and informed during this time. If you have any needs or great ideas you would like to run by us, please do not hesitate to reach out. My methods of communication are always open! We hope we can share news of when we will be able to gather again soon. Until then, you’re all in my heart.
With all my love,

We hope everyone in our MPI family is staying safe and healthy as we continue to battle COVID-19 and the affects it’s having on our industry and our membership. Our board is here for you if you need anything. We hope the information below is helpful to you as we all navigate the near future. Please reach out to any of us directly if you are struggling, have questions, or just need to chat.

  • New Member Discount: Do you know anyone interested in joining MPI but is not able to afford it right now? In light of the current economic situation, MPI Global is offering a way for individuals to join as new members! Pass along the code TrustedResources2020 to anyone you know who would benefit from becoming an MPI member (expires 05/31/2020). Select this link to sign up or review membership options!

  • MPI Global Member Assistance Program: We do not want to lose any of you as members. For those whose jobs have been affected by COVID-19, MPI Global has several options to help if you are up for renewal, and they will be reaching out to you. You can also contact MPI Global directly at, call 972-702-3053, or fill out and follow the instructions in this form.

  • Update Membership Profile: If you or someone you know has new contact information, be sure to reach out to us at or 615-373-8002 so we can update that information with our chapter and MPI Global. Remember, your membership belongs to you and follows you even when your employer changes.

  • MPI Tennessee Private Facebook: We’ve been enjoying having virtual happy hours weekly. We will continue these and incorporate other ways to stay virtually connected. Join our private Facebook page to learn more about these events and to connect with the fun and informative things going on with our MPI Family.
40th Anniversary Sponsor
Platinum Sponsors
Do you want to become an MPI Tennessee Chapter
sponsor and partner with the state's largest,
most vibrant community of meeting and event professionals?
For more information, contact MPI Tennessee's Director of Strategic Alliances, Ashleigh Cote!
Thank you to the Hutton Hotel for agreeing to sponsor and host the Awards Gala & Silent Auction which would have been this month. We greatly appreciate you and can't wait to celebrate with everyone when we can meet again!
In case you missed the Hot Topic Happy Hour this past Tuesday, April 28, here is an infographic created by Ashleigh Cote with Macro Productions, LLC summing up the conversation. Thank you, Alistair Tober for a great presentation, and thank you, Ashleigh, for this wonderful takeaway!
Hot Topic Happy Hour

Join us on May 5 at 4:00pm CT for

Food Service, Room Sets, Virtual, Oh My!!! with Lori Curd Hulet

Lori will lead us in a discussion around how meetings will move forward in the future and how we can be a driving force around creating a "new normal". Submit any questions in the Facebook Event or send us a message a

**Also, bring your homemade Margs for Cinco de Mayo!! (And maybe a sombrero?)**

Select the link below to add the Hot Topic Happy Hour to your calendar and access the meeting on Tuesday.

MPI Tennessee is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 644 200 195
Futureproof Your Career | CMP Information Session

Date: May 6, 2020
Time: 11:00AM - 12:00PM

You must be registered to participate!

Certified Meeting Professional | Information Session 

Have Questions about the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) Process? There are approximately 11,000 CMP’s worldwide. Have you wondered if it was something you should do? Have lots of questions? Wondering if the things you have been told are true?

This session will cover:
  • Overview of the Certified Meeting Professional designation
  • What you need to apply
  • What materials you need to prepare
  • Information about the structure of the exam (not material on the exam)
  • Where to find resources you may need
  • And your questions!

Join industry icon and thought leader Joanne Dennison, CMP, MSEd, for this information session to learn more about the CMP designation, how to apply, sitting for the exam, and more!

You'll be able to:
  • Discover the key components of the Certified Meeting Professional designation.
  • Ask questions about the CMP process.
  • Identify what you need to apply and prepare for the exam.
New dates. New format. The same innovative events experience you expect from WEC. MPI’s World Education Congress Grapevine has been rescheduled to November 3-6, 2020.
Join us in Texas or virtually.
Reconnect. Restore. Restart Our Profession.

COVID-19 has challenged our profession. But we have been tested many times before. Each time, we’ve proved our resiliency, bouncing back more quickly than expected and serving as the guiding light for growth and stability. Because when people get together, things get done.

Our aim at WEC Grapevine will be the same as before—we’ll show you how to create authentic experiences—but with a new focus and renewed sense of purpose in light of all we’ve just been through. It will be a different WEC compared to past years, but one that’s right for you and all you work for.

So, join us in Texas, where we’ll reunite to recover, reconnect to restore, and return our profession back to the center of economic growth.
Want to continue your education or learn new skills? MPI Global has posted numerous webinars on the MPI Academy portal that are free to members and non-members. You will also find education on hybrid event production through this portal. Learn at your own pace, whether on-demand or streaming. The MPI Academy has meeting and event education designed to meet the demands of your career.
Congratulations to all of our Rockstars over the last few months!! We greatly appreciate
all you do for our industry and our chapter.
Lee Blankenship and Tara Moore are our January Rock Stars. Lee and Tara are on our 40th Anniversary Celebration committee, and they were tasked with coordinating our Past President’s Dinner at City Winery. This event went off without a hitch. They took it and ran with it, and it was more than we all could have imagined. Thank you to Lee and Tara for your great work and dedication to our community.
Christina DeNee’ is our February Rock Star for all of the work she’s done on our Education Committee. Christina expressed the desire to get involved as soon as she became a member. When asked to be the on-site day of contact for a few of our education sessions, she quickly stated that this was out of her comfort zone but she’d give it a shot and try something new. She’s been incredible in learning something new and keeping all of the pieces moving in the right direction. Christina is Lead Artist and Owner of Big Head Cartoon. Check her out at
Nathan Honeycutt is the recipient of our March Rock Star award. Nathan is owner of Macro Productions, our audio visual sponsor for educational events. In addition to sponsoring all of our educational sessions, Nathan puts in extra work each month to make sure our sessions are flawless. He’s always there at site visits, speaks up with great recommendations, and is a great strategic partner of MPI Tennessee. We are so lucky to have Nathan as a volunteer and sponsor. Check out his company for all of your AV needs including in depth knowledge of virtual platforms.
We are so excited to introduce you all to fellow members of our chapter in this "Member Spotlight" section! Check out the facts below about Sondra Noble, Owner/Co-Founder of Hip Hues.

Name: Sondra Noble
Organization: Hip Hues
Job Title: Owner/Co-Founder

How long have you been in the events and hospitality industry?
  • Since 2012! Really started in the corporate/hospitality industry in 2014 though.

Why did you join MPI?
  • To deepen our industry connections and meet even more people face-to-face in our (formerly) growing industry!

What do you hope to get from your MPI Tennessee membership?
  • LOCAL is so important to our small business. We want to work with people here and in this state to produce the best events possible. And nothing can replace vendors and suppliers helping each other! MPI is such a great medium for facilitating that, and I can't wait for in-person meetings to commence again so we can continue to help each other (and TN) grow.

What is your favorite meeting or event you have been involved in and why?
  • I had only just joined MPI before the COVID-19 crash cancelled my first 2020 in-person event, but I really liked the MPI meeting last fall where we did a trick or treat networking activity with business cards. Such a fun idea!

Tell us more about yourself…hobbies, little known fact, etc.
  • I'm from Columbus, Ohio, so I'll always be a Buckeye at heart. O-H!
  • It's ironic that I live in Nashville, Music City, and I don't actually do anything musical since that IS my passion. I play the piano, I sing (I was in show choir + I was director of my a cappella group in college), and I'm also a tap dancer. I miss just singing for fun, but everyone's trying to 'make it' here, so I just don't do it anymore. Takes the fun right out of it!
  • I'm also the eldest of 4 and I adore my giant fur baby and my real baby (who's now 3, crazy). My husband is faculty at Vanderbilt, and we both got our undergraduate and graduate degrees from Vanderbilt (that's what brought me to Music City in 2004).
  • Family is everything to me, as are friends. And what I love about this industry is that I've made SO MANY new friends through the Meetings and Events world in Nashville. You all ROCK!

What would you sing at karaoke night?
  • I'm a 90's girl all day long, so definitely something from No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom. Or Celine Dion/Whitney Houston if we were a few drinks in...I mean, LEGENDS.

What makes you laugh the most?
  • What a good question! Ridiculous movies are definitely what make me laugh the most. Top 5 off the top of my head: 1. Dumb and Dumber, 2. The Hangover, 3. Wedding Crashers, 4. I Feel Pretty (Amy Schumer), and 5. Christmas Vacation. I'm very high brow.

Which decade do you love the most and why?
  • 90's for sure! Hanging out at the movie theater, Delia's catalogues, '90s jams, dance parties, baggy clothes, chokers and chunky shoes, discmans, AIM and ridiculous screen names...what more could you ask for?!

You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what is it? Diet Coke? Sushi? Scotch Tape?
  • Wine. Wine. Wine. Studying abroad in Tuscany ruined me for life
We want to know more about you! Our membership is diverse, and we have grown so much over the last few years. We want to recognize each of you and help all of us feel more connected by learning more about each other.

Click on the link below to fill out our Member Spotlight form. We will include your responses in newsletters, social media posts, and other MPI Tennessee communications. Don't forget to include your picture!
Congratulations to Tammy Gilbert Cardona, CMP and her husband, César , on the birth of their son, César Tomás Cardona!! He was born on Friday, April 23, 2020 at 11:01pm. We are so happy for your family, and we know Alejandra will be a great big sister.
As we start to reopen business after the COVID-19 "Safe At Home" orders, we know businesses will start to re-hire their employees. However, some businesses will need new candidates to join their team. If your organization is looking for a new team member, click this link to fill out  the online job submission form, and we will make sure to include it in our next MPI Tennessee Newsletter and on social media.
New to the family in April
Becki Annastas
Dream Events & Catering

Suzanne Bradford
The Hermitage Hotel

Tiffany Carpenter

Dionne Edwards
Sweet Relief, Inc.

Patricia Garner

Michael Glover
Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

Laura Hayden, CTP
Spellman Travel Partners

Morgan Howell
Brooklyn Bowl

Brendan Johansen
Williamson County CVB/Visit Franklin
Lisa Kitchen

Vivian Li

Jayne Morris
Tennessee Titans

Ilex Pounders
Made in TN

Sara Putnam
Vanderbilt University, School of Nursing

Maggie Serafin
Nashville Zoo

Jenelle Spicer

Kyla Tennin, DM(c), LSSWB, PMEC, MBA, BA
Lady Mirage Global

Abigail Volkmann
Abigal Volkmann Photography
Congratulations to our members celebrating an MPI anniversary in May!
Courtney A. McGee, CMP - 29 years
David A. Fischette - 16 years
Velvet C. Graham, CTC - 14 years
Katie L. Rogers, CMP - 12 years
Gary S. Musick - 10 years
Camille Wellington - 5 years
Sarah Rowan - 5 years
Kim Fuller, CMP - 4 years
Anita M. White, CMP - 4 years
Caron Shelton, CMP - 4 years
Michael Farrell - 3 years
Courtney Burgin, CMP - 3 years
Kate Parrish - 2 years
Lindsay Paige Shell - 2 years
Hayley Baker - 2 years
Shannon Andrews - 1 year
Lucy Miller Loveless - 1 year
Amanda Obermeyer - 1 year
April Leyman - 1 year
Ashley Jensen - 1 year
Christina DeNee' Reilly - 1 year
Anna Utzig - 1 year
Alexa Roncancio - 1 year
Sara Overstreet - 1 year
Benjamin Prom - 1 year
Angela Jackson - 1 year
*Note: If you notice that your designation or years of membership are wrong, or you don't see your name, your profile on MPI Global's website may need to be updated! Log in to your profile on to make changes, or contact us at 615-373-8002 if you have any questions.