My year as VP of Education for Meeting Professionals International Tampa Bay chapter is coming to a close. It has been a labor of love with a lot of hard work. Each of us were asked to write about why get involved in MPI and what makes it so special to us.
I think we all agree that we have made friends and strategic alliances that would not have been possible through any other means. It is fun, interactive and a place where relationships are built. I was NOT an MPI fan when I was a VP of Sales at TradeWinds … all my staff wanted to go and I thought it was a waste of time and money … of course, the queen of monthly reports is looking at source of business and no one ever shouted about MPI as the lead source. I thought it was just a social club. Once I got involved, I saw the strength of those relationships and encourage EVERY sales manager to document the lead source as MPI!
My first meeting was the very first Meetings Academy. Later that year I was attracted to the Meetings Marketplace. I joined immediately after and started getting involved. Jocie Rivera had been my contact at the StarLite Cruises. They had graciously hosted my team for a lunch cruise and Jocie had done a presentation to my staff. I didn’t know her well but she started connecting me with volunteer opportunities right away. Before I knew it I was entrenched in contacting speakers and working on logistics for the educational programs. Jocie also told her boss Carol Eaves about me and next thing I knew, I was logistics chair for the joint Meetings Academy Meetings Marketplace. What a blast!!! Lots of work but so rewarding and as it turns out all the relationships I had in my past were involved in some way so it gave me purpose to connect to them. I have met countless new people as well and established great relationships.
I just found an email to my family last year titled: Pride … (I was wearing an apron for our cooking demo)
Member of the Month
In January 2009 Linda opened A2Z Meetings & Events to assist captive planners in site selection and contract negotiations. The A2Z concept provides the helping hand in all aspects of meeting and event planning whether managing a single event or a full multi-day conference. In Addition to running her own operation, she has demonstrated great attention to detail, flexibility, dedication to success, and commitment to MPI. Linda has been a tremendous asset to the TBAMPI Education Committee and to the national MPI organization. Linda has served actively on the Special Events Committee (including the Meetings Marketplace) and has consistently participated in Monthly Meetings and “MPI After 5” events. She has single-handedly steered the South Market Focus group from a tiny meeting to a highly thought out, multi-dimensional and cross industry opportunity for TBAMPI members and guests.
Congratulations to Linda Elland, Tampa Bay Area MPI Chapter’s Member of the Month for May, 2010!
The true test of “Why MPI” was challenged in August when I client I had courted for 5 months finally called 3 weeks prior to the meeting and was in need of someone to “pull all the pieces together”. I had to hire an exhibit company, printer, security, models, AV, temp help and execute the program. The client had a real problem letting go and everything was last minute to the point of being Mission Impossible. My friends at MPI came riding in on the white horse to help pull this together and made me look great in front of the client. One of the first things I ask when working with a supplier is “Are you a member of MPI?” If they say no, I let them know that MPI members get preferred status and then I give them information on how to join.
A recent reward of being on the board was in contacting past members and a gal I had worked with 20+ years ago was on that list. We had lost contact and here she is in my backyard! Because of MPI we have reconnected and shared great memories. She has not seen this photo … well, not in 20+ years anyway!
Of course being on the board of MPI has truly been a major blessing. Seeing the inner workings of the organization and how focused and member driven the action steps are. It is wonderful to be associated with professionals who possess such passionate leadership styles. Having a chance to work with International has also been a gift. Booking and meeting incredible speakers and learning more about the personalities and drivers that make them so successful is another great reward. Organizing meaningful, memorable educational programs has given me purpose as this wonderful industry has been more than a career … it has been a lifestyle that carries many privileges and responsibilities and I have been blessed to share both through Tampa Bay MPI. I would enjoy helping you put the pieces of your next meeting together with the same Pride, Passion & Purpose! http://www.a2zmeetingsandevents.com/