Meeting Professionals International Chicago Area Chapter

Meeting Professionals International Chicago Area Chapter

Building a Rich Global Meeting Industry Community

Annual Report

2008-2009 news & views | summer 2009 13

Looking Back...

WWow, what a year! As I reflect on the last 12 months,

I am so proud of all of the wonderful accomplishments

our Chapter has achieved.

Chapter this year, along with all of our former leaders

and volunteers that provided the strong foundation

for this success.

Progress takes work, and with the support and

dedication from our volunteers, we made a commitment

to elevating our resources for our members

this past year.

We kicked off our year by introducing our new

management team, Meeting Expectations, led by

Beth Chitnis, Executive Director, to support the

advancement and mission of our organization in an

increasingly fast-paced future.

While we could not have forecasted the unique

circumstances our industry would be faced with

the later part of the year, we were able to remain

strong and support the needs of our members.

Although we did not reach the anticipated growth

rate we had in previous years, we were able to

maintain one of the highest retention rates at an

average of 77.75%, while achieving a record number

of student memberships with 106 current student

members. With just over 1,300 members, we

continue to remain the world’s largest MPI Chapter.

Our leadership team continues to support the advancement

of technology by committing the financial

support of our new website. A dedicated Task

Force continues to work hard to lay the foundation

for the new, scheduled to launch

this summer.

A special note of thanks to our current Board of

Directors, committee leaders and all of our volunteers

who helped contribute to the success of our

Laurel Rhoads McCarthy, CMP and

Jonny Imerman, Imerman Angels, Founder

When I arrived to Chicago back in 2003, without a job

or network of friends, I would have never imagined

where my MPI membership would have taken me.

Words cannot begin to express my gratitude and appreciation

for the honor and privilege to have served

as your Chapter President this past year.

It has truly been a memorable journey. Thanks for

your support!

Best wishes on your continued success,

Laurel Rhoads McCarthy, CMP

Krisam Group

2008 - 2009 President

14 annual report | 2008-2009

Looking Ahead...

TThe new year will bring the MPI Chicago Area

Chapter member community both opportunities

and challenges. To help ease your way, MPI-CAC will

be doing its utmost to keep meeting industry professionals

informed of the latest industry news and

events, plus plugging you into the latest technology

and educational offerings to make your networking

and business connections move even faster.

You will be served by dedicated board and committee

leaders composed of caring and energetic

individuals. We are in leadership positions to serve

you—please challenge us to create a continuously

vibrant member community for you.

We also understand that it is tough out there; the

economy is impacting all of us here in Chicago.

MPI-CAC leadership is prepared to help point you

to career resources from both MPI headquarters

and those here at home.

Of course, an MPI member’s greatest asset is in

the contacts you develop and maintain. Chapter

leadership will be working hard to gain new

members in areas of the meeting industry that are

outside our traditional base of corporate and association

planners. Hopefully this member campaign

will also provide new business and potential career

pathways for our current members.

MPI-CAC will also strive to make the world’s largest

MPI chapter a global leader, providing you with

insight on what MPI chapters around the world

are doing and how developing business connections

with them are just a keystroke away. We will

achieve that by building the inter-chapter human

relationships to support your expanding international

referral base.

I am honored to serve as your Chapter President

in the coming year. You are a wonderful and hospitable

membership. I challenge each of you to help

our fellow members through these tough times by

both listening to each other’s personal needs and

striving for win-win solutions in the business arena.

Our greatest opportunity is in helping each other

through this economic rough patch.

My best to you and yours for a successful and healthy


Chrissy Ward, CAE

Society of Gynecologic Oncologists

2008-2009 President-Elect annual report | 2008-2009 15

Strong Financial Foundation

MMPI-CAC has enjoyed a rich history of continued

growth and financial stability since its inception in

1977. Our former Chapter Presidents have led us

through some turbulent times and have successfully

run our Chapter as a financially sound business.

The success of this Chapter’s financial history did

not happen overnight, and again we applaud and

give thanks for all of our former volunteer leaders

that paved the road for our success today.

As we began to plan our forecast for our 2008-09

program year, our Board of Directors felt it was

time to make some hard financial decisions that

would align the strategic goals of our Chapter while

supporting the needs of our members.

Accountant and Graphic Designer with Meeting

Expectations, headquartered in Atlanta. Our leadership

team felt that our Chapter had reached a

milestone in our history in which we needed additional

support to help provide a stronger foundation

for our continued growth.

Investment in Advanced Technology

Numerous volunteers dedicated countless hours

to researching the requirements needed to provide

a more sophisticated website allowing for

improved communication and support to our

members. We are pleased to report that the

new website is scheduled to be

launched later this summer. In addition, watch for

the introduction of educational webinar programming

and the use of web conferencing to advance

leadership development.

Successful Strategic Partnership Program

MPI-CAC would not be able to provide the level of

education, professional networking opportunities

and leadership support to our members without

the contributions from over 100 major sponsors. A

new Strategic Partnership Program was launched

last July providing sponsors cumulative benefits

and recognition throughout the year for their support.

The program was a great success resulting in

the ability to offer a new Education Program at no

cost to the attendees.

Increased Management Support

Our 2008-09 budget forecasted the increased revenue

dollars to cover the support of a larger management

team, which included both an Executive

Director here in Chicago, as well as the support

services of an Association Manager, Financial

Chapter Support for the MPI Foundation

The MPI Foundation provides monies in the way of

scholarships, grants and other operating support

to our 70 chapters and clubs worldwide. Our Chapter

supported these efforts by donating 100% of the

proceeds from our Town Hall Meeting that kicked

off our new year last July.

16 annual report | 2008-2009

2008-2009 Chapter Highlights – Membership

TThe drastic change in the state of the economy this

year required quick responses and flexibility in our


programming. We began the year in July 2008 with

1338 members. As of May 31, 2009, membership

remained consistent with 1329 members and an

average retention rate of 77.75%.

MPI’s Response to the Economic Downturn

The Chicago Area Chapter recognized the need

for supporting our members by developing a complimentary

educational program for members in

transition and offering free postings to the MPI-CAC

Online Job Board. At the international level, MPI

quickly responded to members in need through a

new Unemployment Assistance Program, granting a

six-month renewal extension. A Quarterly Payment

Installment Plan was also implemented for any members

suffering from a financial setback.

MPI-CAC Member Categories


105 Students


521 Planners

MPI-CAC Geographic Breakdown


North/Northwest Suburbs 22%

West Suburbs 15%

Southwest Suburbs 2%

Downstate 2%

Out of State 15%

International 1%

Educational Grants

Our Chapter continues to serve our members here

locally by providing Educational Grants that can support

a number of different opportunities throughout

the year, such as CMP application fees, registration

fees for MPI’s semi-annual educational conferences

and attendance at international MPI conferences.

Over $3,000 was awarded in grants this past year.

MPI-CAC Student Community

MPI-CAC Student Community saw an increase of

100% in membership this year through successful recruitment

during frequent classroom presentations

and a Student Mocktail Reception boasting triple the

attendance from the previous year. The Student

Affairs Committee was awarded an MPI Foundation

Grant providing two students with MPI-CAC scholarships

for membership, complimentary registration

to educational programming and tuition support.


685 Suppliers

MPI Presence at Industry Tradeshows

MPI-CAC continued to promote the benefits of

membership in the premier industry association

through participation at numerous industry tradeshows.

Volunteers attended The Motivation Show,

BizBash, MeetingsQuest, Holiday Showcase,

Affordable Meetings, Concierge Preferred and

Best Events Expo this year alone.






July 2008 - 1338

August - 1329

September - 1329

October - 1333

November - 1335

December - 1338

January - 1329

2008-2009 Membership

February - 1327

March - 1316

April - 1298

May 2009 - 1329 annual report | 2008-2009 17

2008-2009 Chapter Highlights

TThroughout the year, hundreds of volunteers

worked together to produce a series of excellent

educational and networking events. From the

brand new Town Hall Meeting to the sold-out 14th

Annual Golf Classic, these events offered members

multiple opportunities for both professional

development and building relationships.

A few distinct themes were carried throughout the

chapter programming this year, including:

• Go Green! With the environment in mind, the

MPI-CAC committees made a concerted effort

to limit the Chapter’s carbon footprint before

and during events. Utilizing

and e-mail messaging, the committees limited

the number of direct mail pieces delivered to

the membership while still promoting upcoming

programs. The promotional pieces that were

mailed were created on 100% recyclable paper

with non-toxic, eco-friendly liquid ink.

• Advanced Technology! In conjunction with

a limited amount of printed materials at

events, the use of technology advanced. The

2009 Educational Conference utilized the

attendee response system and communication

device to provide the agenda, session

desc riptions, attendee list and networking

tool all in one hand-held device from Spotme.

• Elevated Education! You commented;

we listened. Taking into account the

recommendations for future education topics

listed on evaluation surveys, the educational

committees found presenters to meet the

needs of the members. The result was education

satisfaction scores higher than ever before.


MPI Industry Luncheon at The Motivation Show

“Saving the World at Work”

September 24, 2008

McCormick Place, Chicago

• Featured internationally acclaimed author

and speaker Tim Sanders

• Over 360 attendees registered for

the luncheon

Women’s Leadership Conference “Winning the Race

- Key Success Strategies for Today’s Career Woman”

November 11, 2008

Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile, Chicago

• Showcased successful female leaders from

a variety of disciplines

• Provided a mini-tradeshow opportunity for

exhibitors in the Connection Place

• Final attendance was down 11% from the

previous year

18 annual report | 2008-2009

2008-2009 Chapter Highlights

Educational Conference

Meeting of the Minds - Now, New, Next”

February 20, 2009

InterContinental Chicago O’Hare

• Utilized attendee response system

and communication device for all of the

relevant participant information in one

hand-held device

• Creative closing session incorporated

interactive food demonstrations and team

building activities

• Event profit was $11,000 over budgeted

net income

Complimentary Education Program

“SHEIFGAB the World – Eight Building Blocks

to Successful Transition”

April 3, 2009

Four Points Sheraton Chicago O’Hare,

Schiller Park

• 100% in-kind sponsorships from Four

Points Sheraton Chicago O’Hare and

IrishmanSpeaks allowed this to be a free

program focusing on members in transition

• Complimentary headshots provided by All

Events Photography and complimentary

printing of business cards and resumes

offered by Plum Grove Printers for

all attendees

Joint Educational Program with GMC PCMA “Your

Meeting is your Greatest Marketing Opportunity”

April 29, 2009

Palmer House Hilton, Chicago

• Demonstrated how new social media

technology can be incorporated into

meetings and events

• Nearly 200 industry professionals attended

March Education Program

“Project Management Essentials”

March 23, 2009

Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago

• Drew significant planner member participation

• Evaluations proved the topic is in high

demand, so the committee is planning

Project Management Essentials Part 2 for

the 2009-2010 Program Year

CMP Study Review Weekends

• CMP Review Weekends were held in

November 2008 and May 2009

• Over 90% of those attending the MPI-CAC

Study Review Weekend pass the CMP exam

Knowledge Share Roundtables

October 30, 2008 & May 15, 2009

• Two Knowledge Share Roundtables were

held in November 2008 and May 2009

• Facilitators at three Chicagoland locations

led discussions on “The Next Generation

of Meetings” and “Best Practices in a

Tough Economy” annual report | 2008-2009 19

2008-2009 Chapter Highlights


Town Hall Meeting

July 21, 2008

Kendall College, Chicago

• Junior Tauvaa, MPI Vice President of

Member Care and Chapter Business

Management, presented an MPI State of

the Union address

• Introduced over 100 Chapter members to

the 2008-2009 Board of Directors

• Nearly $2,000 raised for the MPI Foundation

through the registration fees at Town Hall

Summer Networking Event

August 27, 2008

Arlington Park Racetrack, Arlington Heights

• Nearly 150 attendees networked with

industry professionals, learned how to bet

on the races, and enjoyed a perfect Chicago

summer evening at the race track

• Event profit was $2,000 over budgeted

net income

Fall Networking Event “MPI Idol”

October 14, 2008

Blackstone Hotel, Chicago

• Over 150 members and guests attended

• Brave members who volunteered for

karaoke were accompanied by the

Stitely Orchestra

Holiday Celebration “Your Passport to the Orient:

An Evening of Silk and Spice”

December 15, 2008

Ben Pao, Chicago

• Approximately 350 people attended with a

strong showing of MPI members from

other chapters

• Charitable donation from event revenue

was given to Imerman Angels and gifts

collected from the toy drive were donated

to SOS Children’s Villages

Spring Networking Event “Schmooze Cruise”

April 1, 2009

Kanan Cruises, Chicago

• Held in conjunction with Affordable

Meetings, over 150 members and

guests attended

• The Special Events Committee planned

the chapter’s first 100% sponsored

networking event with the support of

six amazing sponsors

Student Mocktail Reception

April 3, 2009

The Drake Hotel, Chicago

• Over 75 students, both members and

non-members, from Chicago area

hospitality programs had the opportunity

to network with significant professional

members in the meeting industry and

learn tips on job searches and growing

professional networks

• 10 Student Member scholarships

were awarded

2008-2009 Chapter Highlights

Annual Awards Recognition Gala “2=1:

Two Iconic Hotels = One Legendary Event”

June 2, 2009

The Millennium Knickerbocker and

The Drake Hotel, Chicago

• Awards in 9 categories were handed

out to recognize the contributions of

members and industry organizations

• A unique educational component of the

program taught participants how to

flawlessly execute a major production

• The event sold out with 320 attendees and

exceeded budgeted net income by $6,000

Golf Classic and Speakeasy Reception

June 22, 2008

Chicago Hilton Indian Lakes Resort, Bloomingdale

• The golf tournament sold out 3 weeks

before the event

• New this year was the Just Nine & Dine

option allowing golfers to play only 9 holes

in the afternoon

• The theme for the evening reception was

expanded to resemble a Speakeasy from

the 1920s with Chicago El tracks and

Moonshine barrels accentuating the décor

Leadership Development

Leadership Meeting

July 15, 2008

ZED 451, Chicago

• Leadership training for the new 2008-2009

Committee Chairs, Vice Chairs and Board

of Directors

• 50 chapter leaders attended

All Committee Meeting

October 1, 2008

Bogart’s Bar and Grill, Rosemont

• Highlighted the new and exciting changes

underway in several key areas of the

chapter for all volunteers

• Over 100 committee members attended

Leadership Meeting

January 7, 2009

Chicago Indoor Racing, Addison

• Opportunity to review the previous six

months and chapter leaders collaborated

on ways to finish strong on the second half

of the Chapter year

• Professional facilitator presented

Grounded Leadership

2008-2009 Board of Directors


Laurel Rhoads McCarthy, CMP

Krisam Group


Chrissy Ward, CAE

Society of Gynecologic


Vice President-


Peggy Pissarreck, CMP

American Bar Association

Vice President-Education

Jane Matteson Mundell, CMP

Association of Legal


Vice President-Finance

Alisa Peters, CMP, CMM

Chicago Indoor Racing

Vice President-

Leadership Development

Jamie Shamhart

Four Seasons Hotel

and Resorts

Vice President-Membership

Char Shada, CMP

Experient, Inc.

Immediate Past President

Joyce Paschall, CAE, CMP

American College of

Occupational &

Environmental Medicine


Gayle Bonforte, CMP

Baker & McKenzie Global

Services, LLC

Pamela Formento

American Society of

Plumbing Engineers

Mary Friel

Four Points Sheraton O’Hare

Jeff Gassaway

Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg

Clearwater CVB

Katherine Horky, CMP


Maureen Larson

Lettuce Entertain

You Enterprises

Cherai Lewis

Projection Presentation


Sean Lynch


Frances Maxwell

BI, The Business

Improvement Company

Barb Quigley, CMP

The CVB Source, Inc.

annual report | 2008-2009


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