Former Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos along with John Naisbitt, author of Megatrends and Global Paradox, top the celebrity speaker line-up for the CLC Forum '98.

The one-day conference, launched by the Convention Liaison Council, an umbrella group composed of 26 meeting industry or ganizations, will be held November 5 at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers. The event is being organized by PGI (Production Group International), a meeting management firm in Arlington, Va. Attendance is limited to 300 by-invitation-only attendees, with each CLC member society suggesting potential attendees.

CLC Forum '98 will be the council's first "signature event, as I would call it," says Francine Butler, PhD, CAE, CMP. Butler, president of the Resource Center for Associations, Wheat Ridge, Colo., was named CLC executive director last November. "We don't want to be doing what individual associations are doing," she clarifies. The purpose of the forum is to provide three distinct perspectives on the future, explains C.B. Wismar, senior vice president, PGI. Stephanopoulos will speak about political trends; Naisbitt will address the societal future; and Stuart Varney, CNN financial analyst, will discuss upcoming economic trends.

Panels of meeting industry experts will comment on how the trends predicted by keynoters will affect the convention industry. At press time, confirmed panelists included Don S. Vaughn, executive vice president, The Freeman Companies; and Fred Kleisner, president and COO, The Americas, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.--Hotel Group.

Also on the agenda is an update on the APEX (Accepted Practices for Excellence Exchange) project. The CLC recently chose the Management Solutions and Services Practices of Deloitte and Touche LLP to conduct a study analyzing the feasibility of implemented industry-wide accepted practices. Mickey Schaefer, CAE, will present the preliminary results of the research. She is president of the Professional Convention Management Association, and vice president for membership, meetings and conventions, and administration, American Academy of Family Physicians.

At the CLC board meeting the next day, board members will determine the CLC's next steps regarding APEX. If the study shows that standardization is feasible, "We will learn where we should point our arrow," Butler says. And if the results are negative, "we'll learn that as well," she adds.