Senior-level planners from a range of companies, including Bristol Myers-Squibb, BMW, CVS, The Schwan Food Co., and Tupperware convened in early September in Cancun to discuss meeting contracts, the growing generation gap in meeting attendees, and other hot buttons for meeting and incentive industry professionals.

The event was Krisam Group's 2007 Executive Summit, a three-day meeting at the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach.

At the opening session, Corporate Meetings & Incentives' Editor Barbara Scofidio led an expert panel, including Louann Cashill, CMP, meeting services manager, Toyota Motor Sales; Jeff Parker, manager-recognition and rewards programs, RBC Centura Bank; and CMI legal expert Tyra Hilliard, CMP. Table groups then focused on topics such as how the hotel seller's market is affecting contract negotiations, the growing pressures of working with procurement departments, international travel hassles, and strengthening communication between planners and hotels.

The following day, during an international café-style session moderated by Cindy Novotny of Master Connection Associates, the group moved from table to table at 15-minute intervals discussing hot topics such as how to manage Gen X and Y'ers, how to communicate between the generations, and how to use technology more effectively.

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Shoot 'Em Up

When golf, spas, and shopping excursions just won't do, you can always break out the guns.

The American Shooting Centers in Houston hosts about 140 corporate events a year for groups of 10 to 625 people. The programs, held at ASC's 563-acre facility, include instruction, ammo, gun rental, eye and ear protection, and range officers, who accompany the group through the course. And it's not just for the guys. The number of women recreational shooters at ASC has increased more than 50 percent in the past five years.

“It definitely breaks the ice,” says Kathy Kenny, safety administrator for Houston-based offshore drilling contractor Transocean Inc., who brings a group to ASC each year as a kickoff to the annual budgetary and safety meeting. “Once they realize that it is not dangerous and they can actually do it, they are so pleased with themselves,” says Kenny of her group. “The biggest thing for them is the bragging rights.”

“About 7,000 people come through our facility each year just from corporate groups,” says Jeani Harris, director of marketing and corporate events for ASC. “Some might never have held a shotgun before, so they develop a real camaraderie out there on the course. ”

Many groups include lunch, dinner, an awards ceremony, or even a meeting in the event. On-site facilities include a 40-seat conference center. Programs last approximately five hours, and costs range from $50 per person to $100 per person.