Cover Story

When Jeff Wagner attends RCMA, his top priority is to build relationships with vendors. He does this on the expo floor, of course, but he finds that most of his connections take place during casual times—at meals, on the bus, in the hallways.

“It's about establishing a relationship,” says Wagner, who works as servant in ministry, North American Mission Board-Southern Baptist Convention, Alpharetta, Ga.

The networking isn't limited to dealings with vendors. Wagner, who has attended four RCMAs, also gleans a lot from his counterparts. “I really do enjoy getting to know the other planners. A lot of it is sharing similarities, struggles, people we know. It's recognizing that we're not alone.”

Wagner has several roles in his job, and one is to help with major plenary sessions. “I like to watch how RCMA does things with big gatherings. They do fun things with panel discussions that we've adapted. I like the energy in the room and how they welcome people.”

The RCMA tutorials are another important piece for Wagner, who has found himself drawn to professional development sessions. “I enjoy sessions on leadership skills, communication skills. It's good to hear from a different perspective.”

A Common Quest

Everyone's RCMA story is unique, but RCMA members share a common goal: to build relationships and to grow in their professional and personal lives.

“Reaching Beyond,” RCMA's 35th World Conference and Exposition, will be held January 30-February 2, 2007, in Louisville, Ky. RCMA is expected to draw more than 1,300 meeting professionals to this international event.

The meeting is constructed to help religious meeting planners like you increase your knowledge and skills. As an attendee, you can expect to develop strategic partnerships with all types of vendors and to learn ways to improve your performance through an excellent lineup of tutorials. You also will enjoy wonderful fellowship.

One of the best parts of the RCMA experience, as so many members have discovered, is that this event makes learning enjoyable. You will be inspired by general session speakers. You will improve your meeting-planning skills at the tutorials, and you will enjoy top-notch entertainment. But the one thing that attendees particularly enjoy about RCMA, the thing that keeps them coming back year after year, is the connections they make with other members and associate members.

Over the years, attendees have said that the spirit and camaraderie at RCMA set it apart from other meeting-planning events. As Jeff Wagner observed, the opportunities for professional growth are available everywhere: in the hotel lobby, at wonderful luncheons, during breaks, or on the way to evening events.

Early Bird Activities

On Tuesday morning, conference attendees go behind the scenes to explore the inner operation of hotels, a convention center, an advertising firm, or a public relations company. This is your opportunity to gain hands-on experience under the tutelage of leading professionals. This RCMA-exclusive event has attracted thousands of participants through the years, all of whom have expanded their knowledge in religious conference management. Participants must register in advance; the experience begins at 8 a.m. and concludes by 1:30 p.m. Complimentary breakfast and luncheon are served.

You will be able to see the great Kentucky city for yourself with the early bird sightseeing tours and other activities that RCMA has planned for January 30. (See page 28 for details.)

Tuesday night, you will enjoy the opening event, “Grand Reception … Southern Style.” You can hit a home run, shoot hoops, experience the feeling of a thoroughbred race track, and listen to Dixieland music. Throughout the evening, enjoy a variety of down-home Southern cooking and share in fellowship.

Opening Ceremonies, Expo

Wednesday morning, an energizing extravaganza highlighted by speaker Desi Williamson will fill you with anticipation for what is to come.

Then it's off to the Expo, which this year will have more than 300 booths, all staffed by knowledgeable suppliers who provide services and facilities for religious meetings.

Visionary Learning

At the heart of RCMA's mission are the educational opportunities offered at its expert-led tutorials. This year's lineup continues the RCMA tradition of offering top-notch breakout sessions. RCMA's 2007 tutorials ensure that there is something for everyone. From contracts to meetings at sea, to improving registration processes, to marketing and site selection, these tutorials will provide you with what you need to improve your meetings. (See the conference schedule that begins on page 28 for a complete list of all the tutorials planned for 2007.)

Fun-Filled Evenings

The RCMA experience will be completed with evenings of fun, excitement, humor, and wonderful dining.

Famed entertainer Wayne Newton will perform Wednesday. On Thursday, the 35th Annual Gala will be an opportunity to put on your Sunday best. This festive evening is always a conference highlight, featuring fine cuisine, the President's Award, and delightful entertainment.

As you can see, RCMA has tailored a special week for you in Louisville. Register now, so you can “Reach Beyond” in your professional and personal life.

Thank You RCMA Sponsors

RCMA extends grateful thanks to this year's sponsors:

  • Dayton/Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Galt House Hotel & Suites
  • Experience Columbus
  • Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Greater Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Greater Rochester Visitors Association
  • Greater St. Charles (Mo.) Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau
  • Henderson Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Illinois Council of Convention and Visitors Bureaus
  • Kentucky International Convention Center
  • Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Louisville Marriott Downtown
  • Masterpiece Creations
  • Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • pc/nametag
  • Peoria Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • RegOnline
  • Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Rosen Hotels & Resorts
  • Springfield, Mo., Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Travel Alberta International Inc.
  • Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Visitours Inc.

Another Milestone: 35 Memorable Years of RCMA

1973 Louisville, Ky.
1974 Philadelphia
1975 Chicago
1976 Kansas City, Mo.
1977 Baltimore
1978 Cincinnati
1979 St. Louis
1980 Anaheim, Calif.
1981 New Orleans
1982 Nashville, Tenn.
1983 Indianapolis
1984 Detroit
1985 Atlanta
1986 Fort Worth, Texas
1987 Long Beach, Calif.
1988 Rochester, N.Y.
1989 Milwaukee
1990 Tampa, Fla.
1991 Corpus Christi, Texas
1992 Phoenix
1993 Chicago
1994 Birmingham, Ala.
1995 San Antonio
1996 Charlotte, N.C.
1997 Tulsa, Okla.
1998 Indianapolis
1999 Columbus, Ohio
2000 Dallas
2001 Milwaukee
2002 Tampa, Fla.
2003 Charlotte, N.C.
2004 Pittsburgh
2005 St. Louis
2006 San Jose
2007 Louisville, Ky.

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