Meeting Professionals International (MPI) introduced its Certificate in Meetings Management (CMM) for experienced meeting planners in Europe in 1994. MPI is committed to taking the program worldwide in 1998, and the Convention Liaison Council (CLC) has been asked to make it an industry-wide certificate, according to Anna Lee Chabot, CMP, MPI president and head of the meetings and assemblies section for The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, based in Ottawa. She commented while in New York City on September 16 to help the New York MPI Chapter celebrate its 20th anniversary with a gala evening and education day.

"The CMM was born in Europe for experienced planners," Chabot said. "We are committed philosophically to bringing it worldwide. The tactical is still to come--that is, determining the curriculum, pricing, and financing of the program. Europe's program will continue the way it is," she added. "It's working, so we've decided to leave it alone, but to build on it for the international program. We are hoping to roll it out in 1998."

According to Jim Daggett, CAE, CMP, president, JRDaggett & Associates and chair of the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Board, which is under the aegis of the CLC, "There was some discussion at the CLC board meeting in Dallas in September about offering an advanced certification in meeting planning, but the board is interested in making the CMP a prerequisite." He added that the meeting of the Triad (the education, information technology, and marketing committees of MPI) during that same time period recommended that the CMP not be a prerequisite to the CMM.

MPI undertook two independent surveys of its member and nonmember meeting planners over a period of two years, both of which clearly demonstrated a belief that an educational program for experienced planners was needed.

Chabot emphasized that unlike the Certified Meeting Professional program, which has become the industry's standard as a certification of the nuts-and-bolts of meeting planning, the CMM addresses the strategic and analytical approaches. It will be a three-step process: self-assessment form (which provides an overview of the candidate's background and which the CMP certification can count toward), coursework (which the CMP does not require), and an exam.

In other MPI news, Chabot said that MPI, which started out with eight Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in 1991, now has four: corporate, sales and marketing, association, and independent. The healthcare SIG disbanded recently, for example, because its membership wasn't growing.

MPI is also developing a Web site to use for membership recruitment and retention. It will have a number of services available to members only. Once the site is up, the association will probably phase out MPINet, whose subscription base is not growing, Chabot said.