In a pre-show survey of meeting managers that CMI conducted in conjunction with The Motivation Show, 45 percent of the 164 respondents said that in the past year they have taken steps to get a handle on meeting spend and establish a strategic meeting management program. Capturing meeting spend across the company is on everyone's minds these days.

Always at the leading edge, the Groups and Meetings Committee of the National Business Travel Association just announced that it has set up an advisory board to develop a new SMMP certification. It will be chaired by Lisa E. English, CMP, CMM, director of operations for Concepts Worldwide Inc.; Kari Knoll Kesler, global manager-Honeywell Meeting Solutions, Global Travel & Meeting Management, Honeywell International Inc.; and Janet Sperstad, CMP, program director, Meeting and Event Management Program, Madison Area Technical College. The program will be open to non-NBTA members as well as suppliers, but it will be written from a corporate practitioner's perspective. NBTA plans to roll out the program and announce the first course dates at next summer's annual meeting in San Diego.

I'm honored to have just been selected to serve a two-year term on the NBTA Groups and Meetings Committee, which will be a wonderful opportunity to help advance knowledge and practice of SMMP industry-wide. I'm excited to work with this group of industry leaders, led by Lee Ann Adams Mikeman, assistant vice president, and director, conference planning & special events, Science Applications International Corp., as chairwoman and Linda J. McNairy, vice president, global account management, StarCite, as vice chairwoman.

For those who want to benchmark with other companies regarding their SMMP, one of the pioneers of the Groups and Meetings Committee, Debi Scholar (who recently took on a new role as hospitality and leisure practice director at PricewaterhouseCoopers), has just started a LinkedIn group. Contact me for more info.

Check out this month's column by Betsy Bondurant on how to communicate your SMMP initiative across the company (page 33) and Senior Writer Alison Hall's article about how to use meeting cards to capture spend (page 24).

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