Who better to talk about balance between work and family than someone who lives it? In January, at MPI's Professional Education Conference (PEC) at Nashville's Opryland Hotel, Chairman Ed Simeone, CMP, was joined onstage during the opening session by his wife, Joy, his son, Christopher, and his daughter, Amanda. Their speeches about balance in their lives (a.k.a. homework and paper routes) were met with big cheers from the audience of 2,182 attendees at the Opryland Hotel. Keynote speaker Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company magazine, also got an enthusiastic reception to his speech about balancing work with personal life.

Additional news:

* Expo Added--This year's PEC was the first to feature a trade show.

* MPI Partners with Mexico--The government of Mexico has partnered with MPI to sponsor the first year of a distancelearning program. The program will distribute educational modules throughout the world to members who are unable to attend MPI workshops.

* MPI/PlanSoft Tech Survey--MPI released the results of a survey of 600 meeting planners and 600 suppliers on their use of the Internet. The phone survey, conducted in December by J.D. Power on behalf of sponsors MPI and PlanSoft, found that meeting executives use the Internet to communicate with colleagues (92 percent), research cities (85 percent), research event locations (84 percent), and communicate with suppliers (82 percent). Fewer use the Internet to distribute RFPs (45 percent) or to provide housing/registration for attendees (43 percent). Nearly half said they would be spending more time on the Internet in the near future.

* AmEx and MPI Team Up on Corporate Planner Survey--Some 2,200 corporate meeting professionals are being surveyed during the first quarter of 2000 in an effort to establish a benchmark for meeting management practices among companies. The project is being sponsored for MPI by American Express Corporate Services, New York.