When Financial & Insurance Conference Planners Immediate Past President Cindy Wheaton, CMP, was thinking about themes for this year’s FICP Annual Conference, she kept going back to a Gloria Estefan song popular a few years back called “Get on Your Feet,” with its refrain, “Get up and make it happen; stand up and take some action.” Indeed this seems to be the year when both the financial services industry and the meetings industry are regaining their footing. The FICP Annual Conference will be a chance for planners and hospitality partners to both celebrate and build on that forward momentum.

The meeting is set for November 17 to 20 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

“We are in a good spot,” says Wheaton, manager, group meetings and incentives, at Nationwide Financial Network in Columbus, Ohio. “All of the sponsorships are sold. The evening events will be great. And we’ve got some interesting new education such as our ‘behind the scenes’ sessions. In one, for example, a production company takes attendees backstage to see how everything comes together.” Outside speakers include:
Peter Ricchiuti, Professor, Tulane University—The former assistant state treasurer and chief investment officer for the State of Louisiana will speak on financial services and trends.
Don Shula—The legendary NFL coach is also an entrepreneur and author of Everyone’s a Coach.
Bill Rancic—The reality TV star will speak on reaching your full potential.

New Way to Network
“One thing that has been a challenge at the Annual Conference is the Marketplace [FICP’s tabletop trade show],” Wheaton says. This year, The Marketplace has become The Network, and it will take place as part of the opening reception. “Hospitality partners want to touch base with people right away and then have the rest of the conference to network with them,” Wheaton explains.

Another advantage of shifting the Marketplace is that the afternoon time slot is freed up for education. “And that’s what we’re all about,” Wheaton adds. “People can take the information about how much education is being offered back to their leadership to justify attending the conference.” In fact, FICP again this year has provided e-mail templates at its Web site for planners to send to senior management outlining the benefits of conference attendance.

Find full agenda and registration information at the Web site as well.

Team Effort
Design team members include Michael Burke and Nancy Farmer, The Hanover Insurance Group; Sharon Chapman, Guardian Life; Lindsay Maloni, MetLife; Cindy Wheaton, Nationwide; Brent Centlivre, Disney Destinations; Anne Erickson, Fontainebleau; Marianne Schmidhofer, Greater Miami CVB; Patrick Sullivan, PRA New York; Val Tate, Convention Planning Services; and Bill Biegler and Jerry Spencer, Bartha Audio Visual.