Message from the President
I recently listened to one of my favorite bands from the late ‘60s who survived the ‘70s and ‘80s, made it to the ‘90s, and are still out there today. One of their songs, which is also associated with a current automobile commercial, deals specifically with the idea of adapting to change: “Roll With The Changes.” It has a neat beat too!
It seems as if there are a lot of songs out there that deal with the idea of change. It is sometimes interesting to listen to the lyrics and try to apply them to our daily lives — both personally and professionally. Since this column is about business living, I want to take a crack at what ICPA is doing to not just “roll with the changes” but to be a leader when it comes to making changes to our association.
Much has been said in the media about ethics in today's business world, and rightfully so. Consider the ethics of “fam” trips. Sure, there are those who take an unprofessional approach to fams, but there are many more of us who use the fams to a legitimate end. Did you know that ICPA has a code of ethics statement specifically dealing with fam trips that each member signs when he or she renews membership? This is not to say that other organizations do not have similar statements, but ICPA long ago realized that fams could be abused. In fact the board of directors has reviewed the actions of some members who reportedly have been perceived to abuse the fam privilege on a consistent basis.
What about the changes in the meeting planning profession itself? ICPA now seeks members from both the financial services industry and the traditional insurance industry. Our markets are overlapping and the lines between the two once-separate industries are blurred. We have much in common and welcome the opportunity to learn from each other.
We're also seeing changes in how planning professionals are employed. As companies strive to improve the bottom line, they are becoming more creative in utilizing their employees. Some are “leasing” employees, others are creating independent departments or arms-length companies that do the meeting planning but appear to be independent planners. We are continually evaluating membership applications and renewals to help ensure that we make accurate decisions regarding membership. We must retain the integrity of our association for many reasons, but we need to be able to roll with the changes.
The 2002 ICPA Annual Meeting in Seattle is a superb example of rolling with the changes. Ken Juel and his design team have come up with an exciting and comprehensive program that contains many elements geared to the destination and the needs of our members. As all of us in the meeting planning profession know, no two programs are ever alike, and we all need help to keep things fresh and interesting.
Best regards and see you in Seattle!
American Fidelity Group
What Makes an ICPA Member?
ICPA welcomes as members planners from financial services companies. ICPA defines the financial services industry as a group of companies or organizations whose primary revenues are derived from the development and/or marketing and selling of products designed to provide financial security to the purchaser, including income-producing products such as mutual funds, annuities, stocks, bonds, and so on. Financial services products also include medical insurance, life insurance, property and casualty insurance, and other indemnity products designed to provide some type of financial relief to the policyholder — or designated beneficiaries — should a covered event occur.
The definition does not include those companies or organizations whose primary revenues are derived from “fee for services provided” products such as checking accounts, loans, etc.
Board of Directors Candidates
Melissa A. Cohill
Meeting & Conference Coordinator
ValMark Securities Inc.
Years of service: 7
Responsibilities: All facets of meeting planning for ValMark Securities Inc. (educational, product-specific, and incentive), including proposal of sites, implementation of pre- and post-marketing of meetings, CE outline filing, audio and video promotions, sponsorship dollar collection (offset of meeting costs), and creative budgeting.
Interests: Tennis, reading, traveling, and running
Family: Husband, Kevin, and two children, John (8) and Michael (4)
Challenges for ICPA: I believe the biggest challenge for ICPA is keeping up with the ever-changing financial services industry. Our marketplace is changing so rapidly these days it is sometimes difficult for planners to identify their role due to mergers/acquisitions, budget cuts, etc. The other significant challenge is providing concrete solutions brought forth by the changes that affect meeting departments and ICPA's membership. ICPA must remain a constant source for networking, educational resources, and communication.
Reasons for becoming a candidate: I believe in being part of a team that takes challenges and finds solutions to them — creatively and effectively. I want to give to the ICPA Board of Directors the same enthusiasm, passion, and creativity that I hold as a member of this organization. ICPA has given me so much professionally and personally, and I want to bring to the Board my personal strengths to provide a solid organization for all members.
Personal Comments: I am honored to be a nominee for this year's Board of Directors. ICPA provides me with great resources, networking capabilities, and, above all, friendships.
Stephen W. Clark, CMP
Assistant Vice President, Conference & Travel Services CUNA Mutual Group
Years of service: 17
Responsibilities: 400-plus meetings and conferences per year, 25 to 1,400 attendance; in-house travel programs with a travel volume of in excess of $6.5 million; development and implementation of program content and speakers; director of the corporate aircraft, guest services department, and the corporate training center.
Interests: Golf, reading, history, travel
Family: Single, my mother is still living, and I am number six of seven brothers, no sisters, 12 nieces and nephews
Challenges for ICPA: In the past few years I believe ICPA has come a long way in expanding the scope of our meetings and education to meeting planners who have full authority for meetings, not just incentives. For many years I felt the association was focused on incentive meetings. We now have many planners whose responsibilities are more far-reaching. I would like to see our association continue to expand our educational offerings, in particular with a focus on program content and development, which will be particularly important with the addition of the financial services industry.
Reasons for becoming a candidate: I spent many years involved on the board of MPI. I enjoyed my past board experience and would like to contribute to this organization. I have been a member since 1987 and want to give back to an organization that has contributed to my professional career. In addition, I feel my many years as a meeting planner with a wide variety of responsibilities could be helpful to current members of ICPA.
Personal comments: I have a great deal of respect for the current Board members and would like to help them lead the organization and continue with the many positive changes of the past few years.
Kathleen (Kathy) M. Cook
Manager, Life Conference
Years of Service: 22
Responsibilities: Lead the Life Meeting Department. Monitor across businesses to identify consistent high-quality events and find innovative ways to communicate. Lead, coach, and develop conference planning team, managing resources to deliver best service. Develop and implement cost guidelines and budget processes to meet company cost-saving objectives. Act as Life Company meeting management spokesperson.
Interests: Musical theater, art, and all kinds of music, gardening, reading, and travel
Family: Married to John for 27 great years. Have the opportunity to enjoy each other's parents, siblings, and children. We will celebrate my father-in-law's 90th birthday in June.
Challenges for ICPA: An organization in fast growth needs to focus on its core values and goals, never losing sight of the reasons for its past success. ICPA will continue to gather perspectives and opinions from a wide range of members, including the less vocal. Examples of this were the way we voted in our general session at the Broadmoor with Interactive Response, and the Meridia voting system. We saw that the consensus of the group was not necessarily representative of what we might hear from the floor. Meeting planning can be a very “backstage” endeavor, and our sensitivity to the ideas of everyone is critical to our success. I want to continue to find new ways to achieve this goal. In addition, I want to help grow our online capabilities and the ability to share with colleagues within the ICPA Web page.
Reasons for becoming a candidate: Since my first annual meeting at the ICPA in Camelback in 1983, I have had a desire to focus more on the organization. I recall my first promotion to meeting planner (from my previous position as a secretary reporting to the meeting planner). I was so impressed with ICPA and what it offered me. I've tapped it through all the years it took to build a successful centralized meeting planning team. For that, I owe its members my services.
Personal Comments: ICPA is the resource that relieves and assures a meeting planner who is striving to grow in his or her role. It provides knowledge, idea sharing, and a bottomless creative pool. Its members and activities renew my spirit to go in and tackle the job smarter and with a replenished drive!
Director, Meeting Management
John Hancock Financial Services
Years of service: 13
Responsibilities: Coordinating meetings, incentive programs, special events, and sports marketing hospitality programs. I'm responsible for staffing, training, site selection, and budgeting. I oversee John Hancock's Olympicprogram, which involves recruiting and training home office employees to serve as ambassadors for the company during the Olympics.
Interests: Reading, running, racquetball, movies, the beach, watching my children's activities, trying to learn to play golf
Family: My wife, Jacqui, and I have three great children: Jocelyn (14), Justin (12), and Jonathan (9).
Challenges for ICPA: It is extremely important for ICPA to keep members active so we can continue to grow, network, and share our experiences by finding ways to include them in programs that are worth their investment of time and money. An ongoing challenge is balancing the number of suppliers to planners at the Annual Meeting, a crucial part of our organization's success. Therefore it is imperative that we keep the suppliers (our industry partners) happy and committed. Lastly, as technology changes, ICPA has potential to make information even more accessible to its members.
Reasons for becoming a candidate: This is a great opportunity to expand my personal and professional experiences. I am a team player and enjoy learning from my peers. My experience working with volunteers can be an asset to ICPA as I try to involve other members in the organization. The unlimited networking opportunities are even more important today as companies consolidate, merge, and change. Also, while I know many suppliers in the industry, I have had less interaction with planners. Being a Board member would provide me with this chance.
Personal comments: As we all know, our industry contains some of the hardest-working people in business today, people who are smart, organized, and committed to perfection. Being involved with ICPA can provide us with additional knowledge, experience, and support that we can use to inform and educate our business associates. I would be honored to be part of the Board and to have the chance to share my enthusiasm and knowledge.
About the 2002 ICPA Board of Directors Election
ICPA planner members will elect two new members of the Board of Directors during the ICPA Annual Meeting, November 3 to 7 at the Westin Seattle. Planner members will receive proxy ballots soon. If you will not be at the Annual Meeting, you may vote by faxing or mailing back your proxy ballot.
2002 Forum Gets Rave Reviews
A record turnout of 69 planners attended the aptly named “Golden Opportunities for Learning” ICPA Educational Forum July 18 to 20 at The Fairmont, San Francisco. The days were filled with educational sessions that included interactive roundtable discussions as well as speaker presentations, and evenings included fabulous social events at the Fairmont and the Westin St. Francis. Attendees also enjoyed lunch, a tour, and an afternoon program at the new Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. The information-packed Forum was put together by Chairperson Gary Pearson and his design team: Debbie Boschee, Sharon Chapman, Sharie Jenson, Mauna Hatchett, Karen Hopkinson, and Isabel Mahon.
During a session on economic trends, panelists Mary Ann Leonard, director of catering and conferences for the Four Seasons Aviara; Brett Barrowman, American Fidelity; and Dick Adler, American Family Insurance, shared ideas for doing more with less. After their presentation, attendees brainstormed and came up with additional suggestions. Ideas included:
Deliver all pillow gifts on the final evening to save hotel delivery fees.
Double-dip with prior groups for big-ticket items like large party tents, and for entertainment.
Serve smaller portions of food at full-service lunches and dinners.
At the meeting, give attendees photographs of their gifts and then ship the gifts directly to attendees' homes from the purveyor.
Cut out the bottled water, and serve iced tap water instead.
Serve wine and beer at cocktail parties.
Ask the airlines for discounts over and above the norm if you buy 500 tickets or more.
If you are required to pay a big deposit to a supplier a year or more out, calculate the interest, and demand a value-added amenity like a cocktail party in the amount of that interest.
Instead of mailing pictures back from events, put them out on a table for people to take.
Be aggressive when trying to trim costs. If you're told the lowest banquet cost is $78 per person and you can afford only $60, communicate that to the head chef. If you don't ask, it won't happen.
Provide a cash activity allowance to trim activities expenses: You won't have to pay for no-shows.
For more news and views on the Forum, turn to page 44.
ICPA 2002 Annual Meeting: Get Wired, Be Inspired, Explore Seattle!
ICPA's Annual Meeting will take place November 3 to 7, at the Westin Seattle. If this is your first trip to Seattle, be prepared for an amazing experience: Seattle is much more than computer conglomerates and coffeehouses.
Keynote speakers include:
Roy Firestone, a commentator for NFL football on ESPN and the host of ESPN's “Up Close,” a daily interview program
Howard Schultz, chairman, The Basketball Club of Seattle LLC and chairman, Starbucks Coffee Co.
Mike McGavick president & CEO, Safeco
Keith Harrell, a life coach who specializes in changing behaviors through a positive attitude
Amanda Gore, a specialist in helping audiences understand the importance of achieving balance between home life and the pressures of work
Peter Vidmar, who led the 1984 U.S. men's gymnastic team to its first-ever Olympic gold medal
Connie Podesta, whose dramatizations of real-life situations have audience members laughing out loud and saying, “Hey, that's me!”
More Annual Meeting Highights…
Your chance to exchange ideas on sites, speakers, themes, and entertainment with fellow meeting professionals. A closed-door session for ICPA planner members only.
Interactive Response Session
During Wednesday morning's business session, planners and Hospitality Partners, will vote on today's industry issues.
More than 300 tabletop exhibitors representing hotels, DMCs, CVBs, airlines, and cruise companies, organized by region.
Back by popular demand, an open forum where members can discuss current issues of importance. If you have a specific topic you would like to have added to the agenda, e-mail icpa_Karen@telus.net or fax your idea to (604) 988-4743.
ICPA's showcase of noteworthy promotions. E-mail Jaimee Niles at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an exciting promotion to display.
ICPA's most popular publication and an effective networking tool, the photo directory is available to all meeting attendees. Be sure to have your photo taken on registration day, Sunday, November 3.
ICPA Resource Center
New this year, the ICPA Resource Center is the place to go to view the creative display, purchase books and other materials from keynote speakers, and download meeting information onto your Palm Pilot. The Resource Center will be open daily throughout the meeting.
The registration fee is $375 for ICPA meeting professional members, and $460 for nonmember planners. Hotel accommodations are $145 per night plus 15.6 percent tax. For special air travel rates call American Airlines at (800) 433-1790 and reference file #A74H2AD, or Delta Airlines at (800) 241-6760 and reference file #DMN189734A.
For more information and to register online, go to www.icpanet.com.
An added benefit at the 2002 Forum was the chance to experience the Fairmont San Francisco, which emerged resplendent from an $85 million restoration in 2001. The 591-room grande dame was restored to its original glory with a design that recreates the original 1907 architectural plans. The existing lobby decor was stripped away to reveal marble floors, Corinthian columns trimmed in gold, and ornate ceiling domes. All guest rooms and suites were refurbished and the 55,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space was renovated.
Among the Forum's highlights was a gourmet dinner in the posh Crown Room atop the hotel's 24-story tower, with panoramic views of the sun setting over the San Francisco skyline stretching from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge. A gourmet meal was followed by dessert in the $10,000-per-night Penthouse suite, where the United Nations Charter was drafted in 1945 and famous guests run the gamut from Mick Jagger to Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.