Dear ICPA Members and Hospitality Partners:

Recently you received an e-mail from me, explaining that the ICPA Board of Directors had voted to change the management of our association's headquarters, and that as a result, our headquarters would be moving to Chicago as of May 1, 2004. I'd like to take this opportunity to explain the history and reasons behind that decision.

As you are aware, two years ago ICPA voted to change its bylaws to allow for the expansion of our membership to include meeting planners in the financial services industry in addition to our core members who serve the insurance industry. It was a strategic decision that was enthusiastically embraced by the entire association; however, the growth has been slow in coming.

Knowing that strategic decisions alone do not guarantee long-term success, but rather the implementation of those decisions is the key, the ICPA Board of Directors began to review the association's management structure to ensure that we were properly set up to succeed with our new vision. Through this process, we developed the most critical factors that were essential for our long-term success:

  • A flexible operational structure that can be adjusted based on workload,

  • Access to specialized skills on an as-needed basis,

  • Headquarters management based on association industry best practices, and

  • Access to short-term professional resources, with long-term continuity in services.

We also realized that to achieve the outlined success factors affordably, ICPA needed to change its operations management model from a stand-alone organization with two full-time staff trying to do it all, to a contracted association management arrangement that provides for professional resources that can be adjusted based on need. Trust me, this decision was very hard. The board deliberated extensively, and in the end we unanimously agreed to move forward with the change.

I cannot adequately express in writing the Board's appreciation for the work that former ICPA Executive Director Karen Hopkinson and ICPA Executive Assistant Helen Peters, our dedicated staff in Vancouver, B.C., have done over the years. They helped us forge the ICPA of today and readied the organization for its current opportunity.

Our new headquarters office in Chicago opened on Monday, May 3. For location details, and to learn more about Steve Bova, ICPA's new executive director, please go to page 66.

In closing, I would like to publicly applaud Karen and Helen, and to toast ICPA for success in our new endeavors.

Debbie Boschee, CMP
ICPA President
Director, Conference and Meeting Services
Prudential Financial

2004 Annual Meeting Focuses on Educational Content

ATTENDEES OF PAST ICPA annual meetings know that these events offer attendees unrivaled networking with peers and hospitality partners. What's new for 2004 is a greater emphasis on educational content. “There will be even more meat to the program,” says ICPA President Debbie Boschee, CMP, Prudential Financial, “and attendees will be able to clearly show the value of their attendance.”

Specifically, there are likely to be additional interactive workshop sessions on hot industry topics. These types of sessions offered at last year's annual meeting were standing-room-only.

With the theme, “Wisdom of Yesterday, Eye on Tomorrow: Together We Paddle as One,” the meeting will take place November 14 to 18 at The Grand Wailea Resort and Spa, Maui, Hawaii. A value-add for attendees who may be looking to use Hawaii as an incentive destination, suggests Boschee, is the opportunity to do site inspections while they are there.

A Fond Farewell to Karen and Helen

ON APRIL 30, the ICPA, an association of insurance and financial services conference planners, bid a fond farewell to Executive Director Karen Hopkinson and Executive Assistant Helen Peters.

For nearly 20 years, Karen managed ICPA from the headquarters in Vancouver, B.C., beginning with a part-time position in her home office in 1989 when the association branched out from a member-run organization. Her duties grew into a full-time job and in 1992, when ICPA took over administration of the hospitality partners, Karen hired an assistant. ICPA moved to its current offices in 1996, and Helen came on board in 1997.

Every member and hospitality partner who has attended an ICPA Annual Meeting or Educational Forum has fond memories of Karen's and Helen's diligent work and tireless good cheer. “We've worked with so many great members and suppliers,” says Karen. “ICPA has a great bunch of people.” Her most memorable annual meeting, she says, was at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, the Bahamas, in November 2001. In the wake of 9/11 and a devastating local hurricane just days before the meeting, ICPA pulled off a terrific event that also raised a large donation for a local orphanage.

ICPA wishes Karen and Helen, who will stay in the Vancouver area, all the best in their future endeavors.

Don't Miss the ICPA Educational Forum July 22 to 24

ICPA'S 2004 Educational Forum, July 22 to 24 at the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C., promises to be a dynamic and interactive learning experience. The design team — program chairperson and ICPA Vice President Education Gary Pearson, AON Service Corp.; Paul Eder, Protective Life Insurance; Patricia Kerr, CMP, Manulife Financial; Alyson Marx, Pacific Life; Linda Rayner, Pacific Life; and Marilyn Brumbaugh, Hyatt Hotels — have put together a program of interest to both experienced and novice insurance and financial services meeting professionals.

As this newsletter went to press in mid-April, the program agenda was scheduled to begin with registration and lunch on Thursday morning, July 22. In an opening presentation, Laurie Fitzgerald, meetings manager, sales support, Allstate, will share tips and strategies for organizing and implementing successful international programs. Called “Don't Be an Accidental Planner: The Ins and Outs of Planning International Events,” the presentation will cover such topics as currency questions, international contract and attrition issues, and shipping insights. Attendees will also be given hot-off-the-press copies of Beyond Borders, the annual supplement to Insurance Conference Planner and its sister magazines in The Meetings Group — Primedia Business Magazines & Media, that is a gold mine of information about planning meetings beyond U.S. borders.

An interactive roundtable session called “Back to the Future in Meeting Planning” follows. Attendees will be divided into tables of eight people each to discuss checklists on such topics as how to create an effective request for proposal, and how to do a proper site inspection. Each table will dissect and discuss the checklists, and share their improvements and changes with the entire group. After the meeting, the revised checklists will be posted on the ICPA Web site,, for members to pick up and use for future meetings.

The Forum's educational experience begins again after breakfast on Friday, when attendees will re-group from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. for another interactive roundtable session focused on the best ways to stretch food and beverage meeting budgets, while also reaching a new generation of attendees with creative menus and events.

Next, guest speaker William Shipman, chairman of CarriageOaks Partners LLC, a Massachusetts-based consulting firm specializing in retirement finance, will share his expertise and insights on social security reform. Shipman, a noted conservative scholar on the issue, predicts a total transformation of the U.S. social security system in the near future and says that the financial services industry will play a major role in the process.

Attendees will then move to The Capital Hilton for lunch and a tour, followed by guest speaker Julie Jones from the Convention Industry Council. She will fill attendees in on the news from Project Attrition, an initiative launched by the CIC in April 2003 to provide all sides of the meeting industry with a toolbox of resources to help grapple with the challenges of attrition.

Friday afternoon concludes with the planners-only Exchange, an ICPA signature session that allows participants to share stories frankly and gives advice on activities, destinations, airlines, etc.

On Saturday morning, a not-to-be-missed presentation by Barbara Talbot, executive vice president marketing for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, will address how to prove your worth as a meeting planner to upper management.

Business sessions on Saturday wrap up with a final interactive roundtable that asks attendees for three viable takeaway ideas. Each table will share their ideas with the entire group.

To provide the most effective learning environment, Forum attendance is limited to 60 meeting planners. Meeting registration is $275 for ICPA members and $325 for nonmembers, and there's a special rate of $125 plus tax for guest rooms at The Park Hyatt. For a detailed agenda, and to register online, go to

Meet ICPA's New Executive Director

THE ICPA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Steve Bova, CAE, a 16-year association veteran, as its new executive director.

Bova is an active member of the American Society of Association Executives and the Association Forum of Chicagoland, where he once worked as director of communications and publisher of FORUM magazine. As publisher, he worked with many hospitality providers. Bova holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin — Madison and is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber's Institutes for Organization Management at the University of Notre Dame. He has held the Certified Association Executive designation since 1996.

The new headquarters information for ICPA is:
Steve Bova, CAE
Executive Director
401 N. Michigan Ave., #2200
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 245-1023

Save These Dates

June 10-11, 2004 Southeast Regional Meeting, Grand Hyatt Atlanta
July 22-24, 2004 Summer Educational Forum, Park Hyatt, Washington, D.C.
Aug. 2-3, 2004 ICPA Midwest Regional Meeting, The Hilton, Omaha, Neb.
Aug. 19-20, 2004 Northeast Chapter Meeting, The Grand Hyatt, New York
Aug. 22-24, 2004 Great Lakes Regional Meeting, The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee
Aug. 27-29, 2004 Canadian Chapter Meeting, The W Hotel, Montréal
Nov. 14-18, 2004 ICPA Annual Meeting, The Grand Wailea Resort and Spa, Maui, Hawaii
For more information, go to

May/June 2004

The Official Newsletter of the ICPA, an association of insurance and financial services conference planners