There is no doubt about who was the most well-received speaker at the 1999 World Education Congress of Meeting Professionals International, held in July at Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Convention Center: Christopher Simeone. The 11-year- old walked on stage during the first general session, faced a crowd of thousands, and announced that he was taking a break from his paper route and golf practice to introduce his dad.

With hugs from his son and from his wife, Joy, Edward G. Simeone, CMP, took the mike and said that his goal as MPI's 1999-2000 chairman of the board was to help members find a balance between their personal and professional lives.

"This is a daring step for an association," he said. "But personal imbalance threatens contentment, happiness, and, ultimately, productivity. My commitment is [to have] MPI focus on nurturing the whole person." Attendees responded with a standing ovation.

MPI attracted a record crowd of about 3,100 attendees from 26 countries. Others saw the two general sessions off-site, as they were carried live over the Internet by MPI partner Broadcast.com. --Tamar Hosansky

Meeting Professionals International and the American Society of Association Executives collaborated on a survey of 300 meeting planners (half from corporations, half from associations). Among the recently released results:

* Percentage that plans international meetings: 63

* Most popular countries for international meetings: Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom

* Average lead time for an association meeting: 12 months

* Average lead time for a corporate meeting: 6-8 months

* Percentage that uses evaluations to monitor if attendee expectations are met: 62

* Percentage that uses computer-controlled, multimedia, or LCD panels in meetings: 90

* Harrington Hired to Head SITE The Society of Incentive & Travel Executives has named Jill Harrington to the post of executive vice president/CEO, replacing Robert Vitagliano. She had been managing director, incentives, for Maritz Canada.

* Hilton Books $1 Million in Meetings Online In the six months between October 1998 and April 1999, Hilton Hotels Corp. booked $1 million worth of meetings through Hilton Direct USA, its online site selection service at www.hilton.com/direct.