FICP's regional meetings keep getting better, delivering lots of educational takeaway and superb networking in a short amount of time. There were five meetings this summer: The West Coast Regional Meeting, August 10 to 12, Newport Beach Fairmont, Newport Beach, Calif.; the Great Lakes Regional Meeting, August 13 to 15, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, Wis.; the Midwest Regional Chapter Meeting, August 16 to 18, Marriott Downtown, Des Moines, Iowa; the Northeast Regional Summer Meeting, August 20 to 22, Hotel Viking, Newport, R.I.; and the Canadian Regional Meeting, August 24 to 26, Park Hyatt, Toronto. (The next Southeast Regional Meeting will be held at The Westin Atlanta Airport, March 1 to 2, 2007.)

The West Coast summer meeting was covered in the September/October FICP Newsletter, page 46, Financial & Insurance Meetings. Here are highlights from some of the other regionals, all of which included association updates from board members and headquarters staff.

Great Lakes

The Great Lakes Chapter returned to a past favorite for the 2006 summer meeting: the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. Also back by popular demand was a back-of-the-house cooking experience for the opening event. The 39 attendees (14 planners and 25 hospitality partners) broke up into teams, donned chefs hats and aprons, and went into the kitchen to prepare appetizers, entrees, side dishes, and desserts.

Educational highlights included a presentation by business owner, author, and speaker Frank Bucaro, CSP, CSAE, called Good Company: Be the Organization that People Want to Work for, Partner With, Invest In, and Buy From. His informative and funny talk, focusing on business ethics, got a standing ovation. Another well-received speaker was Karl Bryant, director of business continuity, AON, who talked about what the government, and his company, are doing to plan for a potential pandemic flu outbreak.

The meeting also included a dinner cruise on Lake Geneva and a hospitality partner marketplace. The chapter is led by regional chairs Gary Pearson, AON, and Morgan Murphy, CMP, Bankers Life and Casualty Co.

Canada

With a record attendance of 76, including 34 planners and 42 hospitality partners, the theme of the Canadian Regional meeting was Inspire, Insight, and In-Partnership. Meeting at the Park Hyatt Toronto, the group heard several keynote speakers talk about teamwork-related themes. They also got plenty of takeaway from a panel discussion on personal growth during which successful industry professionals talked about how they started in the business and what has helped them advance in their careers. As well, attendees participated in roundtable discussions with report-outs on topics that ranged from return on investment to emergency planning.

“The idea of teamwork really resonated at this meeting,” says Kelly Porter, Manulife Financial, regional co-chair with Kathy Lind, Sun Life Financial.

Another highlight was a speed-dating — style marketplace on the first day of the meeting, in which meeting planners rotated around the room to spend a few minutes talking with each of the suppliers.

Northeast

About 35 planners and 22 hospitality partners met at the lovely Hotel Viking in Newport, RI, for a nonstop meeting that had everything from a famous speaker — Captain Larry Brudnicki, speaking on Leadership Secrets from The Perfect Storm — to an incredible evening at a storied Newport mansion. Chapter Chair Jennifer Squeglia, Fidelity Brokerage Co., and her design team put together the content-rich agenda.

Among other highlights was a discussion on contingency planning (see FIM September/October page 9), and a humorous, insightful interactive workshop by Debra Blatt, Group Restoration, on collaborative communication. There was also a sponsor showcase, a spirited table discussions with report-outs on industry issues, and a New England wine-tasting sponsored by the New England Wine School and the Hotel Viking.

The Northeast Chapter's 2007 winter meeting will take place January 4 to 7 at the InterContinental Boston.