Message from the President

When I joined ICPA and attended my first Annual Meeting more than 11 years ago, I did not know what to expect. In fact, it felt a bit overwhelming walking into a meeting of over 500 people and knowing only a handful. I have to admit this made me a little uncomfortable, but I forced myself to meet new people, to share ideas with my peers, to hone my skills as a meeting professional … and, yes, to have some fun along the way. I've attended every Annual Meeting since then and can attest that I've grown professionally and personally with each experience. For those of you who attended this year's Annual Meeting in Orlando (or past meetings), I hope your experiences were similar — whether it was your first time or 21st time.

The theme of this year's meeting, “Embrace the Challenge — Build Your Future,” spoke to the need for all of us to continue to invest in ourselves and our futures by participating in industry conferences like this. For those of you who attended, you are to be commended for making this investment in yourself and your future. As we all try to balance our professional and personal lives, time is precious. It can also be a challenge convincing our bosses that attendance at these meetings is important — in fact, crucial — to our success and our company's success.

This year's meeting agenda was designed to address the challenges we face daily and to provide us with new ideas, tips, and concepts. Our panel of industry experts presented their vision of what lies ahead for our industry, giving us the opportunity to be better prepared. We openly shared our approach to some pretty tough ethical dilemmas that confront us regularly. We were updated on technology solutions that can increase our productivity and positively impact our bottom line. Guest speakers focused on ways to create a high-performing work environment and to integrate creativity into our work. We gained a greater understanding of the challenges our hospitality partners face as they balance the needs of their clients with those of their management and owners.

I look forward to seeing you in 2004 at a Regional Chapter Meeting, the summer Educational Forum, and/or the Annual Meeting. You'll come away feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to put your new-found ideas and concepts to the test. I guarantee it will be one of the best investments you'll ever make!

Sincerely,

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

Viva Las Vegas 2006!

ICPA announced at its 2003 Annual Meeting that the group's 2006 Annual Meeting will be held November 6 to 9 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Known for its larger-than-life attractions, such as the 4,100-seat Colosseum theater that hosts Céline Dion's “A New Day,” Caesars Palace has recently announced a $376 million expansion. It includes a $76 million addition to the resort's meeting facilities and a new 345-foot-tall, luxury all-suite tower that will bring the total number of guest rooms to more than 3,370. The new meeting and convention space will be attached to the resort's Palace Tower convention area next to the hotel's guest rooms. It will add 86,000 square feet of meeting space to the Palace Tower, bringing the resort total to 241,000 square feet.

Regional Meetings Rock!

Great Lakes at Grand Geneva

The 2003 ICPA Great Lakes Regional Meeting took place August 17 to 19 at the newly refurbished Grand Geneva Resort and Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis. On the first evening, in the Grand's banquet kitchens, a group of 15 planners and 25 hospitality partners prepared dinner, which they enjoyed in the Resort's Newport Grill. Monday morning's session began with reports from three ICPA Board members: President Ken Juel, Vice President-Education Gary Pearson, and Vice President-Public Relations Steve Clark, CMP. The group also heard from Hospitality Partners Committee Chair June Locke. Keynote speaker, Steve Wiener, COO, Bannockburn Travel, suggested that the airline industry is far from recovery — but planners have many ways to become informed and take advantage of reasonably priced fares.

On Monday afternoon the group enjoyed not only the amenities of the resort — including spa, horseback riding, pools, and golf courses — but also the attractions of the surrounding area. That evening, they cruised the lake and had an upscale reception and dinner on board.

On Tuesday morning keynote speaker J. Edward Tippetts, vice president of field development, Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee, was introduced by past ICPA board member Jim Lavold. He talked about the unique corporate culture of Northwestern and the role that meetings play in advancing company philosophy and growth.

To end the formal part of the event, Mark Beythoun, president of EventCentral.com, shared and demonstrated the creative use of online registration for corporate events, focusing on the effectiveness of the reports that can result from the data collected during the registration process.
Jerry Schmidt, CMP

Northeast Chapter in Boston

The Royal Sonesta Boston, on the Charles River in Cambridge with fabulous views of the Boston skyline, was the perfect setting for the Northeast ICPA chapter meeting in August. The meeting, co-chaired by Karyn Rizzo, CMP, senior meetings consultant, and Pat Jaworski, director, N.A. travel and conference services, both of Sun Life Financial, opened with a riverside cocktail reception and dinner on Thursday evening, August 7.

Friday morning began with hospitality partners sharing updates on their properties and services. Richard Ryer, co-chief executive officer, Apollo Security Inc., provided tips on how to keep attendees safe while traveling domestically as well as internationally. The group also heard from ICPA Vice President-Membership, John Touchette, CMP.

The roundtable discussions that followed included such topics as Airline Ticketing: Travel agency vs. Internet? led by Sharon Chapman, CMP, meeting planner, Berkshire Life; Emergency Plan for Meetings: Are you prepared to handle a crisis on site? led by Jennifer Squeglia, CMP, senior conference coordinator, John Hancock Financial Services, and Rhonda Cormier, senior meetings consultant, Sun Life Financial; Cost Savings: How do you track and what do you report to senior management? led by Erin Longo, manager, conference and meeting services, Prudential; Negotiations: Is everything really negotiable? led by Rich Granger, AVP, conference and travel services, Allmerica Financial.

The Northeast Chapter will meet again January 8 to 10, 2004, at the Sagamore in Bolton Landing, New York.
Karyn Rizzo, CMP

Canadian Chapter in Ottawa

The Canadian Chapter met at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa from August 23 to 25. It was the largest Canadian Chapter meeting to date, with 20 planners and 20 HP representatives. Among the first day's speakers were John Jeffrey, global account director insurance, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and ICPA President Ken Juel. Meaty roundtable discussion topics included air travel and group bookings; how to deal with world-wide catastrophes; DMC negotiations; hotel contracts with on-site vendors, pre and post-cons; attrition and cancellation clauses; and gratuity guidelines.

Day two included presentations on growth opportunities for the life insurance industry, new event planning tools, and how to avoid audiovisual pitfalls.