Dear Fellow ICPA Members: In addition to filling my role as Program Chair for this year's annual meeting, my next biggest challenge was an e-mail from Alison Hall asking me to write the President's Message before I'm officially President! The passing of the torch happens in November and since ICP goes to press before then, the challenge is to comment on the annual meeting when it hasn't occurred yet. Help!

On a more serious note, I have been a member of ICPA for 10 years and remember my first meeting as if it were yesterday. I boarded the train to Montreal, frankly scared out of my mind. It turned out to be the best thing I ever did personally and professionally. Those many years ago, I never dreamed I'd be a board candidate, let alone writing the President's message. I am honored to be working with board members who truly care about the success of ICPA and its members.

In 1998 I opened my speech as a Board candidate with the words "brace yourselves." I meant brace yourselves for enhanced education, for more networking opportunities, and for challenging our future direction, our focus and mission. More than anything, ICPA must bring value to members in the way of education and resources, and I believe the Board over the past two years clearly has had the interest of members at the forefront. Change does not occur overnight, but I applaud Shirley Mertz, Program Chair for last year's Boca meeting, who developed many "firsts." I believe this year's design team also enhanced the annual meeting program. Here are some highlights:

- ICPA members and Hospitality Partners arrived on the same day.

- First-time orientations were held for both members and HPers.

- ICPA hosted a special reception for sponsors which provided them exclusive networking time with all ICPA members.

- A three-hour ICPA Members Business Session provided quality time to discuss the important issues facing our association today. (My guess is there was some lively dialogue here.)

- ICPA members and HPers participated in an interactive response session to generate some lively interaction. How do you really feel?

- We continued the tradition with an extended reception in the Marketplace on Tuesday evening - more networking.

- Our farewell event was fabulous, and ICPA thanked Lisa Molony of PGI and Richard Lowey of PGI Vancouver for production support; J&S Audio Visual; Jack Gage for sharing his love of The Broadmoor and helping us showcase it; and Kathy Fort Carty of Destination Services of Colorado for her undying support.

Our sincere thanks to this year's many sponsors, who support ICPA and truly added to the success of the meeting. I would be remiss if I didn't thank John Jeffrey, Starwood, HP Chairperson, and Michael Murphy, Renaissance Orlando, for their advice and counsel as we developed the program. As long as I have been on the Board, and especially this year, the support of Karen and Helen has been incredible. The annual meeting may not have happened without them!

So brace yourselves for another year of your Board working to address the issues you raised in our business session and any other issues you wish to forward to me for Board consideration. My e-mail address is laverill@nationallife.com.

ICPA announced at its 2000 Annual Meeting that the group's 2003 Annual Meeting will be held November 2 to 6 at the 1,400-room Opryland Hotel Florida, opening in February 2002.

If you think you already know Opryland, think again. Opryland Hotel Florida, while offering the same Southern hospitality as its Nashville namesake, will be something different altogether. The $400 million property's Florida theme will take guests through the state's history and culture - it's Key West, St. Augustine, the Everglades, and South Beach all under one roof!

The highlight for high-end meetings is the 362-room Emerald Tower, whose exclusive meeting space includes a 3,300-square-foot ballroom, 10 breakout rooms, and two boardrooms.

In all, Opryland Hotel Florida will offer 400,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 178,000-square-foot exhibit hall and three ballrooms. The resort is in Kissimmee-St. Cloud, five minutes from the main gates of Walt Disney World Resort.