Kim Boriin, CMP, senior eventspecialist at Guardian Investor Services LLC, New York, N.Y., is 's new vice president, education and is in his first year on the association's board of directors. We caught up with him at a Guardian meeting in San Francisco, where he took some time to talk about his unusual background and filled us in on FICP's new education initiatives.
How did you get into meeting planning?
After 10 years working as a dancer/choreographer and 17 years in New York City's restaurant industry, I joined Guardian about five years ago. The common thread is the arts. I studied dance in college and later took classes at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. I can apply everything I learned from my theatrical and culinary education to my career in event marketing and meeting planning. I don't say I plan meetings — I choreograph them!
What's your position now with Guardian and how many meetings do you handle a year?
I'm a senior event marketing specialist. We are a team of three and we plan about 60 to 100 events a year, mostly educational sales meetings.
What interested you in joining FICP and in taking a leadership position on the board?
Sharon Chapman, the current FICP president, has been my mentor since I started at Guardian, encouraging me to get my CMP, and inviting me to attend the association's annual meetings. As for joining the board, one of my most sincere passions is pursuing my own learning. I'm also active in fundraising activities at home in New York City. Sharing my knowledge as a member of the board is very satisfying.
How has FICP membership helped you in your job?
FICP offered me an arena to meet experts on all sides of the meetings industry. Being able to share best practices with both planners and hospitality partners is invaluable.
As FICP vice president, education, what are your specific goals? Any new initiatives in the works?
Building on our great momentum from 2006, we are launching an initiative to add educational value to each of our platforms — Web site, e-newsletter, chapter meetings, webinars, the educational forum, and the annual meeting. A long-term initiative that we are very excited about is education on green and carbon-neutral meetings.
There will be a new direction at the educational forum, June 20 to 22 at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, Calif. Because of its smaller scale, the forum offers a sense of intimacy you don't get at the annual. We're going to offer a finite kind of program, with eight to 10 collaborative sessions focusing on presentation skills. Whether delivering a message or selling an idea, both planners and suppliers have to polish their presentation skills all the time.
Can you give us some details about the next webinar?
The next webinar on March 14 features technology expert James Spellos, CMP, Meetings U. His sessions have been enormously popular at our national meetings, and we want to reach as many of our members as possible with his expertise. He's going to focus on Excel skills for meeting and event planning. We will charge a small fee of $59 for members and $109 for nonmembers. The exciting thing about a webinar is that you can take a conference room, add a projector to your laptop, and share the training with any number of your colleagues.
As for the future, in an ideal world we'd like to hold three or four webinars a year. The key is having pertinent content and effective marketing to attract enough participants. We're not going to become an online university, but successful webinars can help drive new membership, increase interest in our Web site, and build attendance at our national and regional meetings.
There's a lot of competition for planners' time these days. What's your message to members and nonmembers alike about the benefits of FICP membership?
A big benefit is our ability to share our individual strengths and discuss our challenges in a supportive partnership. FICP brings together a great network of professionals who all have similar requirements at work. While our corporate cultures are varied, our experiences provide us with valuable perspectives on how to achieve the outcome we all want: great meetings.
A year from now, how would you hope to characterize your greatest accomplishment as FICP vice president, education?
Building awareness that FICP offers educational content members can't find elsewhere — and that will be a building block for continued association growth.