About 35 planners and 20 suppliers gathered January 4 to 6 for FICP's Northeast Chapter winter meeting at the sleek and stylish new Inter-Continental Boston. Jennifer Squeglia, CMP, Fidelity Brokerage Co., and her design team put together a terrific educational program based on feedback from previous meetings.

“What makes this association tick is the members — we're truly a member-driven association,” said FICP president Sharon Chapman, Berkshire Life, who began the program by filling in the audience on new FICP board and Hospitality Partners Committee (HPC) members. Attending the meeting were FICP's new education VP, Kim Boriin, CMP (see interview on page 39); and Karyn Rizzo, CMP, Sun Life Financial, currently vice president, chapter relations. “Karyn [previously education VP and NE chapter chair] brought the Northeast chapter to new levels, and she'll be bringing her expertise on chapters to her new role on the board,” enthused Chapman. FICP executive director Steve Bova concluded the opening session with an update on new association staff. “After three years [of SmithBucklin leading the association], our entire team of the staff, the board, and the HPC is really coming together,” he said. “This year we're becoming more external and will be reaching out to the hospitality community and the media.”

In the presentation that followed, APEX commissioner Rhonda Marko, CMP, CMM, DMCP, president and CEO of Destination Nashville, spoke to attendees about the advantages of the APEX Toolbox — which includes everything from accepted practices in housing and registration, to requests for proposals, to “tons of checklists” on such diverse topics as ethics and e-meetings. The morning sessions concluded with a Sponsor Showcase.

After lunch, attendees took a tour of Boston to see the many sights of the historic city. They reconvened for a hands-on learning session about how to manage common emergencies, presented by former John Hancock security staffer Michael Giordano, ADH Health and Safety Training Center (for Giordano's first-aid tips, see page 9). The afternoon concluded with two lively interactive workshops: one on the theme of work-life balance led by Ed Simeone, CMP, CMM, Fusion Productions, and the other on the theme of how to document ROI and ROO, led by Elizabeth George, CMM, New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The meeting concluded the next morning with two sessions. A panel of planners and hospitality partners (see photo at left) had the audience in stitches listening to stories about their most challenging experiences. (Ever booked a famous economist as a speaker, who was subsequently arrested for insider trading?) Keynoter Murray Banks, sponsored by Speak Inc., concluded the program with a funny and insightful presentation about how to achieve quality in our work and balance in our lives.

The FICP Northeast Region would like to thank all its wonderful sponsors for this meeting. The chapter's summer meeting will be held July 29 to 31 at the Woodstock Inn & Resort in Woodstock, Vt.