Celebrating a record attendance of more than 2,700 at the Professional Education Conference held in San Diego in January, Meeting Professionals International had a lot to crow about, having achieved some major accomplishments over the past 12 months.
Tackling one of the industry's most troublesome issues head-on, MPI announced at the San Diego meeting a position paper from its Global Corporate Circle of Excellence, telling its members that they must partner with their procurement colleagues to survive in today's global meeting environment.
“Planners and suppliers: if you think what you have been doing all along to keep your job is enough, think again,” warned the GCCOE, a group of senior-level, in-house corporate meeting and travel managers, in the position paper, “The Power of Partnership: Capitalizing on the Collaborative Efforts of Strategic Meeting Professionals and Procurement Departments.” A tool kit was also released — a package of how-to articles and sample documents that can help meeting professionals to put a strategic management plan into place.
Futurewatch 2005 Agrees
FutureWatch 2005, an annual report conducted by MPI and American Express and also announced at the PEC, bears out that trend. In the industry's first look at comparing year-to-year responses to questions about procurement, all areas grew significantly:
57 percent of planner respondents have fully implemented or will implement meeting purchasing policies and procedures;
54 percent have fully standardized or will standardize purchasing channels;
50 percent have or will soon have preferred supplier programs;
48 percent have or will soon have tech solutions for meeting planning.
Meeting planners surveyed were also bullish in projecting their 2005 budgets, forecasting a 5 percent budget increase in 2005, building on a 3 percent increase in 2004.
A Personal Career Path
Hugh K. Lee, chairman of the board of MPI and president of Fusion Productions, Webster, N.Y., updated PEC attendees on MPI's Career Pathways, announced some 18 months ago.
“It's a tool that offers you a way to understand, manage, and track your competencies … and identify the critical knowledge needed at key career levels,” said Lee. The program is geared to giving all MPI members personalized career goals as well as the proper tools to reach those goals.
For example, Lee said a meeting planner who is not sure what she needs to do to plot a career path not only will learn what skills are required to reach the next level of her professional development, but she will be able to track her progress on the way to that level. “And she will be able to maintain an electronic profile with us, and our online tools will alert her to educational opportunities that will help her.”
An experienced planner “will track and manage her competencies, and she'll be able to find specific resources that can help to get her where she wants to go,” added Lee.
MPI plans to work with the existing industry certifications and programs, as well as colleges and universities, to establish standardized curricula.
For more MPI news, and for the tool kit accompanying MPI's GCCOE position paper, visit www.mpiweb.org.