We caught up with ANGIE PFEIFER, CMM, assistant vice president of corporate meetings travel and incentives for Investors Group Financial Services Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba, at Meeting Professionals International's World Education Congress in Montréal to find out what she has in store for MPI and its members as she assumes her new role as chairwoman of the board.
CORPORATE MEETINGS & INCENTIVES: You have reached a level of experience and success in your career that few others have. What got you here?
PFEIFER: I've been with my organization for 23 years, and I've been in the meeting-planning industry about 15 years. I attribute a lot of my success to MPI and the Certification in Meeting Management program. It was through that program that I stepped back and really started looking at things from a strategic perspective and stopped looking at things from a tactical perspective.
CMI: What aspect of your new role as MPI chairwoman will be the most challenging?
PFEIFER: Probably the most challenging part is going to be keeping up with change. Our industry is growing so quickly — which is a great thing. But how people engage in meetings, how people learn in meetings, how business and the economy are changing around us — all that affects our industry. So the biggest challenge is going to be making sure that we're staying on top of those changes and responding to them.
CMI: Do you have any specific initiatives planned to address this?
PFEIFER: Yes. We heard a lot at [MPI-WEC] about elevating the profession. I think the key is helping our members to elevate their conversations so that they can elevate themselves within their organizations. So we need to review and revisit all of our educational platforms to make sure that they are delivering the value they should be to help elevate that conversation.
Another really big focus this year is corporate social responsibility, and making sure that MPI is doing what we need to as an industry leader in this area and educating our members on that.
My job this year is really going to be to make sure, as a board, that we're communicating our updated vision and strategic imperatives to our 23,000 members. We also need to make sure that we are starting to demonstrate some tangible results so that our members can see we are walking the talk. We need to let members know what we are going to be doing in three to five years, what our industry will look like, and what MPI needs to do to be prepared.
CMI: Tell us about changes that members can expect to see from the association in the coming year and beyond.
PFEIFER: In addition to globalization and corporate social responsibility, we are focusing on “re-imagining the chapter relationships” and the idea that one size doesn't fit all. We have 68 chapters around the world, and we can't expect to have one set of rules for everybody.
Over the next year we're going to work together to define what success looks like within the chapters. … We started sharing that imperative with our chapter leaders in May at the Chapter Leaders Conference, and we will start with the new re-imagined chapter relationship at the start of next year.
CMI: This is certainly not the same MPI of years past. What are you most excited about as you assume your new position?
PFEIFER: There has never been a better time to be with MPI. I am very excited about the updated vision and where we're going. I've never heard so many positive comments from our MPI members — and members that are senior members. They are all saying they are very, very confident — more confident than they've ever been in MPI. I'm coming in at an absolutely fabulous time. We have a great organization here. We're going through probably our biggest change in the 35 years MPI has been around. I'm very fortunate to be leading that charge with our president and CEO and making sure that our board is moving in that direction.
A Look Back:
With ANGIE PFEIFER, CMM, Meeting Professionals International has a corporate planner leading the board of directors for the first time since 2000-2001.
2006-2007 MARK S. ANDREW, CMP, CHA, Andrew Hospitality Inc.
2005-2006 CHRISTINE DUFFY, Maritz Travel
2004-2005 HUGH LEE, Fusion Productions
2003-2004 TERRI BREINING, CMP, CMM, Concepts Worldwide
2002-2003 GEORGE AGUEL, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
2001-2002 JERRY WAYNE, The Galt House
2000-2001 EVELYN LAXGANG, CMP, Motorola
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