I have been privileged to attend every CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) Conclave since the Convention Industry Council kicked off the program more than a decade ago. I recently returned from the 2011 Conclave, held in May in Cancun, Mexico, and it was one of the best ever, thanks in part to the tremendous hospitality of our Mexican hosts.
The Conclave is the industry's only meeting exclusively for CMPs, and it's an opportunity for CMPs to contribute to their profession by participating in the development of the CMP exam, given annually by CIC. (There are more than 14,000 people around the globe who have earned a CMP.) Participants also earn points toward their own recertification. It's a great learning and networking experience.
For example, the 2011 Conclave provided three educational tracks for participants, one dealing with sustainability topics, another with logistics, and a third with strategy. One of the general sessions focused on analysis of the Convention Industry Council's groundbreaking study, “The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy.” Another session, Public and Private Support for Your Sustainable Meeting, used last year's COP 16 meeting in Cancun, an international event drawing thousands of attendees, as a case study for meetings.
Keynote speaker Dr. Janet Lapp, rated by Toastmasters as one of the top speakers in the world, has previously spoken at an RCMA annual meeting. A former professor, researcher, and clinical psychologist, she spoke at the Conclave about how to thrive with change, offering a powerful, funny, and healing message. The Conclave's other keynote speaker, Doc Hendley, talked about his Wine to Water foundation, which aims to help the one billion people worldwide who do not have access to clean water.
The program also included industry roundtables and a mock CMP exam. Attendees had a rich and rewarding educational experience, and of course, there were plenty of networking opportunities — always one of the best benefits of any meeting.
As the CMP program continues to grow, greater emphasis has been placed on certification for meeting professionals around the globe. Indeed, the international site and the global diversity of attendees proved to be an exceptionally enriching experience. The continued emphasis on a global certification can only serve to enhance and enrich the CMP designation.
The 2012 Conclave will convene in Tampa, Florida, on June 9-11, 2012. To all of you CMPs out there: Come join us for this unique gathering!