After a Long Search, Meeting Professionals International last month named Tourism Toronto president and chief executive officer Bruce M. MacMillan its new president and CEO. MacMillan's appointment is effective this December, and fills a slot that has been vacant since Colin Rorrie Jr. left the organization in March.
MacMillan has been with Tourism Toronto, the destination marketing organization for greater Toronto, since 2003, and has extensive experience with MPI. He is a member of the MPI International Board of Directors, and before his Toronto post, served as MPI's vice president of marketing and digital services. MacMillan was also past chairman of the MPI Information Technology Committee, which oversaw the development of the career development tool Member Solutions.
MacMillan's career has also included positions as executive director of the Vancouver Whistler 2010 Bid Society, where he helped to develop Vancouver's successful bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, and chief operating officer for AD2Media.com, Vancouver.
MacMillan said his chief mission would be reaching out to MPI membership. “We need to find out how to make them more successful,” MacMillan says. “Any profession right now is going through a business development that is constantly changing. There's a great quote from Andy Grove [former CEO] of Intel that if the changes outside an organization are greater than the changes going on inside, then you have some serious work to do. Our challenge is how to we keep up with those changes.”
When Rorrie left MPI, Christine Duffy, president and CEO of Maritz Travel Inc., and at the time chairwoman of the MPI Board, says that MPI was looking for a new leader “who has introduced new changes in a rapid time frame.” MacMillan points out that during his tenure at Tourism Toronto, the organization's operating budget grew from $8.3 million (Canadian) to just over $30 million. “And as our organization grew,” MacMillan says, “our mandate grew as well, and we had to introduce changes.”
One of the innovations was Tourism Toronto's Convention Development Fund, a self-sustaining funding mechanism involving Tourism Toronto, the Toronto Convention Centre, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, and Toronto's hotel community. “In the course of 3½ years, the use of that fund has delivered anof 60 to 1,” MacMillan said. “It was an aggressive move, and we were one of the first destinations to implement it.”
MacMillan also said he has a “personal interest in technology,” an area that has become increasingly crucial to MPI, with the introduction of Member Solutions and the Culture Active Tool. “I've never been afraid to get my hands on it [technology],” he says.
The new MPI head says his first priority will be the staff in Dallas. “They've had to go quite a long time without a permanent CEO. I want to make sure our team understands that we value them. I also want to start talking about where we're going, and to hear directly from them, as well.”
As for the future of MPI, MacMillan says one measure of success will be how much value MPI has given to its members over time. “If in three years,” says MacMillan, “our members can say: ‘My participation in MPI has made me more successful in my career,’ then that's a direction I would like to see us go.”