As Corporate Meetings & Incentives went to print, Meeting Professionals International was preparing for the 2006 World Education Conference in Dallas July 9-11, with plenty on its plate and the promise of news to come.

The Search Continues

Sandra Riggins, MPI director of governance and chief of staff, was scheduled to take over the interim leadership of the organization July 1 when Mark Andrew, CMP, CHA, who took on the interim role after the departure of MPI CEO Colin Rorrie Jr., assumes his position as MPI chairman. Riggins will coordinate MPI's day-to-day operations until a new CEO is selected.

In an interview with Andrew shortly before he gave up his temporary responsibilities, he said he hopes MPI's CEO search committee will select a candidate before the end of the summer. “The quality of the applicants has been terrific,” said Andrew, who took a leave of absence as general manager of the Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, to run MPI. “So it's a case of having to choose the best of the best.”

New Membership Categories

MPI is implementing new membership categories, dividing members into five specific groups that MPI believes will better reflect the nature of the association's makeup.

The new categories, announced in June and approved by the MPI International Board of Directors in February, include

  • corporate meeting professional,
  • association/nonprofit meeting professional,
  • government meeting professional,
  • supplier meeting professional, and
  • meeting management professional.

Andrew said the move to create new membership categories “will really help us address our different members in a more personalized manner.” The move goes hand in hand with MPI's recent launch of the Member Solutions program, he said, with components that include My MPI, with its personalized Web page, and Professional Pathways, an individual skills assessment and career development service.

“MPI has a great history of education, and as a resource for knowledge,” he said, adding that in determining these categories, MPI will be further defining the resources it can make available for different members. “An association planner, for example, doesn't need a lot of material on Sarbanes-Oxley,” explained Andrew. “But they do look for material on association governance. Let's make sure they have this information at their fingertips.”

“We're making sure that we are a good resource for our members,” he added, “and that planners and suppliers are getting good value from their memberships.”

The dues structure will be unchanged, and the new categories become effective September 15.

Culture Active Activation

MPI is rolling out the Culture Active Tool at the WEC this month. A Web-based cross-cultural analysis and briefing tool, it was introduced at MPI's Professional Education Conference-Europe in Davos, Switzerland, in March.

MPI members will be able to access the tool beginning July 9. By completing an online cultural assessment, planners will be able to compare behaviors of specific cultures and see where they fit in culturally in an industry that is becoming ever more universal. “This will certainly enhance the ‘I’ part of MPI,” Andrew said.

Improving Member Solutions

More than 1,700 planner members of MPI have completed skills assessments for Member Solutions. While MPI had hoped to have 2,000 planner assessments done by June 30, Andrew said the “exciting part of the process is that we are getting great feedback.”

Suggestions on how to improve features such as My Gap Reports (which help members to analyze their professional skills) are helping to make Member Solutions “much more powerful,” Andrew said.