More than 625 planner and hospitality partner attendees took the 2010 FICP Annual Conference theme—Stand Up, Make It Happen—to heart at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in November, by showing up and making the conference the most energetic and innovative in years.

Among the innovations was The Network, which opened the conference on November 17. Previously known as The Marketplace, this tabletop trade show was redesigned based on attendee feedback. Planned as a precursor to the opening reception, the event included light F&B, plus a DJ who not only played music to get the energy flowing, but gave away a few prizes as well.

Welcoming attendees at the opening general session the following morning, 2010 FICP President Dan Young, CMP, of Thrivent Financial in Minneapolis, acknowledged the resilience of FICP during “the perfect storm” of economic upheaval and toxic public perception, as well as the importance of FICP members and hospitality partners to the recovery of the meetings industry. Personally, Young said, he is busier than ever. “Our company is booking business through 2014 for our incentives, and 2016 for our national sales meeting. And I have to thank FICP for helping our department deliver value to our company that proves meetings mean business.”

And while full economic recovery may not be here yet, this year’s FICP conference looked like a great step in the right direction. “Our planner attendance is a significant rebound from last year and far exceeds the 2008 annual meeting attendance,” Young said. “Many of the hospitality partners in this room report significant improvements in business. Planners have proven again to senior management that meetings mean business and that incentive meetings work. And companies that canceled meetings are still regretting it, as they watched sales go down and members of their sales force leave.”

Leadership Transition
During the conference, Young passed the gavel to 2011 Chairman Todd Zint, CMP, CMM, of NFP. (FICP members voted to change the title of the leader of the association from “president” to “chairman.”) In his remarks, Zint laid out the board’s priorities for 2011 in the areas of membership, education, marketing/communications, finance, and the relationship with the hospitality partner community. “I am committed to enhancing FICP’s value to you,” Zint said. “Thank you for attending the annual conference, which is essential to growing FICP. I hope the event has exceeded your expectations. It has certainly exceeded mine.”

Board and HP Advisory Council Update
The following members completed their board terms in 2010: Nancy Farmer, CMP, The Hanover Insurance Group, and Cindy Wheaton, CMP, Nationwide. Joining the FICP board are Lindsay Maloni of MetLife, who continues after filling an early board vacancy in 2009; Eldon Gale, Nationwide Insurance; and Kim Pickering, CMP, Manu-life Financial. This year’s chairwoman-elect is Koleen Roach of Securian Financial. Continuing their board terms are Dan Young, CMP, Thrivent Financial; Kelli Livers, CMP, Forethought Financial Group; Jana Stern, ING; and Florine Edwards, CMP, FM Global. Suppliers completing their terms on the Hospitality Partners Advisory Council were Bill Hopkins of Bill Hopkins Events and Dan Tavrytzky. New members are Diane Goodman of Goodman Speakers Bureau and Michael Tarr of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. The 2011 HPAC chairwoman is Kathy Fort Carty of Allied/PRA Destination Management. And continuing their terms are Brent Centlivre of Disney Destinations, Katy Gettinger of Starwood, Bob Beach of Destination Hotels & Resorts, and Colleen Brzozowski of Grand Traverse Resort.