The ICPA Educational Forum was held July 14 to 16 at the stylish and spacious Hilton Austin (Texas). This year for the first time, content included a choice of breakout sessions, on topics that ranged from how to leverage the value of group business (led by Judy Parker, Marriott Global Sales), to risk management (led by Carol Krugman, CMP, CMM, Krugman Group International Inc.).

Among the standout general sessions was an informative panel on the role of CVBs (moderated by Susan Frei, Canadian Tourism Commission), and a side-splitting riff of the “American Idol” television show led by Michael Tovee, World Marketing Group. This year's forum also benefited from the hilarious masters of ceremonies Mack & Jamie (sponsored by The Goodman Speakers Bureau Inc.).

A record 77 planners attended the forum, which is kept small to encourage interaction. “For me,” says ICPA's vice president of education Sharon Chapman, CMP, CMM, Berkshire Life, “the highlight was that it was so well attended by a really diversified group of planners. What you learn from your peers is, in my opinion, the biggest takeaway.” For more on future ICPA educational programs, go to