Education and networking with industry peers were top priorities for the 151 meeting planners and 317 hospitality partners who attended the 2004 ICPA Annual Meeting at the fabulous Grand Wailea Resort and Spa in Maui, Hawaii, November 14 to 18.

During an interactive audience response session at the conference, 85 percent of the planners in attendance said that the meeting met or exceeded their expectations. Eighty-nine percent said that their top reason for being involved with ICPA was networking. Education is also a top priority: Seventy-seven percent of ICPA members said they would participate in an educational webinar at a nominal charge.

Educational sessions at the conference covered hot topics such as how to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the growing role of procurement in meeting planning decisions and purchasing. “The SOX seminar gave me the latest and most important information,” said first-time attendee Dali Giese, manager of agency relations at Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America in Lansing, Mich. Giese joined ICPA a year ago, when she started her current job. “The meeting was so much more than I expected,” she added. “I've learned a lot about the industry from networking.”

Keynote speakers Tim Sanders, chief solutions officer of Yahoo!, and former Marine and motivational speaker W. Mitchell inspired attendees — and emcee Dale Irvin once again had the audience roaring with laughter with his hilarious summaries of conference happenings. Among other highlights were singers from the Broadway stage performing at a preview lunch for the 2005 Annual Meeting at the New York Marriott Marquis, and world-class Native American hoop dancer Tony Duncan, bringing a flavor of the Southwest to the announcement of the 2007 Annual Meeting at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.