Dear ICPA Colleagues: Happy New Year! As we officially enter the new Millennium, it is an exciting time for ICPA. The Board of Directors addressed many issues in the year 2000 and we expect to identify some critical objectives for 2001 at our first board meeting in late January.

The year 2000 was a turning point for ICPA and I mean in a positive sense. At last November's annual meeting, members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bylaw amendments presented to them by the Board. One of the amendments was particularly significant: to include as ICPA members qualified meeting planners in the financial services industry. This is a giant step for ICPA - many of us have been concerned that we would become too big an association and lose our special market niche in the meeting professional world. That, in part, is why there has been so much debate among the membership in the past couple of years. The Board is convinced this is a positive step we had to take in order to continue as a vibrant association. The team at ICPA Headquarters is preparing for our annual membership drive, so if you know a qualified planner who is a potential member, contact Karen Hopkinson at

One of the most difficult decisions ICPA members had to make last November was to choose two new board members from an outstanding slate of candidates. Our new members are Ken Juel, Mutual of Omaha, and Michael Key, Monumental Life. We look forward to their input and participation.

Be sure to take time to read NewsNet, ICPA's newsletter, which is our way of communicating association news to members. In the next issue I'll highlight some of the other hot topics that were discussed during the annual meeting. Don't miss it!

The Board of Directors always keeps the interests of its members at the forefront. We welcome your comments and concerns. E-mail me directly at


43rd Gathering of Planners and Suppliers Convenes at the Legendary Broadmoor Hotel Okay, so it snowed. But as The Broadmoor's President & CEO Steve Bartolin said in welcoming the ICPA Annual Meeting to his hotel, "It's chillier than normal, but maybe the warmth of our hospitality will compensate." Indeed, it did - along with the fires crackling in fireplaces throughout the property's many alcoves and seating areas.

This year's meeting attracted 191 planners and 290 hospitality partners, and marked the passing of the president's gavel from Shirley Mertz, CMP, Nationwide, to Lynn Averill, National Life of Vermont. While she still had the presidential floor, Mertz issued a challenge to the association to increase membership to 500 by the 2001 Annual Meeting (scheduled for November 11 to 15 at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas).

Hot Topics Averill's term in office may be marked by the most open and provocative discussion the association has seen in quite a while. Several hot topics - admitting financial services company planners as ICPA members, the annual meeting registration process for hospitality partners, and the ratio of planners to HPers at the meeting - were hashed out during the members' private session.

Some of the same topics came up later in the meeting, during an interactive session that made use of wireless keypads provided by Meridia Interactive to show instant results to questions posed to meeting attendees. Read on for those results, and much more . . . .