MEETING AT THE SAGAMORE, a beautiful lakeside resort nestled in the Adirondack mountain region of New York one hour from Albany, 17 planners and 16 hospitality partners discussed some of the most pressing issues facing the industry today during the Northeast ICPA Winter Chapter Meeting, January 8 to 10. A highlight of the meeting was a morning of roundtable discussion that fostered interaction and problem-solving. Janie Prevost, the Phoenix Cos., led discussions on the growing role of procurement in meetings; Sheryl Krongold, Prudential Financial, led discussions on NASD regulations for training and education meetings (see page 13); and Erin Longo, Prudential Financial, led discussions on online registration (see cover story, page 20). Groups of about 11 people each rotated through three 40-minute sessions so that everyone participated in all three topic discussions. The result was a lively interplay where planners and hospitality partners shared stories and solutions that they could bring back to the workplace.

Other meeting highlights included speakers William Shipman, chairman of CarriageOaks Partners LLC, a Massachusetts-based consulting firm specializing in retirement finance, and ICPA President Debbie Boschee, CMP, Prudential Financial. An advocate of Social Security reform, Shipman predicted that the financial services industry will be a “giant player” in the transformation of the U.S. social security system that is certain to take place in the near future. “We will hear more about this issue than ever before in 2004,” he said.

Attendees also took part in a fun teambuilding event in the Sagamore kitchens, where culinary teams of about five people each, led by a chef, prepared a sumptuous buffet lunch. Throughout the meeting, participants experienced the inventive cuisine and top-notch meeting facilities at the 350-room resort, which has 25,000 square feet of function space in three different locations. Built in 1883, the Sagamore combines historic ambience with modern-day luxury.

Kudos for producing a meeting with many meaningful takeaways go to Karyn Rizzo, CMP, Sun Life Financial, and her design team: Michael Burke, CMP, Allmerica Financial; Nancy Farmer, CMP, Allmerica Financial; Erin Longo, Prudential Financial; and Janie Prevost, The Phoenix Cos. The Northeast chapter summer meeting will be held August 19 to 20 at the Park Hyatt in New York City.