Q: What has membership inmeant to you and to your career?
A: I became aware of FICP (then ICPA) in the early 1990s. I was working for an insurance company, Western National Life Insurance, which spun off from Conseco. At the time, I was focused on building a business case for internal meeting planning versus, and I was also managing regulatory and tax requirements for meetings; I was interested in sharing best practices. I became a member in 1994 and attended my first annual conference. At that meeting I felt so at home and welcomed immediately.
What motivated you to accept the FICP board position?
I served on the Groups & Meetings Committee of the National Business Travel Association for two years. I received invaluable educational and career opportunities because of my involvement. When my term was up, I decided to get more actively involved with FICP and help to bring FICP's voice to NBTA and Meeting Professionals International.
When I was approached about an FICP board seat I was extremely honored. This is the same group of people whom I admired so much in the early 1990s, and who had provided me with such great input to help me advance my career. However, when I received the initial call from the board in August 2008, little did I know that my employer at the time would have such a major impact on our industry in October. You could have knocked me over with a feather when the formal offer for the board seat came in November. The timing was perfect. Unfortunately the economic timing was not so perfect.
But as to what motivated me to join the FICP board: to give back and to share my experience and support. I had managed meetings for a subsidiary of a large organization for many years when I was asked to implement an SMMP. Throughout the process I was exposed to many learning opportunities and grew professionally. Now I hope to give some of my experience back.
As vice president, membership, how will you focus on recruiting new members and retaining existing members?
During my first board meeting, in December 2008, one of the main agenda items that my predecessor, Dan Young, presented to the board was to allow continued association membership for planners who lose their positions due to the current economy. The board supported this change and we now have members benefiting from this updated policy.
We want to leverage our relationships with NBTA, MPI, and LIMRA to provide resources to meeting planners in the insurance and financial sector who are not aware of our association. We will be reaching out to planners to introduce them to the type of support FICP can bring to them and their companies.
Our planner recruitment contest, sponsored by Associated Luxury Hotels, ends August 31. The planner member who recruits the most new members will receive a three-night stay at The Grand Del Mar in San Diego, plus two round-trip American Airlines tickets donated by FICP. The hospitality partner who recruits the most new members gets complimentary registration for the 2009 Annual Conference in Toronto. Find all the contest details at www.ficpnet.com.
Can you share any membership initiatives that are in the works?
We are researching a new executive membership category. This would allow senior management from member companies access to member benefits and allow FICP to show them the value we bring to their planners and their organizations while gaining their perspectives on the industry.
On the communications front, my colleague Jan Hennessey has done a fabulous job of updating the FICP Web site to allow for better communication and feedback.
FICP: NORTHERN EXPOSURE, TORONTO
FICP ANNUAL CONFERENCE DELIVERS TOOLS TO HELP YOU THRIVE
The 2009 FICP Annual Conference, to be held November 15-18 in Toronto, is designed to make an immediate impact on your business and provide attendees with the tools, contacts, and education to thrive in today's environment. The theme of the conference is “Northern Exposure…Unlimited Opportunities,” and the agenda is packed with top-notch educational and networking offerings.
Participants can select from more than 35 breakout sessions geared toward financial services and insurance industry professionals. Educational content will focus on doing business in the face of increased regulatory (FINRA) scrutiny, sharing valuable cost-saving tips, and understanding(SMMP) best practices. The robust sessions are complemented by dynamic keynote presenters, including international mountaineer/adventurer Jamie Clarke; Institute for Health and Human Potential co-founder Dr. J.P. Pawliw-Fry; and Geoffrey Colvin, Fortune magazine's senior editor-at-large, who will lead an economy-focused panel discussion.
The three-day conference format is packed with myriad occasions for attendees to expand their peer networks. In addition to the ad-hoc idea exchange, Marketplace, and networking events, FICP is introducing The Meeting Place Café, a dedicated space for both planners and hospitality partners to engage in strategic sourcing conversations and discuss new business opportunities.
Toronto, the insurance and financial capital of Canada, and the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel serve as the ideal setting for this year's event. The city's vibrant cosmopolitan scene will be showcased throughout the week, and there will be opportunities to explore the city post-conference through optional educational activities and site inspections.
Conference registration is $399 for FICP planner members and $499 for nonmember planners. Hospitality partners are invited through sponsorship and recruitment eligibility. New this year: A one-day pass will be available for Monday's state-of-the-industry sessions and roundtables, ideal for local professionals and those unable to attend the full conference.
Last year's conference was a sellout, so don't delay in securing a spot at this year's event. Visit www.ficpnet.com for online registration and event information.
Kelli Livers, cmp is director, travel and administrative services, for Forethought Financial Group. She joined the company in January 2009 after 15 years with AIG, based in Houston. At Forethought, Livers is responsible for all meetings, events, and corporate travel. She also is in the process of opening the company's new office in Houston and will manage that office. Late last year, she was named FICP's vice president, membership.
FINANCIAL AND INSURANCE MEETING PLANNERS: RENEW OR JOIN TODAY!
Members: Please visit www.ficpnet.com to access your online profile and renew your FICP membership.
Nonmembers: Complete an online application or contact FICP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start networking with your peers today!