On day three of the 2010 Financial & Insurance Conference Planners Annual Conference, FICP President Dan Young, CMP, of Thrivent Financial officially passed the gavel to 2011 Chairman Todd Zint, CMP, CMM, of NFP.

FICP members voted this year to change the title of the volunteer leader of the association’s board of directors from “president” to “chairman.” Also officially voted on was the elimination of board members’ individual titles. While they will continue to chair committees in different areas, their service as board members will be high level and strategic rather than tactical.

"The board began the 2011 goal-planning process earlier than in years past," Zint explained in his first remarks to the membership as chairman. "We dedicated a tremendous amount of time to reviewing our strategic priorities and evaluating stakeholder feedback, including analyzing FICP member surveys and industry trends. That due diligence resulted in a clear and concise vision for the future, one that will deliver incredible value to members and hospitality partners. It will also position FICP as the preeminent association for financial and insurance meeting professionals."

Zint outlined the board's strategic priorities for 2011:

1. Membership.
The goal is to increase membership to 525 in 2011 and to 600 in 2012. But in addition to reaching those numbers, FICP will focus on getting the right mix of members. "To do this," said Zint, "we need to recruit companies that are not currently members of FICP, engage senior planners across member companies, and build a pipeline of junior planners who will be future leaders in the industry and active FICP volunteers."

2. Education.
Zint announced two education-related strategic partnerships, one with MeetingMetrics to continually monitor and understand member needs, and the other with Corporate Meetings & Incentives magazine, to incorporate larger industry trends into education planning. "Although board members have their own strategic focus based on the committees they oversee," he elaborated, "they will collaborate on an overarching educational strategy. This holistic educational theme will ensure that well-designed and meaningful content is offered at every FICP live and virtual meeting next year."

3. Marketing and Communications.
Continuous improvement of member interactivity is the primary goal here, including promoting the online exchange and resource library, and updating other areas of the FICP Web site based on member needs. Strengthening FICP's social media communications is also a focus.

4. Finance.
Following up the success of FICP’s first annual report, Treasurer Koleen Roach will continue to work with FICP Executive Director Steve Bova to ensure transparency to membership regarding the association’s finances.

5. Hospitality Partner Relationship.
"Board member Nancy Farmer has worked diligently during her three-year term to determine a fair and equitable sponsorship plan and to channel sponsorship revenue appropriately," Zint said. "By having Steve Bova assume the Relationship Manager role, the hospitality partner community will begin to see greater transparency with meeting sponsorships as well as enhanced ROI opportunities."

Concluding his remarks, Zint thanked those who had chosen to attend the annual conference. "I hope the event has exceeded your expectations," he said. "It has certainly exceeded mine.”

Comings and Goings
Each year at the FICP Annual Conference, board and HP Committee members who are ending and beginning their terms are announced. Leaving the board this year: Nancy Farmer, CMP, The Hanover Insurance Group, and Cindy Wheaton, CMP, Nationwide. New board members are Lindsay Maloni of MetLife, who continues on after filling in due to an early board vacancy at the end of 2009; Eldon Gale, Nationwide Insurance; and Kim Pickering, CMP, Manulife Financial. This year’s chair-elect is Koleen Roach of Securian Financial. Remaining on the board are Kelli Livers, CMP, of Forethought Financial Group, Jana Stern of ING, and Florine Edwards, CMP, of FM Global.

Leaving the Hospitality Partner Committee this year is Bill Hopkins of Bill Hopkins Events and Dan Tavrytsky, formerly of Southwest Conference Planners. New members are Diane Goodman of Goodman Speakers Bureau and Michael Tarr of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The 2010 HP Committee chair, Brent Centlivre of Disney Destinations, passed leadership to Kathy Fort Carty of Allied/PRA Destination Management. And continuing on the HP Committee are Katy Gettinger of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Bob Beach of Destination Hotels & Resorts, and Colleen Brzozowski of Grand Traverse Resort & Spa.

Here’s a little more of what was seen and heard in the ballroom and breakout rooms:

Credit Where Credit is Due
2010 Annual Conference Chair Cindy Wheaton, CMP, of Nationwide, praised the dedication of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach staff in making the event successful. Her confidence in the property is so great that Nationwide is bringing a program to the Fontainebleau in March, she said. She also thanked the 2010 Annual Design Team members: Anne Erickson of the Fontainebleau; Michael Burke and Nancy Farmer of The Hanover Insurance Group; Lindsay Maloni of MetLife; Sharon Chapman, CMP, CMM, of The Guardian Life Insurance Co.; Marianne Schmidhofer of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau; Brent Centlivre of Disney Destinations; Patrick Sullivan of PRA; Val Tate of Convention Planning Services; and Jerry Spencer and Bill Biegler of Bartha Events. Finally, Wheaton thanked all of the annual meeting sponsors who, as she put it, “made the meeting happen.”

FICP’s Four-Legged Friends
For the ninth year, FICP conducted a silent auction during the annual meeting with proceeds donated to a local charity. This year’s recipient was the Humane Society of Greater Miami. Thanks to the generous donations of auction items by hospitality partners—and to some individual cash donations—FICP handed over a check for $41,306 to Emily Marquez-Dulin, executive director of the Humane Society of Greater Miami. “This far exceeds anything I expected,” she said with gratitude, explaining that the Miami facility is a “no kill” shelter—or, as she prefers to name it, a “guaranteed adoption” shelter. Five years ago, the society shifted its mission from focusing on adoption to focusing on slowing pet population growth, and now offers free spaying and neutering programs at clinics in Greater Miami.

Tech Tidbits
During your next site inspection, visit Bandwidth Place, and click “start test.” You’ll get a reading of the hotel’s bandwidth along with an assessment of what the results mean (as in, “needs and upgrade” or “cruise control”). Solid bandwidth is now part of the overall experience you must deliver to attendees.
—James Spellos, CMP, President, Meeting U

If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world.
—Sam Stanton, President, redbutton.tv

Guess what the hotel room of the future won’t have? A phone.
—James Spellos, CMP, President, Meeting U

Legalese
Are you videotaping or audiotaping speakers at your conference and putting that content at your Web site? Be sure you have their consent.
—Barbara Dunn, partner, Howe & Hutton

Get started on your social media policy: Find more than 160 templates and sample corporate and association policies at the Web site Social Media Governance.

Want to know if a word, picture, or symbol is a registered trademark? Go to the U.S. Patent Office Web site and do a free search.
—Barbara Dunn, partner, Howe & Hutton