This is such an exciting time for me and for ICPA. I am excited because I am passionate about personal development and education. It is an exciting time for ICPA because in January the Board of Directors, along with several other ICPA planners and hospitality partners, met to begin the process of putting a strategic plan in place. During that time we identified four major objectives to be achieved in the next 12 to 36 months. As noted in the letter sent to you in March from John Touchette, 2005 ICPA President, they are

  • rebranding/marketing the association,
  • membership,
  • education/value of the association, and
  • sponsorship.

The Board strongly believes that the two components of the education/value of the association strategic goal are integrally related. Without a solid educational plan, you can't add value to the association.

What We're Doing That's Different

The first ICPA webinar event, being held on June 22, focuses on a topic that is a key concern to all of us in today's economy: the state of the airline industry. A second webinar is scheduled for August on the topic of technology trends, another current issue affecting us all.

I hope you will attend the 2005 Educational Forum to experience the positive changes we have incorporated into this important industry training event. The 2005 Educational Forum is being held at the Austin Hilton, in Austin, Texas, July 14 to 16. The design team has worked very hard to develop an agenda that appeals not only to the novice planner, but also to the more seasoned planner — and to our hospitality partners as well. A “Leadership Skills” seminar, given by John Hersey, will kick off the meeting and we will be closing with some new ideas on “Creating Sensational Events” for you to take home. We owe a huge “Thank you!” to the 2005 Educational Forum Design Team for their hard work and dedication to making this year's event in Austin one to remember. Members include Brian Brown, Guardian Equities Services; Patricia Kerr, CMP, Manulife Financial; Ellen King, Standard Insurance Co.; Erin Longo, CMP, Prudential Financial; Jennifer Squeglia, CMP, John Hancock Financial Services; and Francine Cobb, Hilton Hotels.

A newly formed education committee will be meeting via conference calls throughout the year and during the Annual Meeting in New York to develop an educational plan that will be attractive and relevant to all ICPA members.

Even though the Strategic Planning Task Force determined that education/value of the association should be a strategic ICPA focus, we cannot achieve this goal without your input and contributions. If there is a topic or session that you would like to see added to one of our events, please write to and bring it to our attention. We are listening, and we care!

ICPA is going through a very positive and productive time, and I am very proud to be part of this growth and development.

Educationally yours,
Sharon Chapman, CMP, CMM
Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America
ICPA Vice President, Education