The Insurance Conference Planner's Association Annual Meeting in Seattle, November 3 to 7, drew a record crowd of 195 planners and 336 hospitality partners. Best pre-meeting detail: easy online registration and up-to-the-minute conference information at ICPA's Web site (, newly designed by Mark Beythoun at Here's a personal take on the meeting's top ten:

  1. Convenient curbside check-in at the headquarters hotel, the Westin Seattle.

  2. Dale Irvin, the hilarious master of ceremonies.

  3. Instant gratification from seeing digital photos shortly after each event took place, taken by and displayed on flat-screen computer monitors.

  4. A fabulous rock-and-roll party at Experience Music Project, Seattle's interactive music museum.

  5. The annual Marketplace Tradeshow, held at the Washington State Convention Center after breakfast and a keynote speaker, instead of at the hotel.

  6. A whole lot of great keynote speakers who got us energized and inspired.

  7. An elegant, autumn-themed reception at the Four Seasons Seattle with the best cuisine of the conference.

  8. Brad Little, lead of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, belting out “Music of the Night” to announce ICPA's 2005 Annual Meeting in New York City. Kudos to NYC & Company and the New York Marriott Marquis for such a class act.

  9. Thoughtful pillow gifts that reflected the Seattle destination and were actually useful, like a full-sized umbrella and a hand-blown glass candy dish.

  10. Last but not least, the Westin's comfy heavenly beds that helped defy jet lag.