At Meeting Professionals International Professional Education Conference, held January 18 to 20 in San Antonio, Terri Breining, CMP, CMM, chairwoman of the MPI board of directors and president of Concepts Worldwide, and Colin Rorrie, PhD, CAE, president and CEO of MPI, continually focused attendees on the three-pronged strategic plan rolled out at last year's World Education Conference. Rorrie pledged that planners will have the recognition and acknowledgment that they've sought for years before his tenure at MPI is through. The MPI Foundation will help achieve that mission, having raised $5.1 million in just 18 months in its Envision 2003 capital campaign, said David Dubois, CMP, CAE, executive vice president of the Foundation. The Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary at the PEC, which drew just over 2,000 delegates.

Breining hopes that research will begin this year to address the second point of the MPI strategic plan, to “aggressively pursue opportunities to increase the influence that decision-makers have on meeting expenditures by proving that meetings are a critical component of any organization's success.” Also expected to launch in 2004, through a foundation grant from Hilton Hotels Corp., is MPI MIX (Meeting Industry Exchange), an online bridge to knowledge and peer-to-peer exchange for MPI members.

The mood of the conference was optimistic among both planners and suppliers, reflecting the results of the FutureWatch 2004 survey. “The survey's results have confirmed what we had hoped,” said Breining, “that the meetings industry is coming back. Both suppliers and planners said that, in 2004, on average, spending and revenue projections would increase 4 percent over last year. That's good news.”

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