Morgan Murphy, CMP, is director, meetings, media services and field communications, Bankers Life and Casualty Co. in Chicago. He is just finishing up his first year on theBoard of Directors as vice president, communications, and is about to take over the role of vice president, treasurer. He took some time recently to talk about his experience in the industry and with FICP.
Q: Tell us about your background in the meetings industry.
A: I started working on the hotel side of the industry back in college when I was attending the University of Central Florida's hotel/restaurant management program. I got interested in the convention and conference track there and when I moved back to Chicago I worked in some of the local hotels until I started with Bankers Life in 1993.
What was your original job with Bankers Life and what's your role with the company now?
I joined the company as a junior planner in the recognition department. Now, as director, meetings, media services and field communications, I'm responsible for the meeting planning department, which produces about 40 to 50 meetings per year; field communications, which helps with production support; and promotion of our incentives and media services areas.
How long have you been a member of FICP?
I've been a member since 1996. My manager was a member of ICPA as it was then called) and, as I began moving up in the company, I thought it would be a good idea to participate in the association. Then a couple of years ago I started getting involved in the Great Lakes Chapter and became co-chair.
How did you end up on the board?
I was invited to join at the end of 2006 as the vice president of communications, which made sense since I've had some experience with media services and field communications in my job with Bankers Life. Now, with Paul Eder's tenure on the board ending, there's a vacancy for the treasurer's position, and I've been asked to assume that role.
Fill us in on what the silent auction is all about.
Each year during the annual conference, FICP holds a silent auction to help a selected local charity. Proceeds from the 2007 silent auction went to help UMOM New Day Centers in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. It was very successful: We raised a total of $34,573 this year.
How did the hospitality partner lottery for annual conference attendance work this year?
Feedback from our hospitality partners indicated there was a desire to observe the lottery as it was taking place to ensure fairness. The drawing was held at the conclusion of the 2007 Annual Conference in Scottsdale, and about 20 hospitality partners attended as observers. FICP used a raffle drum to make the selections. Hospitality Partner Committee members, including PRA Destination Management's Patrick Sullivan, Ritz-Carlton's Pam Ferguson, and Hyatt's Jessica Phillips, helped run the drawing.
With FICP's strong level of hospitality partner involvement, and a fixed number of sponsorship slots available, the lottery system can be frustrating. There are some partners who've gone years without being selected, and others who've made it in their first year. So I think it's important to make the process as transparent as possible, and I think we've done that.
What are some of the challenges you face as FICP treasurer?
My objective is to ensure that the association remains in as good a financial position as possible. I'll be working with an investment company — UBS — with whom the association has just reached an agreement to help manage our financial goals.
How does your involvement on the FICP board help you do your job with Bankers Life?
I think that working on the board definitely gives me a better understanding of how senior-level management operates. This helps me to identify what I need to focus on when it comes to big picture goals and objectives in my job.