About 27 planners gathered at the Woodstock Inn & Resort, Woodstock, Vt., July 29 to 31, to hear a variety of speakers and participate in interactive sessions on hot-button topics.

    Among the highlights: On the meeting's first day, Linda Lee Johnson of Unique Technique got attendees engaged with an energizing session that divided people in teams to tap into their creativity. Executive Producer Kevin Cummiskey answered planners' AV questions and concerns about everything from labor expenses to definitions of technical terms. An interactive session on ethics led by Shawn Hatcher, CMP, Fidelity Investments, generated lively discussion on hypothetical case studies.

    On day two, attendees heard tips on creating successful partnerships between planners and suppliers from the Woodstock Inn's Director of Sales and Marketing Jim Mangan and Donna Wikstrand, CMP, vice president, Conference Hotels Unlimited. Finally, keynoter Steve Gilliland, CSP, kept attendees riveted with his stories about the everyday challenges that can make us or break us.

    The Northeast Chapter winter meeting will take place January 6 to 8 at the Hartford Marriott Downtown in Hartford, Conn.


    This year for the first time, the Great Lakes and Midwest chapters joined forces, meeting at the Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa in Galena, Ill., August 13 to 15.

    Among the educational highlights was an interactive session led by Pam Ferguson, Ritz-Carlton hotels, and Chris Gilbert, Charleston Place, titled “Questions you always wanted the answers to but were afraid to ask.” This was followed by professional speaker Steve Gilliland, CSP, on how to “Enjoy the Ride.” His engaging presentation encouraged attendees to take time to enjoy the little things in life even as it gets more hectic.

    Planners and Hospitality Partners also got a little one-on-one time with each other during a reverse marketplace, which gave each planner five minutes to sit with a supplier before rotating to the next one. This session gave planners time to note their upcoming programs, and get the latest news from the suppliers' portfolios. It received great reviews from both planners and suppliers.


    With 25 planners attending this year, the West Coast meeting continues to grow. Meeting at the La Costa Resort & Spa, Carlsbad, Calif., August 16 to 18, attendees had a busy educational agenda that included an interactive learning experience with speaker and facilitator Tom MacDonald, who talked about how to become a strategic partner in your company and get a seat at the executive table. He led the group through a series of discussions: The Challenge of Leadership; The ROI Trifecta; Unlocking Your Leadership Talent; and A Game Plan for the Future.

    Tim Brown, partner, Meeting Sites Resources, led another interactive session called “From Relationships To Partnerships — Innovative Ways to Improve Planner and Supplier Dynamics.” His presentation covered trends impacting planner and supplier partnerships. Attendees also got tips from speaker Juliet Funt on how to develop success skills while living an overwhelmed life.


    A record-breaking 37 meeting planners attended this year's Canadian Chapter meeting at The Four Seasons Toronto August 23 to 25. “Change is Good!” was the theme incorporated into many aspects of the program.

    There were three keynote speakers: Bill Jensen taught attendees how to change their communication style to make their lives easier; Cheryl Cran discussed how demographic shifts are impacting meeting planning; and Cary Mullen shared his “Process for Success”.

    A “speed dating” session was well attended. Each sponsor and meeting planner had three minutes with each other to exchange information, and when the bell went off, planners moved on to their next “date.”

    Everyone enjoyed a fun afternoon with L(earn)2 Inc., which used several interactive activities to show people how to change their mind-set. Round table discussions and a green meeting panel with representatives from The Fairmont Royal York, Delta Hotels, and Marriott Hotels rounded off the business agenda.

    Next year's Canadian Chapter meeting will be held at the Hilton Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Ontario, August 22 to 24.

All of the chapters are grateful to their sponsors, without whom the meetings would not be possible.