What has been the value of FICP membership for you?
I joined FICP six years ago and from day one I could sense the value that FICP members get through our interaction and camaraderie with our peers and the hospitality partner community.

After I got involved at the regional level, my passion for the organization was noticed and I was invited to be part of an annual conference design team. While serving on that design team, I was exposed to members from other regions and was able to build relationships within the industry to better serve my own organization. FICP gives me a sense of pride in our industry and contributes to the value I provide to my clients based on knowledge and experience.

What do you hope to accomplish as an FICP board member?
Although my tenure is still new, I am eager to be a voice within our industry. Communication—through multiple forms of media, but especially in our day-to-day operations in the field—is pivotal to how we interact with each other. The tools we provide through the association Web site and social media are catalysts for success in an ever-changing environment.

How will the board of directors help FICP stay relevant? What do you see as the association’s biggest near-term challenges?
The years of combined industry experience and the desire for continual improvement drive the board to push the limits of FICP, both the organization and the individuals who make up our membership. We are lucky to have our executive director, Steve Bova, on the board for the Convention Industry Council. His involvement with CIC means he is able to share information that we can apply to our own association. We listen to our members and look for ways to foster growth of our association, using our knowledge of the industry to attract and retain members.

Finally, in this economic climate where we are all cautiously optimistic, we need to look to our partners to remain transparent and address the hard issues. It is vital we realize we are all in the same business and that keeping planner/hospitality partner relationships strong is key in showcasing the value we provide to our own organizations.

What is the best piece of meeting planning advice you have ever received?
I am fortunate to have worked with and for amazing leaders in our industry, so I have received countless pieces of good advice. However, one nugget of information always remains in my mind when I am in the midst of a program: “As the program nears the end and all is going great, never let your guard down.” You must stay focused and engaged until that last flight is in the air. It is so easy to get excited as you approach the end of a program and you begin see the finish line, but if you lose focus, that is where all your hard work and perfect execution can be for nothing. You are only as good as the last thing you do.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s annual meeting?
The Network! The design team, the board, and the hospitality partner committee have turned the former Marketplace into a high-energy event where you can meet and reconnect with hospitality partners. I can’t think of a better way to kick off this year’s program!

Oh, yeah—and to hear what Dan Young has to say from the podium. LOL! Hope to see you all there!