The Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Professional Education Conference, held in January in San Francisco, was the largest in the conference's 20-year history, attracting 2,054 attendees. This year's meeting broke the 1994 record of 1,731 attendees.
Meetings technology took center stage at the educational program. At an off-site Tech Lab, attendees were given hands-on introductions to a variety of software products, including MeetingPOWER, MeetingMatrix, and the soon-to-be-released PlanSoft Ajenis. There were also classes on the Internet and cyberspace marketing, among others-a total of more than 20 sessions.
In line with MPI's commitment to "staying ahead of the technology curve," as Kitty Ratcliffe, MPI president, and vice president, sales and marketing, Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association, put it, the organization announced that its World Wide Web site (www.mpiweb.org) would carry highlights of the January meeting in audio and video.
MPI also introduced a new benefit for members, known as Meeting WOW (Meeting WithOut Walls), in which they can work with the Center for Organization Development (COD), an Internet design company based in Webster, NY, to put their meetings on the Web for a reduced rate.
To balance the high-tech side of the meeting, keynote speaker Maya Angelou gave a characteristically warm and personal address, speaking of relatives who have inspired her in the past.
Also at the conference, MPI named its chapters of the year-Ottawa (fewer than 250 members) and Dallas/Fort Worth (more than 250 members).