Kim Quinn
Vice President of Communications Missouri Baptist Foundation Jefferson City, Mo.

The most helpful part of our RCMA meeting this year to me was the breakout session on preparing an RFP: “Achieving Amazing Results Through Your Request for Proposal.” I have referenced my notes three times since leaving St. Louis!

A few things that I noted were:

  1. Always talk with the local CVB prior to making your visit. (I don't know why I hadn't done that before.)

  2. Negotiate your room rate one year prior to the actual event.

  3. Unions. I had never thought about the effect a union could have on your event and about planning for union contracts with your facility.

Celeste Ashe Johnson
Convention Manager Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc. Manchester, Conn.

As a veteran member of RCMA, it was important to me to focus on my specific needs rather than enjoying the whole conference. For example, I chose behind-the-scenes with the convention bureaus. I was really able to get a handle on how not to shy away from convention centers with the size of the convention I'm involved with.

The tutorials I chose dealt mainly with contracts.

I was able to come back and immediately apply the information that I learned, and it helped me with my annual leadership seminar.

I have been absent from the conference for a couple of years. In my new job as convention manager for Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I was able to come in from a different perspective. I am totally engrossed in my RCMA notes and feeling very good about going to my convention [March 3-5].

A meeting planning forum that I attended was one of the greatest things I've experienced. During the session they provided us with forms that we can adapt that take you from five to 10 years out to the day of the conference. I feel so prepared with this alone.

Winford Buchanan
Special Events Manager Crenshaw Christian Center Los, Angeles, Calif.

I did the behind-the-scenes and learned how easy it is to make centerpieces — not that I'll want to do that, but now I know. I learned a lot about convention centers and how versatile they are.

Coincidentally, I had an event the following week at the San Diego Convention Center. My RCMA experience helped me to know what I could ask the center to do. I needed space for 1,000 people and had a space for 20,000. The center's staff helped me get into a smaller space. They do everything they can to help you. In terms of knowing what convention centers work, it made it easier to know what they could do. It made my experience very easy.

Hans Widicker
Meeting Planner AdventSource Lincoln, Neb.

I guess one of the things that really stuck with me was in communications with the hotel — basically there's no amount of information that's too much. You can't communicate too much: the demographics of the group, the overall tendencies of the group. It's something I would usually just say as a sidebar, but now I include in the request: This is what the group is all about.

Jeff Weston
General Secretary World Convention of the Churches of Christ Nashville, Tenn.

I learned so much. I've not done convention management before, so it helped me to clarify so much, understand so much.

The need to be well-prepared came through the conference. I really appreciated the workshop by Dean Jones because he talked about how he goes about doing things.

The workshop on insurance explained that you need to be well-covered.

Even before the conference started, my wife and I went to the behind-the-scenes, which helped explain what needs to be in the contract. It was all helpful.