Arrival day for personal activities in St. Louis, a cosmopolitan Mississippi River destination where visitors quickly learn “there's more than meets the arch.”


8 a.m. Behind-the-Scenes Experience

(Advance registration required)

Immerse yourself in the inner operations of a creative advertising company, public relations firm, hotel, or major convention center. Gain hands-on experience as you become involved with key personnel in a range of activities that will enhance your professional knowledge. Through the years, this RCMA exclusive learning event has helped thousands of participants. Registrants in the program are served a complimentary breakfast and luncheon.

Noon-6 p.m. Registration

America's Center
Sponsor: Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau

1:30 p.m. New Member Orientation

Religious meeting planners attending the RCMA conference for the first time join in a period of fellowship with the Board of Directors and other professionals in the field. Gain insights into the intricacies of the conference and receive tips on how to maximize the experience for personal and professional development.

2:30 p.m. Gateway to St. Louis Tour

(Advance registration required)

Trace the history of St. Louis as you travel past the Old Cathedral Basilica (the oldest west of the Mississippi), historic Union Station, and the famous Gateway Arch, the nation's tallest monument. Stop at the (New) Cathedral Basilica containing the largest collection of mosaics in the world. Then visit the St. Louis Science Center and explore the wonders of space, technology, environment, and human adventure.

4:45 p.m. New Exhibitor Orientation

Join other exhibitors attending their first RCMA conference. Leaders of the association will be on hand to greet you and explain how to gain the most from this conference and exposition devoted exclusively to the realm of religious assemblies and events.

7-9 p.m. Grand Reception: “Meet Me at the World's Fair”

“Meet Me in St. Louie, Louie” is more than just a catchy Judy Garland tune. Relive the grandeur of the 1904 World's Fair. This turn-of-the-century exposition brought together people from dozens of nations who recreated their art and culture. Be delightfully entertained by sights, sounds, and songs, as you share in spritely fellowship amid an array of colorful buffets featuring famous foods of the fair.

Sponsor: St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission


8 a.m. Opening General Session and Breakfast

Sponsor: St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission RCMA's 33rd year is launched in grand style with a lively session featuring Dr. Will Miller, speaking on “Gateway to Excellence: In Life Balance.” Join professional colleagues from around the globe as music and speech combine to set the tone for the conference.

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Grand Opening/Expo 2005

Doors open to the largest trade show in the world exclusively for the religious market and those who serve within it. This arena provides planners with the opportunity to converse with hundreds of representatives from meeting destinations, services, and products.

12:35 p.m. Luncheon and General Session

Sponsor: Greater Houston CVB Address: “Gateway to Excellence in Leadership”
Jeffrey B. McMullen

2:20-3:25 p.m. Tutorials

  1. Finding, Booking, and Working With Speakers (Presented Once)

    Do you know how to find and choose the right speakers for your program? Do you know how to communicate effectively with them once selected? Even if your presenters are picked by a committee or someone else, you must be sure that they are well-informed of all logistical details. This session will present suggestions for properly managing speaker arrangements, plus insights on partnering with speakers bureaus and conducting effective communications — from the initial call for papers to final speaker instructions.

    Nancy Lauterbach, president, Five Star Speakers & Trainers

  2. Show 'Em a Little Razzle-Dazzle

    Don't forget, an event is often a production. You can use the same philosophies, techniques, and media that theatrical producers use to keep your attendees excited and coming back year after year. In this tutorial, a former entertainer and seasoned producer of events will provide practical tips on improving the pacing, variety, and emotional impact of a meeting, even if your caviar tastes are on a peanut butter budget.

    Samuel Del Brocco, president, PCI Communications

  3. Life in the Fast Lane — Balancing Work, Family, and Play

    Stress is an inevitable fact of life, and everyone experiences some degree of stress, whether they acknowledge it or not. Chronic stress may be manifested in back pain, headaches, sleep disturbances, decreased work productivity, and substance abuse, and contribute to severe medical illnesses. Positive reactions to stress can include excitement and challenges, and can strengthen our defenses and stimulate us to greater productivity. The program will take a look at what stress is, what causes it, how you can recognize signs of normal stress, and how you can manage the stress in your life.

    Richard Avdoian, trainer/consultant

  4. Putting Out the Fires: On-Site Crises Management

    What if an attendee becomes ill? What if a hurricane is headed your way? What if the ballroom is double-booked, or the hotel informs you that it is oversold and your attendees may be “walked”? You can survive these crises and emerge a winner. Learn how to cope with unexpected changes that occur while your meeting is under way: how to make accurate food and beverage guarantees; how to avoid disputes over “adjustments” to your final bill; and how to build crises management into your planning.

    Jim Goodman, CMP, account executive, Conferon Inc.

  5. The Art of Writing More Powerfully

    Does writing come easy to you? Are you able to turn ideas into well-organized written documents? Are all your documents as concise as they could be? Do your readers clearly understand your message — and take the action you've requested? Does your writing help to build your credibility and earn you respect? If you answered “no” to two or more of these questions, this session will help you develop writing skills that will assist in achieving increased success with letters, proposals, and reports. Discover the most important writing principles for business letters and memos.

    Lee Schmucker, training consultant, Schmucker Training & Consulting

  6. Building a Winning Team: The Religious Meeting Planner and Convention Services Manager (Presented Once)

    From a logistical perspective, the convention services manager and the religious meeting planner are the key individuals responsible for the success of a meeting. It is essential that these persons be able to communicate thoroughly and honestly, and be able to trust and rely on each other's expertise and judgment. This workshop will examine how to develop this important relationship.

    Jeffrey S. Hess, CMP, director of event management, Renaissance Grand and Renaissance St. Louis Suites Hotels

    Carol Werchan, executive administrator, conventions & meetings, International Lutheran Laymen's League

  7. Your Vocal Image

    Many people don't like the sound of their own voices. They feel that they are too nasal, shrill, weak, monotone, etc. What about you? Do you like your voice? Is it projecting what you'd like it to? Research tells us that how something is said is far more important than what is said! Are you satisfied with how you share your message? Your career can depend on whether you are perceived as confident, credible, and powerful or weak and insecure. The sound of your voice directly affects those perceptions. Make sure that it's the best that it can be. This presentation will make you think of and use your voice in ways you probably never imagined.

    Candice M. Coleman, PhD, president, Say It Well

  8. Keys to Understanding the Religious Market (For Suppliers — Presented Once)

    Today's religious market has received ever-increasing attention from the hospitality industry. This tutorial will focus on the unique and varied aspects of this market. Receive insights into the types of religious conferences and meetings, ranging from huge citywide events to small weekend retreats. Learn how, as a professional sales representative, you can develop a special rapport with the meeting planners representing denominations and religious organizations.

    Linda Coleman, convention coordinator, California Apostolic Fellowship

    Lerry W. Fogle, conference executive director, Church of the Brethren

    Marjorie Homer, special events coordinator, The Salvation Army — Central Territory

    James T. Wood, president, Greater Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

  9. Foundations of Meeting Planning

    Every solid structure begins with a good foundation. Your meetings are no different. We'll explore seven essential foundations that will ensure your meeting doesn't collapse. Newcomers and veterans will benefit from this lively session. Among the essentials to be explored are establishing your credibility, meeting history, on-site operations, event timelines, and your event paper trail.

    Dean Jones, CMP, convention manager, National Association of Free Will Baptists Inc.

  10. A Hotelier's Perspective on Getting the Best Possible Deal

    As a buyer, how do you increase your leverage with a hotel and ensure you get the maximum value? Find out who, when, and what to negotiate with hotels, what points are and are not negotiable, with whom you should be dealing, and how to make sure that you're getting what you asked for.

    Mike Costello, divisional director of sales, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

    Steve Enselein, asst. vice president, catering and convention services, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

3:25-3:40 p.m. Refreshment Break

Sponsor: Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureau

3:40-4:45 p.m. Tutorials

  1. You Too Can Be a Certified Meeting Professional

    The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation represents the standard of excellence in today's meetings and exposition industry. Three RCMA members who hold this distinguished recognition will explain the process of becoming certified and answer questions concerning this program launched by the meeting industry.

    Melvin L. Worthington, CMP, member of Certified Meeting Professional Board

    Naomi Lauture, CMP, meeting and travel manager, American Bible Society

    Becky Weber, CMP, senior account manager, Renaissance Grand Hotel

  2. Organizing and Managing the Family Conference (Presented Once)

    Family-oriented programs are a big trend. They involve an infant nursery, child care, programs for children and teens, as well as a full schedule of activities for adult men and women, presenting a special challenge to meeting planner and supplier. This tutorial will focus upon those needs and logistics, and will suggest practical help as you plan and conduct your family conference.

    Larry D. Collins, managing director and meeting planner, North American Christian Convention

    Dwight Loken, CMP, convention coordinator, Ohio Teens for Christ

  3. Ensuring Small Meeting Success (Presented Once)

    From committees to boards to seminars, your small meetings present special planning demands. This lively tutorial will show you how to get the most for the least; provide pointers on how to assure top quality service; select the right size and type of facility for various small meetings; and how to build negotiating power when working on a series of meetings.

    Leslie Edwards, global account director, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

    Bernard Simmons, director of national accounts, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

  4. Show 'Em A Little Razzle-Dazzle

  5. Life in the Fast Lane — Balancing Work, Family, and Play

  6. Putting Out the Fires: On-site Crisis Management

  7. The Art of Writing More Powerfully

  8. Your Vocal Image

  9. Foundations of Meeting Planning

  10. A Hotelier's Perspective on Getting the Best Possible Deal

6:45 p.m. Dinner Buffet and Theatrical Performance

Sponsor: St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission


8-9:40 a.m. Breakfast and General Session

Sponsor: Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts

“Kollege of Kongregatin' Knowledge V”

Test your meeting planning IQ! A scintillating program where electronic systems tabulate the audience response. This is a high-touch, high-energy event in which persons will be challenged and quizzed on the vast body of knowledge that is required of today's meeting professional.

Dean of Kollege: Melvin Tennant, president & CEO, San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

Professor of Administration: Jackie Walker, convention-meeting planner, Church of God Executive Office

Professor of Humanities: Nick Topitzes, CMP, president, pc/nametag

Professor of Law: Jonathan T. Howe, senior partner, Howe & Hutton, Ltd.

Professor of Psychology: Deborah Davies, CMP, manager of assembly services, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Professor of Sociology: Willie Clay, CMP, senior account executive, Chicago Downtown Marriott

Sponsor: Swank Audio Visuals

9:40-10:45 a.m. Tutorials

  1. Marketing Your Meeting for Success

    We live in the “attention economy,” where the success of any meeting depends on whether it can attract the notice of an audience increasingly bombarded with communications from other sources. Here is a practical guide to defining the “value proposition” for your meeting, selling your program in advance, creating anticipation for your meeting, preparing attendees for your communications goals, integrating Web strategies and streaming video, and using marketing strategies to maximize attendance and participation.

    Samuel Del Brocco, president, PCI Communications

  2. Developing Productive Work Relationships

    Ever wonder why you get along well with some people but struggle to work with others? The foundation of personal and professional success lies in understanding yourself and others, and realizing the effects of your behavioral style on the people around you. Discover your preferred behavioral style and ways to adapt your behavior to meet the needs of situations and persons with whom you come in contact.

    Lee Schmucker, training consultant, Schmucker Training & Consulting

  3. Negotiating Like a Pro (Presented Once)

    Whether you are new to planning meetings or have been planning meetings for longer than you care to admit, we can all use practice on our negotiation skills. Learn negotiation best practices. Real-life scenarios to be addressed include protecting hotel room rates, combating “interlopers” who attempt to get your attendees to book outside your room block, and negotiating resolutions in attrition and cancellation cases. Come share in this interactive session.

    Barbara Dunn, Esq., attorney/partner, Howe & Hutton, Ltd.

    Jonathan T. Howe, senior partner, Howe & Hutton, Ltd.

  4. Taming the Cost Monster

    Meeting costs are increasing dramatically, which is making planning an even greater and more exciting challenge. Learn how to squeeze all possible value out of every meeting dollar. Gain an array of valuable tips that will save your organization money through careful planning and negotiation. And see how you can apply winning strategies when dealing with hotels, convention centers, convention bureaus, and unique venues.

    Barbara Heineman, sales manager, Fort Worth Convention Center

    Charmaine Singh, vice president, meetings, conventions and incentive travel, Tourism Toronto

    Charles Salem, CMP, vice president, Unique Venues

    Gwen Spencer, senior sales manager, Hilton Atlanta & Towers

  5. Establishing and Maintaining Influence & Credibility

    From the moment that we are born, human beings attempt to influence others through the things that we do and say in interpersonal interactions. While directing, telling, or forcing others to action is sometimes the easiest method in the short-term, it tends to be the least effective in the long-term. This program helps participants gain an understanding of their preferred style for influencing others and learn how to flex styles across situations, as appropriate. The program also discusses ways for enhancing credibility and building trust in relationships.

    Jennifer M. Kohler, PhD, director of organizational studies, St. Louis University

  6. Making Sure Bad Things Don't Happen to Good People

    A paramount challenge of every meeting planner is security. This tutorial will focus on how to assess hotel and convention center security like a professional. Learn what information you need to have in order to properly evaluate sites for your meetings and how to balance security needs with the convenience of your attendees. Gain insight on what steps need to be taken to reduce potential security problems and assure the safety of all involved in your events.

    Gene Butler, regional director loss prevention, Midwest & Canada, Marriott International Inc.

  7. Achieving Amazing Results Through Your Request for Proposal (RFP)

    Everyone's heard of an RFP, but how can you make yours work for you? You'll discover the secrets behind an effective proposal — group history, requests, concessions, patterns, attendee trends, etc. This insider's view will show you what to include and omit in your next RFP. No more follow-up phone calls attempting to pry information out of you — a well-written RFP will eliminate downtime and ensure amazing results for you and your next event.

    Dean Jones, CMP, convention manager, National Association of Free Will Baptists Inc.

  8. Put CVB's to Work for Your Meetings (Presented Once)

    No matter what the size of your event — whether it's citywide or small — convention and visitors bureaus provide a vast array of resources and services. In today's economy, with even greater attention to bottom lines, now is the time to learn the benefits that your organization can derive from working with a CVB, wherever the destination. This one-stop service center can save on legwork, time, and ultimately money.

    April Deal, vice president of sales, Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau

    Michelle Chester Pruitt, national sales manager, Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau

    Bob Snyders, director of special markets, Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau

  9. Building Strategies and Skills That Impact Your Effectiveness

    Learn how to identify and cope with Hostile Agressives, Know-it-alls, Complainers, Negativists, Indecisives, Super-Agreeables, and more. Discover how you react to these individuals, then build strategies and learn skills that positively affect your effectiveness. Bring your own real-time problem situations to analyze and build a solution-based action plan. By using proven facts from behavioral research, this program gives you the skills to “build your shield” against the negative effects of difficult people.

    Phil Bruno, president, Treat 'em Right

  10. Heighten the Impact with Leading Edge Technology (Presented Once)

    This session contains information on the latest equipment and accessories as they relate to the meeting and convention market. Conference management professionals will discover a progression of equipment from basic to advanced and how it can contribute to the success of your event, be it large or small.

    Robert Powers, national account executive, Swank Audio Visuals

10:45-11 a.m. Refreshment Break

Sponsor: Louisiana Office of Tourism

11 a.m.-12:05 p.m. Tutorials

  1. It's Not Business, It's Personal (For Suppliers, Presented Once)

    Attendees at this tutorial will discuss the ever-important role of personalization in the business world. As hospitality products become more and more commoditized, and as many brands become a part of larger conglomerates, how do you, your products/services, and your company differentiate yourselves to the customer? Attendees will draw on personal(!) experiences and apply learned sales skills to the art of personalizing their relationship with their customers, competitors, and their own company.

    D. Bradley Kent, vice president, national sales, Wyndham International

  2. Liability: The Risk Faced by Every Meeting Planner (Presented Once)

    Have you unwittingly put your event in danger of being subjected to a costly lawsuit? Are you concerned that you and your organization may not have sufficient protection to cover the risks of liability? In our litigious society, every meeting planner faces tough and costly legal issues. Learn how to avoid liability. Topics to be addressed include negligence, indemnification, insurance, releases, waivers, and much more.

    Jonathan T. Howe, senior partner, Howe & Hutton, Ltd.

  3. Contracts: It's a Jungle Out There (Presented Once)

    Do you ever feel as if negotiating a contract is like navigating your way through a jungle? Worry about the legal pitfalls that might lie ahead? Take a guided tour through the jungle of hotel and other supplier contracts. Topics to be addressed include commissions/rebates, Internet rates, room attrition and block management issues, food and beverage cancellation and attrition fees, force majeure, construction/renovation issues, and cancellation fees.

    Barbara Dunn, Esq., attorney/partner, Howe & Hutton, Ltd.

  4. Marketing Your Meeting for Success

  5. Developing Productive Work Relationships

  6. Taming the Cost Monster

  7. Establishing and Maintaining Influence & Credibility

  8. Making Sure Bad Things Don't Happen to Good People

  9. Achieving Amazing Results Through Your Request for Proposal (RFP)

  10. Building Strategies and Skills that Impact Your Effectiveness

12:15 p.m. Luncheon and Guest Speaker

Sponsor: Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau Recognition of Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP)

Address: “Gateway to Excellence: In Communication”
Susan Carnahan

1:55-4:30 p.m. Expo 2004

7:30 p.m. “33rd Annual Gala”

Sponsor: Renaissance Grand Hotel This festive evening is a conference highlight, featuring exquisite cuisine, the President's Award, and electrifying musical entertainment with audience interaction.

Entertainment sponsor: Tourism Toronto


8 a.m. Breakfast and General Session

This spirited breakfast offers a preview of the 34th RCMA World Conference and Exposition slated for San Jose, California, January 31-February 3, 2006.

Sponsor: San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau

8:50 a.m. Annual Business Meeting

9:10 a.m. “Trends of Our Times in the Hospitality Industry”

Mega-trends in the field of meetings and how they will affect planners and suppliers alike are the focus of the closing general session. Learn what these changes can mean to you and how they will affect you both personally and professionally.

Barbara Dunn, Esq., attorney/partner, Howe & Hutton, Ltd.

D. Bradley Kent, vice president, national sales, Wyndham International

Jeff Sacks, CMP, vice president, Midwest region, Conferon Inc.

9:45 a.m. Adjournment o

WANTED: More about RCMA 2005

Want more details about the 33rd RCMA World Conference and Exposition? Watch for the December issue of Religious Conference Manager for more information about all the exciting events RCMA has planned for you in 2005.