Do you want to improve your skills as a meeting planner? Would you like to be motivated to pursue your personal and professional dreams? Do you enjoy visiting with and learning from colleagues?

Then you need to attend RCMA's 37th World Conference and Exposition, “Catch the Spirit,” January 27-30, 2009, in Grand Rapids, Mich.

RCMA is expected to draw nearly 1,400 meeting professionals to this international event. The meeting is constructed to help you increase your knowledge and skills, develop strategic partnerships with all types of vendors, and improve your performance through the finest lineup of tutorials that RCMA has offered.

Grand Rapids is ready and eager to host RCMA.

“Grand Rapids is ideally positioned to offer religious conferences something more than other cities,” says Doug Small, Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau president. “RCMA members will be blown away by this city and surrounding region. They will find strong support from their individual faiths and a supportive educational and business community that is willing to ensure their meeting's success.”

Throughout the week, you will be energized by fabulous general session speakers. You will hone your meeting-planning skills at the tutorials, and you will be wowed by fine entertainment. But above all, RCMA attendees cherish the connections that they make with other members and associate members. The spirit and camaraderie at RCMA are special.

Early Bird Activities

You'll be able to see Grand Rapids for yourself with the early bird sightseeing tours and other activities that RCMA has planned for January 27. (See page 21 for details.)

Also on the early bird lineup is a series of behind-the-scenes experiences, something that only RCMA offers. Gain hands-on experience as you become involved with key personnel in a range of activities that will enhance your professional knowledge.

On Tuesday night, relax and have fun at the opening reception. Soar to the top of a Ferris wheel and experience the thrill of heart-pounding virtual reality rides. View sculptors building a sand castle — all while enjoying top-notch entertainment, great food, and the company of dear friends.

Opening Ceremonies, Expo

Wednesday morning, an exciting opening session will fill you with anticipation for what is to come. Keynote speaker Stef du Plessis will inspire you with his talk: “Catch the Spirit … African Wisdom for Everyday Living.”

Then it's off to the Expo, where the booths will be staffed by knowledgeable suppliers who provide services for religious meetings.

Don't worry about being inundated with a barrage of suppliers, according to RCMA Executive Director DeWayne S. Woodring. “We carefully manage the planner-to-supplier ratio so that every attendee will have the one-on-one time they need to meet with hoteliers, CVBs, and other facilities and service providers with whom they are considering doing business.”

Visionary Learning

At the heart of RCMA's mission are the educational opportunities offered at its expert-led tutorials. This year's lineup continues the RCMA tradition of offering the finest breakout sessions. RCMA's 2008 tutorials ensure that there is something for everyone.

Part of Your Plan

The RCMA experience will be completed with evenings of fun, excitement, and dining.

The New Shanghai Circus will bring the Orient to RCMA in a fast-paced production featuring internationally award-winning acts. Considered to be China's most celebrated acrobatic company, the performers have amazed audiences worldwide. .

On Thursday, the 37th Annual Gala will put a bow on the week. This festive evening is always a conference highlight, featuring exquisite cuisine, the President's Award, and delightful entertainment to cap off the night.

Special Airline Fares

American Airlines and Northwest are offering special reduced rates to conference attendees. Contact American Airlines at (800) 433-1790 and refer to Authorization A3119AL or contact Northwest at (800) 328-1111 and refer to Worldfile NM2C4.

Speaker Bios

Stef du Plessis has carved out very different, but equally remarkable careers. He was very successful as a sales manager with South Africa's largest financial services company, and now as a gifted speaker. He has been acclaimed as “one of South Africa's most influential motivators” and as “one of the world's leading practitioners when it comes to teams and team leadership.” He is a committed philanthropist, and has cycled solo across South Africa to raise money for orphans.

Jackie Pflug's strength and skills to lead a normal life have inspired thousands of people to set a new direction and focus on key aspects of living their lives to their full potential. She tells the story of her captivity at the hands of hijackers and details the skills she has employed to survive and grow. Pflug tells listeners how to become peak performers through attitudes and reactions to change, adversity, and challenge.

Bryan Townsend is one of the nation's most active motivational humorists, speaking to various groups all across the country. His background includes a successful 20-year career in broadcasting serving as a play-by-play sports announcer, talk show host, and radio station manager. He has earned the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association, and he is only one of a few professional speakers who have been inducted into NSA's Speaker Hall of Fame.