Do you seek the motivation to aim high in your personal and professional pursuits? Do you want to improve your skills as a meeting planner? Do you enjoy learning from colleagues?

Then you need to attend RCMA's 38th World Conference and Exposition, “Aim High,” January 26-29, 2010, in Fort Worth, Texas.

“It is a must in order to keep up on industry trends and professional development,” says Marjorie Homer, special events coordinator, The Salvation Army Central Territory, Des Plaines, Ill.

RCMA is expected to draw U.S. and international meeting professionals. 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.

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 value the connections that they make with other members and associate members.

Fort Worth says Howdy

“RCMA is considered the leading religious meetings organization in the world, and it's an honor for our city to host such an esteemed group,” says David DuBois, president and CEO, Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Fort Worth welcomes the RCMA attendees. Our entire community hopes you enjoy your stay.”

Fort Worth is committed to the religious market and is a destination leader for religious meetings, he says. The religious meetings market comprises approximately 23 percent of Fort Worth's convention business through 2013.

Early Bird Activities

You will be able to see Fort Worth for yourself with the early bird sightseeing tours and other activities that RCMA has planned for January 26. (See page 17 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, be prepared to have fun at the Texas-style Grand Reception. Enjoy Western sights, music, food, and activities — cattle roping, anyone? The reception is also a great way to connect with your friends and colleagues.

“Fellowship with the other attendees reminds us of others who are on the same pathways facing the same challenges,” says Alan Morrison, business manager of the general conference and director of support services, General Council on Finance and Administration, The United Methodist Church, Nashville, Tenn. He adds that fellow attendees might be the ones who help you turn a challenge into an opportunity.

Opening Ceremonies, Expo

Wednesday morning, keynote speaker Matt Weinstein will deliver a powerful message: “Aim High … What Bernie Madoff Couldn't Steal From Me.”

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

“We use the Expo to market RFPs for specific citywide events, to gain awareness of new localities not yet used but in the geographic target areas, and to network with established relationships,” Morrison says.

Jim Cullumber, vice president of communications, Christian Church Foundation, Indianapolis, enters the Expo with a plan.

“I have a threefold agenda: First, I have my current RFPs that I want to make sure get into the hands of the appropriate cities or venues,” Cullumber says. “Second, I use the expo to reconnect with suppliers with whom I have done business in the past, to continue the relationship and learn of updates in their communities and properties. Finally, I use the Expo as a hunting expedition, to learn about possible new sites and venues for conferences further out, as well as to gain information I might be able to share with other planners within my denominations.”

But you will not be overwhelmed by 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. The sessions will give you practical information that helps your organization.

For example, “I've calculated that over the years I've saved tens of thousands of dollars using information from the RCMA tutorials about negotiating contracts and food and beverage,” Cullumber says. “Since I also have to handle meeting promotion, I've been able to streamline our processes and develop different strategies based on what I've learned.”

This year's lineup ensures that there is something for everyone. Tutorials include: “Achieving Amazing Results Through Request For Proposals,” “Social Networking: Today's Marvel of Communications,” and “The Leadership Compass: Defining Leadership Roles With Authenticity and Accountability.” (See page 18 for details on all tutorial offerings.)

Part of your Plan

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

On Wednesday, you will have the pleasure of enjoying renowned Texas barbecue, followed by a true Texas rodeo, complete with bull riding, bucking broncos, steer wrestling, chuckwagon races and more.

On Thursday, the 38th Annual Gala will cap the week. This festive evening is a conference highlight, featuring exquisite cuisine, the President's Award, and delightful entertainment.

Online Registration

Meeting planners, for hotel rates and to register online, visit www.rcmaweb.org and navigate to: Conferences/2010 Fort Worth/Meeting Planner Info.

Transportation Discounts

RCMA is offering discounts on airfare, airport shuttles, car rentals, and taxis. Visit www.rcmaweb.org and navigate to: Conferences/2010 Fort Worth/Travel Discounts for details.

TURN TO PAGE 17 FOR THE COMPLETE CONFERENCE PROGRAM.

RCMA Speakers

Wednesday Breakfast

Inspirational speaker Matt Weinstein was on vacation in Antarctica when he learned via telephone that he had lost his life savings in the Bernie Madoff scandal. In this highly personal, interactive, and entertaining program, Weinstein recounts the inside story of the highly secretive fund. “But there is something else I discovered that is much more important: how to survive life's inevitable downturns with a sense of basic trust, so that you can land on your feet no matter what,” he says.

Wednesday Luncheon

Emmy Award-winning journalist Catherine Crier began her TV career at CNN, where she co-anchored “Inside Politics” and “The World Today.” She also hosted “Crier and Company,” a half-hour news talk show. Later she became a correspondent for “ABC World News Tonight” and “20/20.” She eventually joined Court TV's team of anchors and hosted “Catherine Crier Live.” Crier was the youngest person to be elected a state judge in Texas. She serves on several boards, including PAX, an organization that seeks to reduce gun violence in America and is working to expand education for girls in Pakistan.