8 a.m. Behind-the-Scenes Experience

(Advance registration required)

A truly unique experience awaits as conference attendees go behind the scenes to explore the inner operation of hotels, a convention center, a leading creative advertising firm, and media production studios. Here's your opportunity to gain hands-on experience under the tutelage of leading professionals. This RCMA exclusive event has attracted thousands of attendees through the years, who have expanded their knowledge in religious conference management. The learning experience begins at 8 a.m. and concludes by 1:30 p.m. Complimentary breakfast and luncheon are served to participants, who register in advance for this program.

Noon — 6 p.m. Registration

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Sponsor: Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau

1:30 p.m. New Member Orientation

First-time meeting planner attendees meet the RCMA Board of Directors, become acquainted with 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. Sightseeing Tour of Greater Pittsburgh

(Advance registration required)

Once a fort in the wilderness, Pittsburgh is now one of “America's most livable cities.” Our travels begin with an array of old and new architecture. From startling glass towers to grand stonework, to the sprinkling of historic churches nestled between skyscrapers, the city's past and present is told through the buildings that line its zigzagging streets. Pass through the Cultural District, over one of the Three Sisters Bridges, and enter the Historic Northside, where you will stop at the National Aviary, the country's premier bird park and home to more than 600 exotic birds, seen in natural habitats. Head upriver to Oakland, the center for medicine and education, and then on to Station Square and the top of Mount Washington for a spectacular view of the city's skyline.

4:45 p.m. New Exhibitor Orientation

This orientation is for those who are attending their first RCMA Conference as exhibitors. Come and meet others in your profession and let veterans tell you how to gain the most from this landmark conference and exposition in the realm of religion.

6:45 p.m. Buses depart for Grand Reception

7-9 p.m. Grand Reception: “A Vision of the Past”

Carnegie Museum of Natural History Share a “vision of the past” as we mingle among towering dinosaurs, skeletons, mummies, and other treasures from ancient Egypt. Travel through history and view sparkling gems of yesteryear while dining from an array of tasty buffets and sharing in fellowship amid the grandeur of marbled columns of an era long past.

Sponsor: Pittsburgh Hospitality Community


8 a.m. Opening General Session and Breakfast

Sponsor: Greater Pittsburgh CVB

Address: “Share The Global Vision”

John Amatt, global adventurer, founder and president, One Step Beyond Worldwide

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Grand Opening/Expo 2004

RCMA's Expo 2004 is the largest trade show in the world exclusively for the religious meetings market, and it allows planners and suppliers to come together to share information. Hundreds of representatives share the latest data on meeting destinations, services, and products.

12:35 p.m. Luncheon and Special Presentation

Sponsor: Fort Worth CVB

Address: “Share The Vision”

Ed D. Barlow Jr., president, Creating the Future Inc.

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

  1. ABC's of Religious Meeting Planning

    Obtain a comprehensive foundation in practical religious meeting planning and management. The session will assist the neophyte as well as the seasoned professional in a review of critical checkpoints, systems, and methods to ensure a successful event. Goal-setting, budgeting, planning techniques, and site selection will be among the topics.

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

  2. The Marvelous World of Religion (For Exhibitors, Presented Once)

    In an age in which many segments of the hospitality industry are experiencing drastic cutbacks, the religious world remains strong and represents a growing source of revenue. Sales representatives who are most effective in tapping this market are those who understand its unique requirements. Learn how to develop rapport with religious meeting planners, and gain insights into the varied types of religious conferences and assemblies.

    Charles Melear, conference planner, United Church of God

    William J. Sigmon Jr., CMP, director, Sales & Marketing, Myrtle Beach Convention Center

    Jack K. Stone, general secretary/COO, Church of the Nazarene

    Lorraine Thompson, meeting planner, Mount Calvary Holy Church

  3. Integrating Safety and Security in Meeting Planning

    Meeting planners and event organizers should consider the management of security, safety, risk management, and communications systems to be integral elements. Taking appropriate steps to identify, evaluate, and reduce potential risks are important parts of the planning process. Equally critical is the effective management of an incident to ensure that it does not further affect the event or the client. It is important to consider all the areas that may need safeguarding: attendees, staff, property, reputation, financial future.

    Lewis Dawley III, senior vice president of Convention Center Operations and Business Development, SMG Convention Centers

  4. Presentation and Staging Technology Techniques for Today's Meeting Planner

    This tutorial will provide an overview of innovative presentation and staging technologies and how to apply them for dynamic events. Find out what's on the horizon, including projection, indoor and outdoor LED panels, plasma and large-format LCD display technology. Gain insights on networked electronic messaging systems, wireless technologies, digital video, streaming video, and other tools for use in general sessions. Plus, receive tips on technology planning, budgeting and venue coordination.

    Norman J. Cleary, president, Pro-Com Systems

  5. Shooting from the Hip Sometimes Causes Self-Inflicted Wounds

    In any situation, what you say or don't say, as well as how you say it or don't say it, influence what people think of you and how they react to you and your ideas and suggestions. Sometimes we do or say things that may seem innocent to us, but that affect others in a dramatically different way. Our perceptions, assumptions, conclusions, and reactions sometimes do not match reality, and this can cause us to “shoot from the hip.” The results can become “self-inflicted wounds.” This highly interactive program will help you to learn how to avoid these pitfalls and how to use your instincts to your benefit. Learn how to influence people with your leadership style.

    Al Borowski, MEd, CSP, Priority Communication Skills Inc.

  6. Meeting Planners Guide to Technology

    The future started yesterday! Technology-based meetings are here to stay. This tutorial will explore some of the countless options available to planners for alternative meeting formats and provide a step-by-step guide on how technology will expand the reach and enhance meeting content in our changing environment. The tutorial includes a complimentary copy of Meeting Professionals Guide to Technology.

    Thomas Maguire, CMP, director, National Catering & Videoconferencing, Marriott International

  7. The Power of Visual Communication (Presented Once)

    Your marketing materials are the first impression that a person has about your conference. Learn how your marketing efforts can be more successful by developing a visual identity that draws attention and makes your event look professional and credible. You will learn a step-by-step process for creating affordable, eye-catching promotional materials that make an impact. This tutorial covers common mistakes that are made, helpful principles for making good design and production decisions, and tips on working with designers and printers.

    Angela Yee, director of Serving Ministries, Fremont Evangelical Free Church

  8. Using Humor to Reduce Stress

    How to sing in the rain with a frog in your throat. You'll laugh while you learn practical strategies for creating positive solutions to stress. This high-energy program reveals you can't control the major events in your life, but you can control your reaction to them through humor. Use humor to manage stress, to unlock your creative problem-solving ability, to deal with difficult people, to adapt to change, and to stay healthier!

    Maureen Murray, president, Maureen Murray Associates

  9. The Intricacies and Logistics of Handling a Large Convention (Presented Once)

    Many planners in the religious meetings world are in charge of very large conferences. With that size come complexities: choosing hotels in a city for the best value; transporting attendees from outlying hotels; planning parking and traffic flow; and interacting with the convention bureau and departments of the host city to create a smooth, harmonious meeting. This session will explore these factors as well as many more that the professional meetings manager must handle.

    Linda M. deLeon, CMP, meeting planner, General Conference Seventh-day Adventist Church

    William Edwards, associate general minister and vice president, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

    Thomas M. Jackson, CMP, executive administrative assistant, general conference coordinator, United Pentecostal Church International

    Judy K. Lamborn, conference department manager, Joyce Meyer Ministries

  10. On-Site Management: The Final Ingredient to Meeting Success

    Regardless of your event's size or how many months or years you have spent planning it, the final details of overseeing a meeting on-site are critical to its success. From locating lost conference materials, to dealing with overbooking of hotel rooms, to setting up a pre-con meeting, to monitoring daily meeting operations or making F&B guarantees, this tutorial will show you how to deal with all phases of on-site management.

    Ruth Gregg, conference manager, Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania

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

Sponsor: Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureau

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

  1. Certification: Your Fast Track to the Future (Presented Once)

    The Certified Meeting Professional designation recognizes those who have reached the highest achievement in meeting management. Three RCMA members who hold CMP recognition will explain the process of becoming certified and will answer questions concerning this program.

    Willie B. Clay, CMP, senior account executive, Chicago Downtown Marriott

    Cynthia A. Winter, CMP, conference coordinator, National Council on Family Relations/Minnesota Christian Convention

    Melvin L. Worthington, CMP, executive secretary emeritus, National Association of Free Will Baptists Inc.

  2. How to Effectively Manage Your Time (Presented Once)

    Time is totally fixed in quantity: You can't stretch it, shrink it, save it, borrow it, loan it, leave it, or take it with you. You can only do two things with it: Use it or lose it. This session will focus on how to live a more responsive and effective life in your own gift of time. An explanation of basic concepts for “top performers.”

    R. Harold Hipps, CMP, executive officer emeritus, Christian Educators Fellowship, United Methodist Church

  3. Utilizing Unique Meeting Facilities: Colleges to Castles (Presented Once)

    Here's your chance to receive insiders' views of holding a conference at a college or university, retreat and conference center, camp, lodge, and other nonprofit meeting facilities. Learn what to look for, what questions to ask, and what to expect. Identify how these venues differ from hotels, resorts, and convention centers.

    Jerry E. Donner, vice president of membership & Sales, YMCA of the Rockies

    Robert Gibbs, associate director of conferences, University of Tennessee

    Ann Knoebel, director, Office of Conferences & Special Programs, Trinity University

  4. ABC's of Religious Meeting Planning
  5. Integrating Safety and Security in Meeting Planning
  6. Presentation and Staging Technology Techniques for Today's Meeting Planner
  7. Shooting from the Hip Sometimes Causes Self-Inflicted Wounds
  8. Meeting Planners Guide to Technology
  9. Using Humor to Reduce Stress
  10. On-Site Management: The Final Ingredient to Meeting Success

6 p.m. African Safari Feast

7:30 p.m. Theatrical Performance: “The Lion King”

Marvel at the breathtaking theatrical presentation of animals brought to life in the award-winning Broadway musical “The Lion King.” Thrill to the pulsating rhythms of the African Pridelands and an unforgettable score. You're treated to an experience that Time magazine calls “awe-inspiring! A gorgeous, gasp-inducing spectacle!”


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

Sponsor: InterContinental Hotels Group

Address: “Share the Creative Vision”

Jeff Tobe, CSP

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

  1. It's Not What You Say That Counts

    Communication research confirms that our words account for about 7 percent of the messages we send. Let's talk about the other 93 percent. Actually, let's not talk about it, let's show it. You'll “see” pupils grow, eyebrows fall, and gestures that condemn. You'll “feel” handshakes that bond. You'll “hear” voices that excite. You'll harness your nonverbal communication.

    Sam Deep, president, Sam Deep

  2. Designing Forms that Fit the Religious Meeting Planner (Presented Once)

    The paperwork trail of events can be a blessing or a curse. This session will teach you how to design and organize forms, charts, and other crucial pieces of the event picture to ensure successful communication with the supplier. You'll learn to map events in flowchart form, revise antiquated forms, and juggle responsibilities.

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

  3. More Bang for the Buck! (Presented Once)

    Learn to squeeze all possible value out of every meeting dollar. Receive tips that will save your organization money through careful planning and negotiation. Presented by professionals from various segments of the industry, this tutorial will demonstrate how you can apply strategies when dealing with hotels, airlines, and convention centers.

    Anthony P. Aslanian, CMP, director of sales and marketing, Hilton Pittsburgh

    Dittie F. Guise, general manager, The Greater Columbus Convention Center

    Warren Manns, business development manager, American Airlines

    J. David von Gunten, CMP, director of administrative services/controller, Missionary Church Inc.

  4. The Secret Ingredients of Successful Registration (Presented Once)

    Your members are introduced to your organization through your registration process. Do you convey warmth, competence, and forward thinking? Let this tutorial be your first step toward improving your registration. Learn how to cover all the bases with advanced preparation and on-site execution, from building a database that answers your questions to producing confirmation letters and packets.

    Nick Topitzes, CMP, president, pc/nametag Inc.

  5. Achieving the Best of All Possible Worlds in Contracts

    Buyer's market? Seller's market? What does it mean?! The meeting industry is ever-changing. Hotel contracts containing stringent liability clauses will be tested as attendance predictions are not realized and economic conditions are volatile at best. In this interactive session, discuss common liability issues that organizations and hotels are facing, and review tools and strategies that each side can implement. Analyze poorly written and well-written attrition, cancellation, meeting room rental, and F&B performance clauses.

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

  6. Classic Cuisines & Trendy Temptations

    A must-attend presentation for planners responsible for arranging and executing catered events at hotel and restaurant locations. This presentation will discuss national F&B trends, catering pitfalls and solutions, F&B planning, and where hotels and restaurants are coming from in negotiations.

    Thomas Maguire, CMP, director, National Catering & Videoconferencing, Marriott International

  7. Conquering Your Clutter

    If your clutter is overwhelming or your “stuff” is cramping your style, this program is for you. Learn five approaches to reducing clutter. Discover new and better ways to de-clutter your life. Create an organizing plan. Improve organizing techniques. Become more focused, less distracted, and end your clutter embarrassment.

    Dennis Snedden, Time Management Services

  8. Can You Really Negotiate Anything? (Advanced Session)

    Here's an opportunity to share in an advanced edition of previous years' highly popular sessions on negotiations. Open to previous attendees as well as first-timers, the tutorial will focus on a myriad of negotiable items, sophisticated techniques, and often-overlooked areas open to negotiations. Bring with you the “impossible” to see if it could be made “possible.” This is for both planners and exhibitors.

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

  9. Big Event? Small Event? Bring on the Fresh Ideas!

    We all plan meetings. And many of them include one or more on-site or off-site events. What's the purpose? Is it a commemorative event, a groundbreaking, a dedication, or an anniversary? Does it involve décor and catering? How about entertainment and speakers? How do you select a suitable venue? Is crowd control an issue? Are there legal issues (permits, sound levels, insurance, ADA compliance)? Those are just a few of the questions that are bound to surface when you're faced with managing an event. Learn new slants on producing events, including the No. 1 question: What's the Big Idea?

    Blaise Box, Staging and Design Inc.

    Ken Peters and Laurie Streiner, Corporate Performance

  10. Selecting the Right Meeting/Convention Site Is an Art

    You can save meeting dollars without sacrificing quality. Learn how creative cost control begins while you're choosing an appropriate site for your next meeting. Tips on maximizing the effectiveness of your site inspection and ensuring the greatest value in room rates, comp policies, and extra services. This specialist will address the elements necessary for you to approach this task with know-how.

    James Fausel, CMP, president, Institute for Effective Ministries

10:45-11 a.m. Refreshment Break

Sponsor: Louisiana Office of Tourism

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

  1. Around the World in 65 Minutes: The Art of International Meetings (Presented Once)

    With the trend toward globalization, more religious organizations are holding international events. This presents challenges to the meeting planner's skills and talents, yet provides rewards for attendees. Learn what to consider before going overseas, dealing with customs, ground operators, airlines, hotels, safety issues, costs. Plus, step-by-step operation for dealing with foreign attendees at a U.S. meeting.

    Stella Beene-Venson, meeting planner, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, The United Methodist Church

    Marcia Bullock, manager, Groups & Conventions, Jamaica Tourist Board

    Paula Hill, associate publisher/international, Primedia Business Magazines & Media

    F. Martin Ytreberg, CMP, meeting planner, Seventh-day Adventist Church

  2. Working with Convention Bureaus to Produce Successful/Affordable Meetings (Presented Once)

    Designed for anyone who plans meetings, whether for 25 or 25,000. A one-stop service center can save leg work, time, and ultimately money. Take advantage of services available to you: site selection assistance, housing offices, check hotel availability, busing, press release assistance, and other detail services offered by the bureaus. How can you best use their resources? What are their strengths?

    Cleo Battle, vice president of sales & services, Richmond Metropolitan CVB

    Sally Gardiner, director, Convention Sales, Daytona Beach Area CVB

    Alice Steele-Robinson, Woman's Home & Overseas Missionary, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

    Carol Werchan, executive administrator, Conventions & Meetings, International Lutheran Laymen's League

  3. Break the Rules and Close More Sales (Exhibitors Only, Presented Once)

    Traditional selling techniques are less effective today. Buyers have heard all the lines and gimmicks. That's why they can easily control the sales call and destroy a salesperson's self-esteem in the process. Understand the conventional rules and the ineffective impact they have on the process. Develop an honest, no-nonsense, proven sales system that gets results while preserving the sales professional's self-respect.

    John Rosso, president, Peak Performance Management Inc.

  4. It's Not What You Say That Counts
  5. Achieving the Best of All Possible Worlds in Contracts
  6. Classic Cuisines & Trendy Temptations
  7. Conquering Your Clutter
  8. Can You Really Negotiate Anything? (Advanced Session)
  9. Big Event? Small Event? Bring on the Fresh Ideas!
  10. Selecting the Right Meeting/Convention Site Is an Art

12:15 p.m. Luncheon and Guest Speaker

Sponsor: Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

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

EXPO 2004. Discover the latest and greatest that cities, convention centers, hotels, colleges, conference centers, airlines, and service companies have to offer for your conferences and meetings. Visit with your peers, make new contacts, and conduct business in one convenient location.

6:45 p.m. “32nd Annual Gala”

Mix with industry professionals during this vibrant social gathering. This festive evening is a conference highlight, featuring exquisite cuisine, the President's Award, plus electrifying musical entertainment with audience interaction.

Sponsor: Hilton Pittsburgh & Towers


8 a.m. Breakfast and General Session

This spirited breakfast offers attendees a preview of the 33rd RCMA World Conference and Exposition, which is slated for St. Louis, Mo., from January 25 to 28, 2005.

Sponsor: St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission

8:50 a.m. Annual Business Meeting

The annual business meeting of the Religious Conference Management Association focuses on the many programs offered by the association and recognizes those who have given special support to the society.

9:10 a.m. “Vision of a Cyber Challenge”

New problems have arisen to challenge the wits of the best minds in the meeting industry. These may be summed up with two acronyms: ROB (rooms outside the block but within contracted hotels) and ROCH (rooms outside contracted hotels). The Internet has unleashed a whole new way for people to do business. The current economic environment drives attendees to book outside the block and contracted hotels. What can you do? This interactive panel session will focus on possible solutions as well as key negotiating points for attrition fighters.

Jack Horne, vice president, Sales, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

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

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

9:45 a.m. Adjournment