Jack Williams

Conference Coordinator
National Association of Free Will Baptists
Antioch, Texas

“I was in the first class of CMPs in 1985. I'm one of the original 31. It [The CMP] provides a body of literature to study, and it made me feel more prepared to meet the world of meetings. Once the CMP was in place, there was a magic touch to it. I could walk into a visitors bureau or hotel, and it opened doors. It made the meeting industry recognize the professional level. When you asked a question, they knew what you were looking for. In terms of practicality, it has been the ability to examine forms that planners and hotel representatives have used and look at them and make our meetings more professional. One of the things we've appreciated is that young people coming into the profession have been quite interested in getting on board. CMP is the key to unlocking a larger door.”

Barbara Gyomory

Director of Meetings and Publications
American Association of Pastoral Counselors
Fairfax, Va.

“It's made me aware of a lot more information. The CMP has allowed me to educate myself in many more areas. I've gained the respect of peers and my employers. I received my CMP in 1987. It's given me more confidence, more of a professional status. In the association in which I work, the conference we plan is not a large one. It [the CMP] has allowed me to see a broader picture, so I feel it gives me more leverage when I am in negotiations with hotels.”

Chris Crosby

National Events Manager
Great Commission Ministries
Winter Park, Fla.

“I've been involved in them [meetings] off and on for 14 years. Last year, I took the CMP exam. My job confidence level has gone up greatly. Once people see your CMP and know it has a governing body, they know that there is quality. I have a degree in travel and tourism management, but by solidifying it with a CMP, you can see the playing field level. In an industry where sometimes you don't understand the background people bring, a CMP brings it into focus. It represents a broad-based knowledge of the industry. The biggest thing is that there is a body of people who do what I do. You can clearly see the difference in the way people respond to you when you have a CMP. They expect you to know what you're talking about. That's a good feeling.”

Amanda Parsons

Accommodations Manager
Women of Faith
Plano, Texas

“I passed the exam in July 1999. I think the experience helps you feel more competent and confident. It's a valuable experience overall, because it makes you more aware of the meeting planning industry. It keeps you up-to-date on the terminology that relates to various ways you plan events. My colleagues know that I've gone through the process, and there's more status. When I do cross paths with the secular industry, when they realize I'm a CMP, it gives you even ground. The process tests you mentally. I was glad I met the challenge; it's a fulfilling feeling. I would encourage anyone pursuing the CMP to go through a study group. If they are a member of a local meeting chapter, it's great to join and to network with the next study group achieving CMP. It's challenging enough by yourself. With networking, there's more benefit to the process.”

Denise Withers

Communications Specialist
Kentucky Baptist
Louisville, Ky.

“I was certified in January. It's been a benefit in many ways, some obvious, some not. The obvious one is just the recognition. By having those letters on my business card, suppliers know that I'm not new to the industry. One of the not-so-obvious ones is that through the study group, I met people and made connections. I picked up new things. In our organization we have nine people who plan events. I was the first one to get the CMP, so I've set an example for my co-workers. I think that the CMP was well worth my time and the expense.”