The RCMA board of directors has announced the nomination of four new board members, who will begin serving a three-year term.
Debra Mardis is operations director, community relations and development, for the Salvation Army in Des Plaines, Ill. She has worked for the Salvation Army for 21 years. “I view my job not as a place of employment so much as a way to give back to an organization that was a great help to me as a child. The Salvation Army is truly a great organization.” Mardis attended her first RCMA meeting in 2004. “I love the networking, the opportunity to meet suppliers and to see new cities,” she says. Mardis plans the annual Salvation Army development meeting,and she also assists with the Salvation Army’s large annual convention.
Jim Nirmaier, vice president group sales, VistFortWayne (Indiana), attended his first RCMA meeting in the early 1990s. “RCMA is a good place for us to develop business opportunities. I also enjoy the fellowship of catching up with members. It’s kind of like a reunion every year.” Nirmaier has been with VisitFortWayne for the past five years. Prior to that he worked in Nashville for Gaylord Hotels, and also for the Nashville CVB.
Hugh Hill is a conference planner for Discover Awana, an international organization that provides youth programming to more than 750,000 youth in the U.S. The organization is also active in 109 other countries. Hill and his wife, Beverly, worked for Awana for 27 years before retiring from full-time employment in February 2008. The couple continue to plan Awana’s conferences, however. “I find the RCMA tutorials very informative and I have gained a wealth of knowledge from the instructors over the years,” Hill says. He has been coming to RCMA conferences for the past seven years.
Michelle Penner, event planner, Canadian Conference of Mennonite Churches, Winnipeg, Manitoba, first came to an RCMA conference six years ago after searching for professional development opportunities on the Internet. “The relationships you can build with vendors and with other planners at RCMA is really invaluable,” she says. Penner started out planning meetings as an administrative assistant to the executive director. These days she plans both internal and external events for the Canadian Conference, with attendance ranging from 50 to 500 people.