NAME OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION: CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST
TITLE: DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, 5TH ILLINOIS JURISDICTION
H. Vincent Price has been planning meetings for more than 30 years, even while he spent his days working with delinquent kids in Chicago and later as a sergeant in the Cook County Sheriff's Office.
Price plans meetings for the Church of God in Christ, where he is the director of communications for the 5th Illinois Jurisdiction, based in Chicago. Since he retired from the sheriff's department in 2002, it has pretty much become his full-time job.
Price plans several meetings a year, from 12-person committee meetings to the much larger Auxiliaries in Ministries convention for the jurisdiction, which is attended by about 2,000 people every June.
A Career in Meetings
Price is the chairman of the AIM convention for the jurisdiction, so he oversees all aspects of planning the event, with the help of Arrowhead Conferences and Events, the Redlands, Calif.-based company that specializes in planning religious conferences.
Price's first foray into meeting planning came in college in the 1970s at Eastern Illinois University. At EIU, he was a member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity — and that's where his meeting planning career began.
“I was a regional officer of my fraternity — the director of undergraduate affairs — so I was planning undergraduate leadership conferences over eight states,” he says. After graduating, he remained very active with the fraternity. As president of the local graduate chapter of the fraternity, he plans a variety of meetings and events.
After he left college, his career took him in a different direction. He got a job working for the Chicago Human Services Department as a social worker in the youth services bureau. From there, he moved to the Cook County Sheriff's Office, where he was a sergeant until he retired in 2002.
Price has had a lifelong affiliation with his church, and he had the opportunity to begin planning meetings because of his background running events for the fraternity. He had been executive director of the youth department for the jurisdiction, so part of his job entailed planning youth congresses around the state of Illinois.
After he retired from the sheriff's department he became much more involved in meeting planning for the church — with the help of the Religious Conference Management Association.
From RCMA to Family Reunions
In the early 2000s, he heard about RCMA through member Marva Land, who is the business administrator for the St. Luke Church of God in Christ in Chicago. Land was going to the RCMA World Conference and Expo and she recommended to Price that he attend as well.
“She said it would be good place for meeting planning training and education,” says Price. “That sounded interesting to me, so I checked it out and I have been going ever since.” The education he got from RCMA benefited him when planning the AIM convention as well as other events for the church.
His advice to other planners? “Make sure you have a good inner circle — people you can depend on and have confidence in.”
Not only does Price plan religious and fraternal meetings, he also plans family reunions — his own. The reunions occur once a year, and twice every other year. This year they are meeting in Pittsburgh and up to 400 family members are expected to attend.
By the end of summer, the I-94W paper forms for entry into the United States will be phased out and all visitors from Visa Waiver Program countries will be required to use only the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
Labor reform for Chicago's McCormick Place convention center passed into law in late May. The new labor rules are designed to reduce crew sizes, require less overtime pay, and eliminate hassles for customers.
- The new Art of Animation Resort under construction at Walt Disney World is expected to open in 2012. The property will have almost 2,000 rooms, but meeting and convention space is not planned.
- A survey of 50 hotels across the Gulf Coast that host meetings and events found that 42 percent are experiencing group booking cancellations due to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Knowland Group.