The RCMA board of directors announced plans to implement expanded new member categories for the association.

While RCMA’s bylaws already identify two major member classes—planners and suppliers—the board unanimously approved more specific categorizations for each side so those classes can better complement each other.

Planners will be identified as: local, or those who plan meetings within one state; regional, or planning in contiguous states; national, or across the United States; and global, which includes both American planners who organize international meetings as well as foreign planners who host meetings in the United States.

Suppliers will be classified according to their type of business/organization. In addition to longstanding supplier categories such as CVBs and hoteliers, RCMA will also recognize newer groups such as DMCs, transportation companies, software companies, companies who produce promotional items, and more.

When Dr. Harry Schmidt took over as executive director of RCMA last year, his plan was to build on the association’s strong foundation in order to help it grow. The new member categories are part of that strategic objective, as is the rebranding of the association and its conference this year.

“Legacies become the starting point of fresh destiny, and that’s what we’ve been focusing on this last year,” Schmidt said in an interview at January's Emerge conference. “We chose with intentionality to look at the 40 years of [RCMA’s] history to really be the launching point to establish that next era, the future of RCMA.”

He explained that as the variety of faith-based meetings gets broader, the RCMA executive board found it necessary to expand upon the historic classifications of its member categories. “We’re providing an enlarged group of suppliers that can meet a variety of the needs of our planners. This will all enhance the reason why being a member of RCMA is important.”

RCMA’s categorical expansion isn’t limited to current planners and suppliers. The organization will now offer emeritus status to retired or semi-retired members, giving them the opportunity to stay active with RCMA and mentor, coach, and consult the next generation of members.

RCMA will also open up student membership to those pursuing both planner and supplier professions in collegiate programs across the country, a chance for young people to make valuable industry connections early on in their careers.