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President's Message

Hello Chapter Members,

Spring has sprung and it has been a beautiful start to April! It seems like every week I read something about how the Tampa Bay Area has the best of this or the best of that; we truly are lucky to have chosen the Tampa Bay Area as our home and place of work. Today I read an incredible article about how there are 27 new hotels coming to the Tampa Bay Area and potentially a 5-Star Hotel… the last time there was such a great boom was the mid 80s. The Tampa Bay Area has consistently been a national leader in business and leisure travel and that is a direct result of so many of our member’s dedication to this industry. Meetings Matter and Meetings Mean Business- no one knows this better than the Tampa Bay Area!

On April 6 leaders from the meetings and events industry came together to support the second annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). GMID events are held across the globe to demonstrate the measurable impact that meetings have on businesses, economies, and communities. MPI Tampa Bay Area is celebrating GMID with Meetings Academy on April 13th. Your Meetings Academy committee has put together an incredible program where we will hear from dynamic speakers on Elevating Events! At Meetings Academy we will be collecting soaps and toiletries to donate to the troops for the CSR efforts for STANO so please bring those items with you. I look forward to seeing you there!

Discounted pricing for WEC ends on April 14th so make sure to visit mpiweb.org to register for WEC where you will “stop planning meetings, starting designing experiences”. Your MPITBA Chapter has a few more programs for this fiscal year that you need to make sure you mark on your calendar! May 4th the South of the Skyway members are hosting a Networking Event at Escape Countdown Sarasota and May 17th is the May Education program at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach. I am also thrilled to announce that the MPITBA Annual Awards Dinner will be held on June 7th. All I can tell you right now is the date as the big reveal and announcement will be at Meetings Academy! You will not want to miss this amazing evening and it will sell out this year so please mark your calendars and check back on the website as registration will open after Meetings Academy. 

I had the incredible honor of attending our beloved Margaret Williams’s Celebration of Life alongside many of those in our MPI family. Just as Margaret was it was beautiful, well planned and full of music and love. Her loved ones and friends spoke of her leadership of the community and how she truly was the matriarch of her family, a mentor to loved ones and her community, an innovator and an educator. Also funny enough we learned that Margaret Williams is also pretty tight with LL Cool J! Margaret, you were holding out on us! Haha! The most beautiful words that resonated with me was that she told her family to take one day at a time, live your life as an example and to live your life to the fullest. Margaret truly lived by these virtues. I encourage you all to take a step back at times and ensure you are taking time for yourselves and your loved ones and living life by example as well. She will be greatly missed but her passion and tenacity will live on through those that were lucky enough to learn from her.

Have a beautiful April and I look forward to seeing you at Meetings Academy! “Your attitude, not your aptitude will determine your altitude.”- Zig Ziglar


Ashley Valentine, CMP

MPITBA Chapter President


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Membership News


Please welcome the following new members who joined MPI Tampa Bay Area in March-

Andrea Blake, Education Events Manager, ElderCounsel

Linda Bruns, National Sales Manager, American Audio Visual

Kathleen Cauler, Manager, Practice Point Communications

Adam DePiro, Director of Convention Sales, Visit Tampa Bay

Elizabeth Glosson, Catering Sales Manager, Bay Harbor Hotel

Kelsey Henderson, Account Executive, IRONMAN

Gloria Mejia, Student/Designer, Au Bouquet

Jennifer Myers, Trade Show Coordinator, Healthesystems

Jen Myxter-Lino, Learning Planner, McKinsey & Co

Amy Osgood, Catering Sales Manager, TPepin Hospitality Center

David Sauers, Director Event Services, Freeman Audio Visual

Jessica Soplinski, Event Director, Breezin Entertainment

Tanya Orlando, Events Coordinator


Chapter Transfers

Renee Mulvey, Meeting and Events Account Manager, Omega World Travel

Rachelle Stone, Business Development, Cheeriodicals


 March Member of the Month 

Ashley Snedeker
Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF


1)  How many years have you been in the Meetings/Event business?  I have been working in this industry for 8+ years

2) During that time, what would you say has been your best experience?  While there have been a tremendous amount of rewarding experiences and relationships that have come from my involvement in this industry, my most rewarding happened just recently at my employers annual conference this past October. It was the second year I was apart of the conference, but it was the first one that I was involved with from start to finish (the year prior, I didn’t join the team until May so lots had already been decided). I helped to successfully relocate the conference and grow the attendance numbers while reformatting the programming to benefit our audience. The conference was a huge success and I felt very proud to have my name associated with it.

3)  Why did you first join MPI?  I joined MPI because I had heard such great things about it for so long and I finally worked for an employer that supported my involvement, from a monetary and professional development stand point.

4)  What committees/volunteer opportunities have you been involved in during your membership? I am a proud member of the Education Committee and look forward to continuing that commitment next year as the Director of Monthly Programs.

 5) What's the most important/valued thing you’ve gained from your membership? I’ve been able to meet incredible people through this process and have been able to reconnect with people I haven’t seen or worked with since I left the hospitatlity industy. I also truly enjoy being a member of this chapter due to its team-like mentality, everyone works so well together.

6)Please tell us any interesting fact about you that you’d like us to know. I am a former First-Team All-American women’s college basketball player and was recently inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.



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Calendar of Events




Just $119 for MPI members/$179 for non-members!

Walk- Ins Welcome!


KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Michael O’Donnell 


As featured on the Time Magazine cover - Eric Weihenmayers was the first blind climber to climb Mount Everest and he accomplished this with our keynote speaker, Michael O'Donnell.   Michael was his trainer and guide during his trip. Experience Michael’s story firsthand at Meetings Academy!



Susan Arts, CMP, “Don’t Phreak Out – It’s Only Pharma”

Karn Clark, CMP, “Transportation: The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round….How to Keep Them from Coming Off?”

Joshua Grimes, Esq., “Cutting Edge Legal Issues in Today’s Meetings” and “The Sharing Economy: Meeting the

Legal Challenges”

Chris Krimitsos, “The Millennial Attendee”

Tara Liaschenko, CMM, “Getting the Most Out of Your MPI Membership”



Don’t miss out on closing out a day of education with a stunning view and a cocktail at our networking reception. All planners attending will be included in a drawing for a Grand Prize trip to Vail, Colorado! We will have a drawing for a trip to Vail for a 4-night stay, $500 airfare credit and basket of goodies. Value is $2,000! Must be present at the reception to win & a meeting planner to qualify. Make sure you attend the reception take advantage of this spectacular prize! No purchase necessary.



In addition to the incredible day already planned, we will also be celebrating GMID (Global Meetings Industry Day) at Meetings Academy! 

About Global Meetings Industry Day
Leaders from across the meetings and events industry will come together to support the second annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) on April 6. Our Meetings Academy might be one week after GMID, but we are still celebrating with other MMB partners who are hosting over 100 events in more than 30 countries on April 6 in all corners of the globe to showcase the real power of meetings, events, conventions, exhibitions and more




 Save the Soap!

Ever wondered what you can do with all the travel sized soaps and toiletries we all collect through our travels? We have your answer! For our CSR opportunity at Meetings Academy, we’re going to provide these items to a local charity, S.T.A.N.O. (Supporting Troops Area Wide Nationally and Overseas). We appreciate your support to Save the Soap!


Conference Schedule at a Glance:
Hosted Buyer Program
General Registration & Networking                                        
Welcome & Keynote Speaker 
Morning Educational Breakout Sessions
Networking Lunch              
Afternoon Educational Breakout Sessions
Roundtable Discussions


Thank you to our Venue Sponsor:

 Thank you to our Sponsors!












Please save the following dates


for our upcoming MPITBA Education Programs in 2017!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

  Please check our Chapter website here often for further event details.




Please join us for the SOS Networking Event at Escape Countdown Sarasota!

Event Date:                 Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Time:                          5pm-7pm

Host Location:            

Escape Countdown Sarasota

6525 S. Tamiami Tr.

Sarasota, FL 34231



Escape Countdown is a fully immersive entertainment experience. You and your team will be locked in an interactive room with it's own unique theme that will require the players to make observations, solve puzzles and use critical thinking skills to escape the room. The only catch is you only have 60 minutes to solve the puzzles and ESCAPE the room! The clock is ticking...


Raffle: Cash only!  $1 for 1 Ticket.  $5 for 6 Tickets.  $10 for 12 Tickets.

Members that bring a new perspective member receive a free raffle tickets

 MPI South of the Skyway – Satellite Group Mission

This group was organized to encourage the engagement of current MPI Tampa Chapter members as well as reaching out to perspective members south of the Skyway. Our goal is to bring awareness to all the benefits of MPI Membership and showcasing area meeting venues.





May Education Program

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Speaker details to be announced shortly!

Check our website for updates often!



8:30-10:30 a.m. Board meeting

10:30-11:00 a.m. New member orientation 

11:00-1:30 p.m. Education program

1:45-2:45 p.m. Education committee meeting 


Event Location:

Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach


 Networking Opportunity! 

Are you looking for a way to get the most out of your networking opportunity? Sign up to be a table host when registering (available as an add on). For just $15, you'll lead the table discussion, be acknowledged as a host, and provide marketing materials and giveaways to your tablemates! 


Thank you to our Sponsors:

Thank you to our MPITBA Education Committee Meeting Venue Sponsor for the 2016-2017 Year!  

June 7, 2017


Annual Awards Dinner

More information will be announced at Meetings Academy

Tickets go on Sale Wednesday April 13, 2017





Chapter Community Outreach Event

Make a difference in a child’s life with just a few hours, a few dollars

Our chapter has chosen Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay as the charitable organization for our community outreach event.

Date: Sunday, June 25

Location: Steinbrenner Field

Arrival time for volunteers & sponsors: 12:30

Game time: 1:00

Post-game activities in and around the pavilion

End time: approximately 5:30

Visiting team: Dunedin Blue Jays

Last year’s inaugural event was a huge success, with 25 matched Littles with their Bigs and 25 Littles on the waiting list for a Big mentor. Who are these Littles? They’re children facing adversity, many living below the poverty level, many living with just one parent, many with a parent incarcerated, many in foster care. They’re waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister or Big Couple to help them succeed in life. 

This year’s event is even more special: in addition to being a fun event for kids on the waiting list, it’s a fundraiser for BBBS too! MPI will make a check presentation to BBBS at the end of the game.

This event can only be successful with your help. How can you help?

  •          Sponsor Littles for $10. You can sponsor as many Littles as you want, and a grand slam is just $40 (you’ll enable 4 Littles to attend the event!)

  •          Volunteer. You’ll be matched with a Little on the waiting list for the afternoon. You can make that child’s day just by being their friend and having fun!

  •          Be a corporate sponsor. For just $250, you’ll sponsor 25 Littles to attend the event. And you’ll get your logo on the event t-shirts and on the jumbo scoreboard during the game.*

  •          Donate raffle/auction items

  •          Donate game prizes

  •          Be an in-kind sponsor. You’ll get your logo on the event t-shirts and on the jumbo scoreboard during the game.* We’re looking for:

o    face painter

o    temporary tattoo artists

o    DJ

o    balloon artist

o    food (for in pavilion after game)

o    gaming truck

o    life size jenga

o    magician

o    T-shirt sponsor ($750 cash sponsorship or can be split between two sponsors)

o    other cool things you think would give these kids a great afternoon! 

Click here to find out more and to register as a volunteer or a corporate sponsor. Only MPI members and their invited guests can volunteer for this event.

For more information, to donate prizes and raffle items, or to arrange a cash or in-kind sponsorship, please contact event chair Dina Vann.

* Sponsor logos on jumbo scoreboard must be approved by Tampa Yankees.

Special thanks to our current sponsors:




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Sponsorship & Partnership Opportunities

Get your company name out there while connecting with your fellow MPI Tampa Bay Area members! Sponsor an event or advertise on our website!  

We have a number of opportunities that will fit any budget and objective. Just reach out to Stephanie Montini, Director of Sponsorship at steph.montini@gmail.com. Follow this link to our Cash Sponsorship and Advertising Packet:




New Table Host Opportunity for Educational Luncheons! 

Are you looking for a way to get the most out of your networking opportunity? Sign up to be a Table Host when registering for Educational Luncheons! For a minimal fee, you will get: 

  • Company name displayed at host table
  •  Lead the "getting to know you" table discussion
  •  Acknowledgement at event as a host
  •  Ability to set out marketing materials and giveaways


Table Hosts get the MOST! Questions, please contact Amanda Clark, Table Host Chair at: amandaclark.mpi@gmail.com





This is a call to action for everyone. We are searching for Out-of-Industry Sponsors for events. If each of you could provide us with just one prospect, we can reach our goal, and add value to our meetings.

So we are asking for referral and leads from each of you. It could be clients, financial planners, gyms, veterinarians, insurance, or any company that would bring benefit to our organization, and would like to address the awesome buying power of MPI.

Please send at least one prospective lead to Wayne Childs – wchilds@plantationoncrystalriver.com  

Thank you for your help and support!




Special thank you to our MPITBA Education Committee Meeting Venue Sponsor for the 2016-2017 Year! We are so grateful for our strategic partners like you!


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Committee and Other News



Our vision and mission as a member-centric organization are focused on building those personal and business connections for you, connecting you to knowledge and ideas, relationships, and marketplaces. It’s about supporting each other, and helping each other to BUY MPI. 

The Connections Campaign is a celebration of those successful connections! We have LOTS of fun and exciting prizes coming to 2017. Be ready to win some and submit those connections today. Submit here

Questions/Comments? Contact Michelle Cobb at michelle@sensory5.com

A prize each month will be given to 1 Connections Winner at each education program

May Education Program- iFLY Tampa Experience Gift Card




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