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President's Message

Hello Chapter Members,

The spring breakers are officially gone, baseball season has kicked off and while our weekends are getting filled with beach days, festivals and incredible outdoor events we are silently preparing for the summer holiday travelers and maybe planning our own holiday! Welcome May! Summer is right around the corner and you can feel it!

Last month we held our annual program Meetings Academy and the committee certainly took this program and elevated it to the next level! From the host property Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, surprise entertainment, content, speakers and BACON it was an absolutely incredible day! Congratulations to Conference Chair Maria Maggio, CMP and her incredible committee for putting together an incredible program. Conference surveys revealed that attendees thoroughly enjoyed the day and none of it would have been possible without our volunteers and sponsors! Thank you to everyone that made Meetings Academy 2017 a great success!

May and June will not disappoint for great education programming, networking and events! Make sure to check the website for more details on the May 4th MPI After 5 SOS Networking at Escape Countdown Sarasota and May’s Education Program at Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach on May 17th where Erin Fuller will speak to how meeting planners can best knowledge-share with her program “Connectivity on Steroids”. Last month we announced that the MPITBA Annual Awards Night will be hosted by our generous member sponsor Yacht Starship on June 7th. Our “Night in White” will be an evening where we will celebrate a successful and incredible year. The evening will be dedicated to our beloved Margaret Williams and donations will be collected for Moffitt Cancer Center Research for Ovarian Cancer in her name. I am looking forward to a beautiful evening with you all! Additionally, MPITBA will be hosting All Star Day with Big Brother Big Sisters again this year at Steinbrenner Field on June 25th, please visit the website to see how you can be involved in this fun and impactful Community Outreach opportunity!

 The last weekend in April your incoming 2017-2018 Board of Directors met at IMG Academy for the Annual Planning Retreat. If you have not been to or heard of IMG I strongly encourage you check them out! It is an incredible 584 acre campus that has remarkable training facilities for not only the student athletes that attend the academy but also athletes from around the world including professional athletes and Olympians. Very cool place! Also, very cool things were happening… the incoming board got together to plan the upcoming year and I cannot wait for the new events, programming and networking opportunities that they have in store for MPITBA! You have an incredibly talented group of professionals that will be leading the chapter and they are ready for a great year as well. If you are not on a committee already this is a great time to get involved and be a part of something new and impactful!

“Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.”- Unknown


Ashley Valentine, CMP

MPITBA Chapter President

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Membership News


Please welcome the following new members to our chapter 

Dolly Brown, Event Consultant, Extravaganza! Productions, Inc.

Erica Bergum, Student/Office Manager, Breezin Entertainment

Kim Collins, Events and Marketing Coordinator, Global Financial Private Capital

Yanya McReynolds, President, Beamworks, Inc.

Sara Meadows, Event Sales Manager, Legends Global Sales

Lynette Menendez, Convention Sales Representative, Visit Tampa Bay

Kylie Nelson, Student

Teri Scarborough, Business Dev Director, Extravaganza! Production, Inc.

Zhajake Henderson, Marketing Events Coordinator, Morris Heights Health Center


May Milestone Anniversaries

5 Years

Kristie Denbo, Director of Sales, Hilton Worldwide

10 Years

Eric Peak, Director of Sales, St. Petersburg Marriott

Kristen Kachurak, Director of Catering & Conference Services, Streamsong Resort

Betty LeDoux, President, LeDoux Meeting Management, Inc.

20 Years

Karn Clark, President/Owner, Bay Area Destination Management Co.

Deborah Guch, Senior Sales Manager, InterContinental Tampa

Michelle Santee Tupps, President, Events Resourse, Inc.




This is a very exciting time for us as we think about all that has happened over this past year and the many successes we’ve had and the goals we’ve achieved.  Team Tampa Bay is an outstanding chapter that brings innovation to our industry and we are recognized nationally by our peers.  None of this could have happened without the help of our many volunteer members, both those out front and those behind the scenes.  This is your opportunity to reward them for the excellent work they have done in support of our Chapter. Please click on the link to go to the nominations form. Nominations close on Friday May 12th at 5PM

Nominations are now open to the Membership to select those who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to our chapter in the following categories:  

Meeting Professional Planner of the Year

Meeting Professional Supplier of the Year



Applications will be in your email-box very soon!  


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Calendar of Events



 Thank you for all those who attended the 2017 Meetings Academy! We have so many to thank for their contributions to the success of the conference!


 Thank You to the Speakers:

Michael O’Donnell, “Pioneering the Impossible

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”


Thank you to our Venue Sponsor:

 Thank you to our Sponsors!









Thank you to our hard-working Meetings Academy committee volunteers for their time and efforts to plan this wonderful conference for our chapter!

We also want to thank all those who brought soaps and toiletries to donate to S.T.A.N.O! We received boxes and bags full of items that were donated to support our troops!






Please save the following dates


for our upcoming MPITBA Education Programs in 2017!


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

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



May Education Program

Wednesday, May 17, 2017





Networking at Events: “Connectivity on Steroids”
Featured Speaker: 
Erin Fuller
President, Association Management for MCI

Today’s meeting planners are being tasked with finding more innovative, effective, and dynamic ways to ensure that delegates are networking among each other; not only during the meeting, but pre- and post-event. 
What are some online and offline techniques that will allow and encourage attendees to knowledge-share in real time and help them continue the dialogue well after the face time is over? How can planners create a culture that stimulates thoughtful growth and facilitates strong career pathways?

Learning Objectives: 
1) The latest event apps and technology that facilitate networking 
2) Fun, interactive games that encourage networking 
3) The best practices in physical meeting design to ensure maximum networking

1.0 clock hours of Continuing Education (CE) - CIC Domain I: Marketing 
MPITBA has aligned this program with the above Convention Industry Council (CIC) Domain; this is for self-reporting purposes and has not been pre-approved with CIC.


About Erin: 
Erin leads MIC USA’s team that focuses on nonprofit management and consulting, and assesses business development and partnership opportunities that advance MCI’s mission and model while supporting a culture of creating thoughtful growth and strong career pathways. She has appeared on NBC Nightly News, CBS’s MarketWatch, ABC News, Fox News, NPR’s Marketplace, and BBC’s America. Through her work with MCI USA’s consulting clients, she and her colleagues have delivered expert guidance to high-profile national and international nonprofits on topics including financial analysis, governance redesign, comprehensive marketing, branding, communication plans, and non-dues revenue development. In 2011, Erin received the Alice Paul Award for her work advancing women’s causes.


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!  





We will be collecting donations for the Moffitt Cancer Center Research for Ovarian Cancer in Margaret William's honor. We encourage you to donate on the registration page. There will also be an option to donate onsite, along with a 50/50 raffle. 50% of the proceeds will be donated to Moffitt. 




Thank you to all EVERYONE who has donated to the Silent Auction.

The Silent Auction Team has put together some AWESOME packages so come ready to bid!!


Visit Nashville  

Friends Night Out 



Spa Packages


Concert Tickets, Hotel Stays, Brewery Tours & SO MUCH MORE!




If you would like to donate to the silent auction or be a sponsor for this event please email  
Amanda McAlister at






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:

face painter
temporary tattoo artists
 balloon artist
food (for in pavilion after game)
gaming truck
life size jenga
shirt sponsor ($750 cash sponsorship or can be split between two sponsors)
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 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:





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 –  

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! Be ready to win some and submit those connections today. Submit here

Questions/Comments? Contact Michelle Cobb at

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

May Education Program
iFLY Tampa Experience Gift Card


Grand Prize at Gala:

Complimentary 2 night Stay at the Brand New EVEN Hotels Property in Sarasota

2 tickets to the South Florida Museum.

We will also be giving away a new award to the person who submits the MOST connections for the 2016-2017 year.

Please submit your connections  for the 2016-2017 year by June 1st. 




 Board Retreat Recap by Incoming Board Member Nevar Murray, Florida Aquarium

“What in the world have I gotten myself into?” was one of the many thoughts going through my mind as I was preparing for my first MPI Board of Directors Retreat. I looked forward to getting to know my fellow board members and a better understanding of my role, but pictured a boring weekend locked in a room reviewing budgets. I had no idea the amazing team building we were going to experience at such a unique campus.

Prior to receiving Ashley’s email about the location of the retreat, I had never heard of IMG Academy. For some reason I was picturing a small college campus, it was much to my surprise when it was the most impressive boarding school and sports training facility that I had ever seen with sports fields and tennis courts as far as the eye could see. It was the perfect setting for us to build our new team.  

Our meeting was facilitated by Steven Foster, CMP who did an incredible job keeping all of us engaged, on track, and encouraged. We started off the retreat with “What it means to me” where we each told our stories about a special item, some of us even got choked up talking about our families. Throughout the weekend, Steven taught us how to do the perfect high-five, which was how we cheered ourselves on. But my favorite exercise we did was our Board “Boards” where each of us designed our own wooden board, we worked on these off and on throughout the sessions. By the end of Sunday, we had a good side of the board that featured our name, 5 characteristics that make a great leader, our personal tattoo design that states who we are, what we wished we had known before the retreat, and what we need from the Board to have a successful year. The other side of the board was the bad side which included a big sad face, 5 traits of a bad leader, one thing we are not going to do as a leader, and one thing that would stop us from being a good leader. For me, that one thing was being insecure.

Steven concluded the retreat by showing us how we can break through and conquer our fears. Those perfect high-fives he had been coaching us on all weekend was really the technique we needed to break through our Board “Boards”. The next thing I knew I was being recorded on Facebook Live breaking through my fears and insecurities with one good high-five. I left the retreat feeling like a complete bad-ass and confident in what I got myself into for this next year with this amazing Board. I’m Nevar Murray, the incoming Director of Community Outreach & Networking and this is my story. #TellYourStory     





By: Kristina Mitchell
Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel


Did you know:

MPI  compiled an Interactive Gun Laws and Event Venues Map

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