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President's Message

Hello Chapter Members,

I feel like every time I go to write a letter to our members we are encountering a new natural disaster, massacre or other unfortunate and scary events. My heart aches for those affected by Hurricane Maria, the Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre, the California fires and all of the other horrific things our community and families are affected by. With our industry we find ourselves with friends and colleagues all over our wonderful nation and abroad and all of us are affected or know someone affected. I ask that we remember that coming together for the better of human life and doing what we can to leave a positive mark in this world is most important. Do what you can to help others and lead your life with love and respect.

I am so proud of our members and community as MPITBA showed their support for Hurricane Irma and Maria victims during the September MPI After 5. After needing to postpone our South of the Sky way MPI After 5 and September Education programs due to Hurricane Irma your Community Outreach and Networking Committee saw a need to provide networking as well as a need to help our extended community. Very quickly the put together a special September MPI After 5 which was graciously hosted by the Bay Harbor Hotel Tampa at their Beach Bar and attendees provided a bounty of supplies including diapers, canned goods, medicine and hygiene items. Supplies were shipped out to families in need in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as well as to our local community. Thank you to those who donated! 

I hope to see you at the next MPI After 5 on October 26th hosted at Q-Zar Tampa! I look forward to reliving my youth with you all with some Laser Tag! Bring your business cards to network and your game face to have some fun! A couple weeks later on Nov 8th we will be of the first groups to experience the new Armature Works in Tampa Heights. At this brand new venue in the revitalized Tampa Heights we will hear from Brett Sterenson with Hotel Lobbyist on “Unlocking the Secrets to Why Hotels are Rejecting My Business”. The interactive session bent towards planners will provide a behind the scenes look at the decision process behind hotels accepting or rejecting business. Now years into one of the strongest seller’s markets we’ve seen, hotel salespersons will be able to participate and provide their own touches and Brett will speak on new understandings to planners on hotel methodology, tips for better positioning their groups and meetings, and enhanced negotiation techniques. I look forward to you all joining us!

While we may not have the changing of the leaves in the Tampa Bay Area I know that our members will make the best of this festive month with plenty of creative Halloween Costumes and pumpkin flavored everything! Enjoy and I leave you with this- Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder. Let the challenges make you strong!


Ashley Valentine, CMP

MPI Tampa Bay Area Chapter President



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Membership News

 Please give new members a warm Tampa Bay MPI welcome.

New members are identified with a new member ribbon on their name badge. 
Please welcome the following new members who joined MPI Tampa Bay Area in September-

Melissa Bonacore, Supplier Meeting Professional

Udeme Ikaiddi, Student

Lionel Thomas Jr., Associate Professor, St. Leo University 


Please congratulate the following members celebrating Anniversaries in September-

5 Years:

Kathy Bermudez, Meeting Planner, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Mgmt

10 Years:

Jill Manthey, VP of Sales, Yacht Starship Dining


Please congratulate the following members celebrating Anniversaries in October-

5 Years:

Stephanie Montini, Meeting Planner

Darin Henry, Sr. Sales Manager, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort

25 Years:

Lori Morgan, Sr. Director Global Accounts, Helms Briscoe





The MPI Foundation’s Branded Scholarship program was created for meeting professionals who seek education inside or outside traditional academic institutions.


Continuing Education for individuals who want to advance their academic or career-related education

Certified Meeting Professional Designation for meeting professionals seeking to achieve the foremost certification of the meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry

Certification in Meeting Management for professionals seeking career advancement and industry recognition

MPI Meeting Professional Memberships for professionals seeking a connection to industry planners and suppliers worldwide

MPI Conferences for those seeking leadership, career and educational opportunities offered exclusively at MPI conferences like WEC and EMEC

Scholarships help companies position themselves and their corporate brands effectively at a time when funding for education has reached critically low levels. To learn how to become an investor, contact us.

To apply for a scholarship, please click here.

I Am MPI #TellYourStory

The MPI Tampa Bay Area Membership & Communications Team will be in touch with members to learn your story.  This is another great opportunity for our members to engage and make the most of our amazing network.

For more information or to find out how to #TellYourStory please contact          Rachelle Stone at rstone@cheeriodicals.com


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Calendar of Events


MPI Tampa Bay Area October After 5 Networking

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Experience Team Building in a whole new way at this month’s MPI After 5 event.  Network with fellow MPI members, followed by lively games of Laser Tag.

Please be advised alcoholic beverages will not be served at the event.

TIP: Wear dark clothing and comfortable shoes to really get your game on!

$10.00 Member Registration (Preferred/Premier Level)
$15.00 after 9:00 am October 26

$15.00 Non Member and MPI Essential Member Level
$20.00 after 9:00 am October 26

50/50 Raffle: Cash only!  $1 for 1 Ticket.  $5 for 6 Tickets.  $10 for 12 Tickets.


Q-Zar Tampa

7807 N. Dale Mabry Hwy

Tampa, FL 33614

(813) 933-6995


Facebook:QZarTampa | Twitter:@QZarTampa

About Host Location:

Q-Zar Tampa is a unique meeting venue – perfect for parties, reunions, corporate events, fundraisers and more. Interactive laser tag offers something different: a high-tech entertainment experience that gets your heart pounding and your adrenaline flowing. Laser tag is a game of cunning, smarts and strategy; strength and brute force are of little use here. There is no running, climbing or physical contact, so anyone can play.

Q-Zar Tampa is conveniently located on 7807 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., just north of Raymond James Stadium. We offer private meeting rooms and event space, a large video game arcade, along with a food court for food and drinks for your event. Outside catering options are also available. Alcohol is allowed for private functions.

Discover what these companies already know – Verizon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Wawa, Hyatt Hotels, McDonald's, United Healthcare, PwC, Chick-fil-A – that Q-Zar provides action-packed entertainment along with a fun, effective team-building experience.

Disarm attendees and transport them to another world … transform expectations about meetings!


for our November Educational Program

November 08, 2017
11:00 AM - 1:30 PM
 Add to Calendar

Armature Works
1910 N. Ola Ave
Tampa, FL 33602

You don’t want to miss this amazing opportunity to tour the BRAND-NEW Armature Works and learn from industry veteran, Brett Sterenson, about the hotel decision-making process in this seller’s market.

Session Topic:

Unlocking the Secrets to Why Hotels are Rejecting My Business

Program Overview:

An interactive session bent more towards planners as it provides a behind the scenes look at the decision process behind hotels accepting or rejecting business.  Now years into one of the strongest seller’s markets we’ve seen, hotel salespersons will be able to participate and provide their own touches.  Gives new understandings to planners on hotel methodology, tips for better positioning their groups and meetings, and enhanced negotiation technique. Presentation also includes some table exercises.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn to better position your company/organization in negotiations with venue and to increase available options.
  2. Learn how to develop and maintain effective working relationship with venue personnel.
  3. Understand hotel methodology in evaluating and selecting RFPs based on spatial needs, housing patterns, food and beverage components, accessibility requirements, contract needs, and more.


1.0 clock hours of Continuing Education (CE) – Domain H – Site Management

MPITBA has aligned this program with the above Events Industry Council (EIC) Domain; this is for self-reporting purposes and has not been pre-approved with EIC.

Speaker Details:              

Brett Sternson, Hotel Lobbyists


Brett brings nineteen years of supplier side experience both from the hotel side and the last 10 years as a small business owner.  Brett worked in government sales for both Millennium Hotels and Resorts out of Boston and Kimpton Hotels out of Washington, DC.  His firm, Hotel Lobbyists, was founded in April 2007.  He's also a fourteen-year member of SGMP with five years on the local National Capital Board, three years on the Gilmer Institute of Learning, and fresh off a four-year term on the National Board of Directors as Treasurer.  With more time for himself now, Brett speaks at SGMP and MPI chapter events, national events, and CVB sponsored educational days.  He is married with a 4yr old son and 2yr old daughter.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Thank you to our MPITBA Education Committee Meeting Venue Sponsor for the

2016-2017 Year! 



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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 Wayne Childs, Director of Cash Sponsorship & Advertising at wchilds@plantationoncrystalriver.com. Follow this link to our Cash Sponsorship and Advertising Packet:






 New and Exciting Table Host/Sponsor Opportunities!

 Starting with the September 20th MPI Education at Busch Gardens you will be able to choose the new add-on called “Table Host/Sponsor” for $40.00 at the on-line registration page.

 This new and improved program will allow you the ultimate exposure for your business, venue or property during the monthly education programs.

During the pre-lunch networking time, you will be assigned a small table and chair to be located near the registration table. You will be on hand to talk to and hand out your promotions and any small swag items to the attendees after they check in.

During the luncheon, you will be assigned a table close to the front. You can invite your colleagues and prospects to join you and as Table Host you will facilitate the conversation and bring a special gift for your table guests.

I hope you all see the incredible value of this program and choose to spotlight your business at the monthly education luncheons.

Due to logistics, you will be required to register as a Table Host/Sponsor 2 weeks prior to the education date.

 If you have any questions, please contact Judy Mockabee, Table Host/Sponsor Chair.







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!



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Committee and Other News




Enter your Connections to win!

Last year we did $1,217,826 in connections and our goal for this year is to surpass that!

The Connections Campaign is a way for members to share and quantify member-to-member connections proving the value of MPI.

The upcoming year with the Connections Campaign will present many exciting prizes as we push to prove the power of BUY MPI for our members!  So get your connections in! 

To submit your connections- go to the chapter websitewww.mpitambabayarea.org. Under the community click on the Connections Campaign and complete the form. The value of business is kept confidential and is only used to track the total value of connections made.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at michelle@sensory5.com.

Thanks and remember to BUY MPI!





Did you know that the MPI Academy is available to members to help with planning current events and preparing for futrue industry opportunities?

MPI education helps you plan events—and your future.

Through the MPI Academy and MPI events, you’ll have access to cutting-edge education and certificate programs that enhance critical job skills. Delivered online and in-person throughout the year, MPI’s education is open to event professionals of all levels. So, whether you’re obtaining crucial clock hours toward your CMP or CAE, growing your knowledge base or simply staying sharp, MPI education is perfect for the job you have—or the job you want.


Did you know that MPI Global offers an installment payment options for new members?

Visit our Membership page at the hyperlink above or see one of one of our Mmebership Team Members to find out more!






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