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President's Message

Hello Chapter Members,

It was wonderful seeing so many members and guests at the November Education program at the new Armature Works in Tampa Heights. It was long overdue and what a treat to be of the first to be in the newly revitalized building and to hear all about the new exciting things happening in the area. I heard from so many of you that you really enjoyed Brett Sterenson with Hotel Lobbyist’s presentation on “Unlocking the Secrets to Why Hotels are Rejecting My Business”. Brett was incredibly engaging and although he did quiz us on some surprise math it was fun to hear both prospective’s and I look forward to seeing your feedback on the surveys that were sent out! I am looking forward to our spring programs from our Education team as they are 2 for 2 this fiscal year on amazing speakers and venues!

The second week in November we were given two great opportunities to network with a SOS After 5 at Even Hotels and MPI After 5 in Downtown St Pete at Locale Market. After a Hurricane break it feels great to be back and see everyone and network with some new as well as old peers! I hope everyone has our Holiday Party “Boots and Bling” on their calendars for Dec 7th at the Epicenter! I met with the Holiday Party committee and WOW do they have an incredible night with delicious food, delightful cocktails and some great music and entertainment planned! Make sure to get your attire ready because they are planning a Best Dressed Contest as well as Best Boots and Best Hat along with great prizes! I know this is a creative group so I am really looking forward to seeing what you all come up with!

In other chapter news we are currently accepting nominations and applications for the 2018-2019 Board of Directors. Not only will the incoming board of directors be under the incredible leadership of Sara Melvin but they will also be a part of an incredibly talented group of individuals that will continue to move our chapter forward in innovative ways. Please make sure to get your applications in by Dec 8th for consideration! Also please keep your eye out for our Chapter Needs Assessment Survey this month. This survey is to assess our chapter member’s interests, likes, dislikes and to get ideas from you the members on what you would like to see in the future. Your opinion matters so please make sure to respond to the quick survey that your Membership team has diligently put together.

With November comes Thanksgiving and with that we are often reminded to remember and acknowledge all that we are thankful for. I am Thankful and honored to be your Chapter President and to have such a supportive chapter full of incredible talent! I am Thankful for our Members, our Volunteers and to our Board of Directors for all that you do! I am mostly Thankful to our families and loved ones that support us and our military and public service members who keep us safe. “The more you thank life, the more life gives you to be thankful for.” - Unknown

Be well, see you soon! Cheers!

Ashley Valentine, CMP

MPI Tampa Bay Area Chapter President



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Membership News


Congratulations Angelic Hodnett for being Member of the Month

How many years have you been in the Meetings/Events business? 11 years

During that time, what would you say has been the best experience?  Planning various meetings throughout the U.S.

Why did you first join MPI? I wanted to meet more people in my industry to gain more knowledge and experience, both personally and professionally.

What committees/Volunteering opportunities have you been involved in during your membership? I am currently on the sponsorship and advertising committee.

What is the most important valued thing you gained from your membership? I have met some wonderful members within our chapter. I have learned so much from them and will continue to allow myself to be a sponge and learn more! Knowledge is the key to success!

Please tell us an interesting fact...: I have been an avid Buffalo Bills fan since I was a young kid. Anyone who follows football, knows that I have followed them through the 4 Super Bowl losses and not being the playoffs since the 90s. Phew! Go Bills!


 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-

Marissa Porri, Sales Manager, Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel

Laura Stomber, Senior Event Coordinator, IQPC

Amy Tupper, Student, UCF Rosen College of Hospitality

Sonya Kane, Director Events, Catalina Marketing

Gabrielle Rei, Corporate Meeting Professional

Zulma Diaz, Supplier Meeting Professional

Matthew Krupke, Faculty



Make crucial connections to people, ideas and marketplaces which can take your career to the next level through our online community and engaging with your local chapter. Join MPI at and use code MPISMNOV17 before November 30 to receive 10% off.


Have a friend who could benefit from our networking and events? When you refer a friend and they join using MyFriendMPI they will receive $50 off their membership. You will receive a $25 referral credit that you may apply towards their next renewal.  



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


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Calendar of Events


Don’t Forget to Register for MPI Tampa Bay Area November After 5s! 

November After 5

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Locale Gourmet Market

179 2nd Ave N

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Join us for gourmet bites, fine wine and a market tour to get inspired.  We are excited to showcase our market and our new catering program!!


Please enter at 179 2nd St N. St. Petersburg FL, 33701 entrance. 

Valet parking available for $5.00

About Host Location:

LOCALE Market a taste-tempting gourmet destination is a tribute to one of James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Mina, welcomes you to a haven of chef-prepared cuisine, unique shopping and dining memories and enriching community gatherings.  LOCALE Market, our curated grocery market experience cultivated over great food and decades of friendship.


Thank you to our Sponsors!


Save the Date for the 2018 Meetings Academy!


April 19, 2018

 The beautiful, brand new Westin Sarasota will host our conference!

 Why You Don’t Want to Miss This Event:

-Outstanding Educational Sessions

-Earn CMP Continuing Education Credits

-Be One of the First to Experience the Brand-new Westin Sarasota

-Networking Opportunities to Connect with other Meeting Professionals

  Registration will open at the end of November!


Thank you to our 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 Wayne Childs, Director of Cash Sponsorship & Advertising at Follow this link to our Cash Sponsorship and Advertising Packet:






We are excited to announce the new 2-part Table Host/Sponsor Program!  You will receive

MAXIMUM exposure at the next MPI Education Luncheon.


PART 1: Registration/Networking Hour - Showcase your business & promote your specials!


PART 2:  Education Luncheon - Gather your colleagues and prospects at your reserved table. Spotlight your business and facilitate the conversation during lunch. Bring fabulous gifts for your tablemates so they don’t forget you! The emcee will recognize your business too!

During the on-line registration for the Education click the “Add-on” Table Host/Sponsor ($40.00)

Reserve your Sponsor Table Today!



Judy Mockabee




 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!



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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 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

Thanks and remember to BUY MPI!





Did you know that the MPI Academy is provides essential business skills certificates on various topics and fields? These courses are also good for up to 4 CMP Clock Hours.

Expand your expertise. Skyrocket your career.

The MPI Academy provides certificate programs that enhance critical job skills on topics essential to meeting and event professionals. These certificates are delivered online and in-person throughout the year and are open to all meeting and event professionals. 

Would you like to bring a program to your MPI chapter or company? Email your program request to Kristi Sanders at


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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