July/Aug E- Focus (copy) Print



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President's Message

Hello Chapter Members,

With August on the calendar that means it is when everyone is doing their final family vacations and preparing for back to school, traffic is going to start to pick up and football is back! Over the past couple of months our MPITBA members have been very busy! We celebrated our volunteers, committees and sponsors at a Night in White MPITBA’s Awards Dinner in June aboard Yacht Starship and we raised over $1100 that was donated to Moffitt Cancer Center for Ovarian Cancer in Margaret Williams name. It was a beautiful evening and wonderful way to end our 2016/2017 fiscal year! Congratulations to our award recipients and thank you to all of our sponsors, committees of dedicated volunteers and members for making it another incredible year!

Also over the summer we had a wonderful time at our Community Outreach Event All Star Day at Steinbrenner Field where we partnered with Big Brother Big Sisters and gave 21 kids an unforgettable day at the ball park! The little that I was paired with for the day had a fun time playing cornhole, eating unlimited chocolate chip cookies and loved meeting some of the players after the game. It was such a fun time for the Big’s and the Little’s and we even raised $1000 through support of donations and sponsors to give back to Big Brother Big Sisters! It was great to see so many volunteers and MPITBA in the community.

The Education Committee kicked off our 2017-2018 year with an incredible program at The Florida Aquarium with Bryan Moll with Strategic Property Partners. Bryan spoke to attendees about how the Tampa skyline is changing with hundreds of new hotel rooms, meeting space, living and shopping outlets as well as beautiful parks and water views. While Bryan didn’t spill the beans on the new 5 star hotel that is coming to downtown he did share several layouts, timelines and plans that we are all very excited to see happen!

August and September have 3 opportunities to network, learn and engage. August 24th at Le Meridien we are holding our Volunteer Kick-Off followed by a MPI After 5 Networking event. We invite our current volunteers and those interested in becoming an engaged member and volunteer to join our Volunteer Kick-off at 4pm and then stay for networking. On September 13th at Hyatt Place Sarasota/Lakewood Ranch is hosting a South of the Skyway After 5 which always has a great group of attendees. Then on September 20th we are going to be at Busch Gardens for the Education Program-  Luck is not a Strategy: A 5-step Roadmap to SAFER Meetings and Events by Brian Avery. See you there!

As announced last month the SES (Sunshine Education Summit) for 2017 has been postponed to August 22-24th 2018. If you are interested in being involved on the TONS committee as the Director of Chapter Collaboration or on a SES committee please let me know so that you can be a part of developing and evolving program.

Enjoy the final weeks of summer, I look forward to seeing many of you at upcoming events and committee meetings! Every Summer has a story and every summer always ends with good memories.


Ashley Valentine, CMP

MPITBA 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 June-

  • Erica Barnes, Special Events Coordinator, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
  • Melissa Davidson, Private Events Director, Centre Club
  • Brittany Erigo, Director of Catering & Events, The Tampa Club
  • Kerri Gibson, Director of Events & Activities, Equity Lifestyle Properties
  • Stephanie Glaser, Meeting and Education Manager, American Accounting Association
  • Kelli Gouwens, Concierge Meeting Coordinator, American Accounting Association
  • Megan Humphrey, Destination Sales Executive, Mainsail Lodging and Development
  • Erlinda Jones, Sr. Director Meetings and Programs, American Accounting Association
  • Michelle Montgomery, Special Events Manager, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
  • Meghan Rodriguez, Special Events Coordinator, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
  • Cara Tolzman, Event Planner, Florida Destinations and Incentives


Please welcome the following members who rejoined MPI Tampa Bay Area in June-

  • Jeffrey Boone, Owner, Boone’s Professional Events
  • Felice Levy, Manager, Global Accounts, HelmsBriscoe
  • Denise Santos-Colonel, National Sales Manager, The Don CeSar


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

  • Jessica Meiczinger, Event Planner, Simply Divine Events, LLC
  • Gary Witcher, Business Manager, Oak Island




Please congratulate the following members celebrating Anniversaries in July-

5 Years

Bronwyn Fowler, Independent Consultant, Pipeline Promotions

Stacey Reed-Cash, Events Planner, Duke Energy

Elizabeth Vulgamore, Events Planner, SMI Travel, Inc.

15 Years

Cheryl Jelinek, Director National Accounts, Saddlebrook Resort




 Full Membership Scholarship Winner:   Stephanie Montini

Partial Membership Certificate Winners:    Nevar Murray & Pauline Navarro


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Calendar of Events




Please save the following dates

 for our upcoming MPI Tampa Bay Area  Events in 2017!

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


MPI Tampa Bay Area Volunteer Kick-Off Meeting 
& August After 5 Networking

Event Date:    Thursday, August 24, 2017
Time:               4pm - 7pm

Host Location:                     

Le Meridien
601 N. Florida Ave.
Tampa, FL


Kick-off the new season and learn about http://www.guestreservations.com/hyatt-place-sarasota-lakewood-ranch/bookinghttp://mpitampabayarea.org/index.phpvolunteer opportunities with MPI Tampa Bay during the Volunteer Kick-off Meeting. Network with the new Board of Directors and join a committee followed by After 5 where you will enjoy Sparkling Hour & Petit Plates provided by Le Meridien Tampa.

Volunteer Kick-Off Meeting: 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm Bizou Lounge- located on 2nd floor

MPI After 5 Networking: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Longitude Bar for Sparkling Hour & Petit Plates - located on 1st floor

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

Register Now!


SOS Networking Event at the NEW Hyatt Place Sarasota/Lakewood Ranch!

Event Date:    Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Time:               5pm-7pm

Host Location:                        



Located in the heart of Lakewood Ranch, between Sarasota and Bradenton, Hyatt Place Sarasota Lakewood Ranch  is conveniently situated by the Interstate 75 right off the University Parkway exit.  Offering among the most spacious hotel accommodation in Sarasota and Manatee counties along with 900 square feet of meeting space, dazzling upscale dining options and sports activities, Hyatt Place Sarasota Lakewood Ranch combines the best experiences of this modern metropolis with timeless hospitality traditions.

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 ticket!

Register Now!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Session Topic: Luck is not A Strategy: A 5-step Roadmap to SAFER Meetings and Events Program

Overview: An exploration of major incidents that have negatively impacted large and small scale events and venues and 5-steps you should immediately take to reduce your liability and avoid costly missteps before you and your organization experience a catastrophic loss

Learning Objectives:

1. Recognition/identification of known and foreseeable hazards

2. Development and implementation of mitigating tactics to address known and foreseeable hazards;

3. Response process for major and catastrophic failures.

Brian Avery is an educator, events practitioner and experienced risk management professional---advocating safety within the events, tourism and attractions industry. With a hospitality career that spans nearly three decades, Brian has had a hand in almost every branch of the business---everything from service on the front lines to executive stints in staffing and safety management.

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! 





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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!

July marks a new year for MPI and a time to re-start the counter on our Connections meter!  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!




By: Kristina Mitchell
Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel



MPI scholarships are available…and you may be thinking scholarship = young student fresh out of high school. However, scholarships can cover:

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

 To apply for a scholarship, please visit: http://www.mpiweb.org/foundation/grants-and-scholarships


2016-17 Award Recipients

Rising Star:   Nevar Murray, The Florida Aquarium

Volunteer of the Year:    Pauline Navarro, Busch Gardens

Meeting Professional Planner of the Year:     Maria Cook, Hillsborough Aviation

Meeting Professional Supplier of the Year:     Aimee Blenker, CMP- Bradenton Area CVB

President’s Award:      Amanda McAlister, HelmsBriscoe

MVP Award:      Xiomara “Cee” Rivas, Paragon Events


Committee of the Year

Meetings Academy: Plans and executes the Chapter’s annual one-day conference


Small Sponsor of the Year (under $4500.00 for the year) April 2016-April 2017

Bradenton Area CVB- November 2016 Lunch Sponsor, February 8 Lunch Sponsor, & GMID/Meetings Academy Sponsor


Large Sponsor (over $4500.00) April 2016-April 2017 

Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach-Meetings Academy Venue Host





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