1.Why did you join MPI?

In winter 2011 I was having a business lunch/relationship building with Melissa Leal, who at the time was in sales with the Sofitel, and she asked if I had considered joining MPI. I answered her back with “what is MPI” and the rest is history!!! How could I have not known about this organization of like-minded-professionals until then? I saw such potential for career growth, peer engagement and professional learning.

2.How long have you been in the meetings/hospitality industry?

Well, back in ‘the olden days’ meeting and/or event planning was always part of my job and then it just morphed into what I did for my career. That said, let’s go with the length of, more than 25 years of that being the predominant part of my job.

3.How did you decide to get involved in this business?  What influenced you?

Ending up in this business was driven by my inspiration to connect with the people who are in this business. Those people influenced me.

4.What’s the most valuable advice you’ve received about working with meetings?

The word ‘final’ should not be associated with the word ‘agenda’.

Each element to take place has the potential to change, up until it has ended. Having kept that in mind, one tends to not get [as] anxious and be better equipped with handling the unplanned twists and turns.

5.What is one piece of advice about meeting planning you would share?

Get out of your own way!

While planning, always put yourself in the seat of the participant and you will more than likely offer the best of content, F&B and overall personal experience. Then, go back and review your plans with the eyes and heart of a host. What would you want your guest to remember.

6.What is one thing about this industry that you love?

The relationship building opportunities. Each connection is unique.

7.What is one thing about the industry would you like to see changed?

The overall language in giving out awards. It isn’t a competition it is recognition so those who receive one are the recipients, not the winners. And, each person nominated should be acknowledged when the specific program ends.

8.What do you do outside of work? 

Not so much. Really, I just like being home. I’ve done the snowboarding, sky diving, race cart driving and Blues fests. Now I just like to ride my bike, pull a few weeds here-and-there, watch Food Network and HGTV [OK…, and a couple of those train-wreck TV shows] and meet up with friends every so often for a sip and a bite and a few laughs. Oh, and MPI!