by Matt Alderton | November 30, 2012
The government meetings sector began 2012 with a serious scandal, thanks to the General Services Administration (GSA), which was accused in April of excessive spending at a 2010 conference in Las Vegas. It ended the year, however, on a decidedly different note, celebrating best practices and ethics at the first-ever CGMP Congress, the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) announced this week.

Held Nov. 14-16 in Washington, D.C., the sold-out CGMP Congress was designed for meeting planners holding SGMP's Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) designation, nearly 100 of which attended in order to "[gain] a deeper understanding of key governmental policy mandates and [discover] new ways to harness the technology that drives efficiency, productivity and collaboration."

"Our first CGMP Congress was a milestone achievement for SGMP and for our fellow CGMP designees," said Rob Coffman, president of SGMP's National Capital chapter, which co-hosted the event. "Our certification is in its eighth year and there are nearly 800 members holding the designation. The top-notch education resulted in the cream of the crop of our members learning the latest in government policy issues, best practices, ethics reviews and exceptional strategies for achieving mission success in government meetings and travel."

According to SGMP, over 90 percent of CGMP Congress attendees indicated on their evaluations that the event exceeded their expectations. What's more, SGMP stressed, "every one of them" said they'd recommend the event to a CGMP colleague.

"At a time when all eyes are scrutinizing government spending habits, it is imperative that government meeting professionals create transparency," said Marlene Lu, a state government meeting planner from Terre Haute, Ind. "It was one of the best conferences I have attended in my career."

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