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Government Meetings See 'Signs of Progress,' SGMP Reports

SGMP Rob Coffman

The government meetings sector has seen "some nice signs of progress" this year, Rob Coffman, president of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP), told SGMP members last month in his 2014 "State of the Society" address.

In his remarks, which were published Friday, Coffman acknowledged that government meetings have experienced significant challenges. However, he said changes made by SGMP in the past year have positioned the industry for future growth.

"We all know the recent story of our industry far too well. Embarrassing IG reports with negative media coverage and then sequestration cuts followed by the federal government shutdown," Coffman said. "Some of the challenges of the last two years will most certainly continue. And while the Society continues to face difficult participation levels, we have seen some wonderful highlights and achievements."

Earlier this year, SGMP announced a new direction: Thanks to a new mission statement approved by SGMP members last year, it would pivot from an internal to an external focus and vary its scope to include industry outreach and advocacy.

According to Coffman, the changes have paid off. "2014 has seen some nice signs of progress in our industry," he continued. "These favorable signs include the federal government passing its first budget in years, an additional federal government shutdown being averted and a key Senate hearing featuring a markedly improved tone."

In the year ahead, Coffman said SGMP will continue its pivot: The group initially focused inward. Last year, it began focusing outward. Going forward, he said, its focus will be moving upward.

"The path to a brighter future for our association and industry lies in magnifying the power of our collective actions to build a stronger SGMP," Coffman concluded. "Together we are building SGMP into the preeminent voice for the government meetings industry, both enhancing our professional development and reinforcing the value we create for the American taxpayer on a daily basis."