MPI Gets Strategic at WEC

In July, Meeting Professionals International's (MPI) 2004 World Education Conference in Denver drew 3,151 attendees, making it the second largest event in MPI history. Getting this near-record number of planners and suppliers to think strategically about their business and their careers was the main focus of the event, which also included a one-day trade show with 610 exhibitor booths. The educational sessions were highlighted by a four-session track focused on the hot topic of procurement. The centerpiece of the track was a town hall gathering on strategic meetings management hosted by new MPI Chairman Hugh Lee and MPI President Colin Rorrie. "These sessions are important because meetings are beginning to be recognized by upper management as an important strategic tool," says Lee. "Planners have to view themselves as key players in shaping strategic goals of their organizations."

In a related move, MPI unveiled its plan to launch in 2005 an online professional development resource for meeting planners called [email protected] on its Web site, The plan will begin by defining the core competencies necessary to build a career track. "This plan will demonstrate to meeting planners that there are strategies that make it possible to have a life-long career in meeting planning that offers advancement opportunities," says Rorrie.

Also at the conference, the association awarded Fairfax, VA-based Elizabeth Zielinski the title of International Planner of the Year. Zielinski is president and owner of Meeting Horizons, a consulting firm that specializes in personalized meeting management and training, with an emphasis on technology companies.