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MPI Leaders Discuss Growth in Europe at ibtm world

ibtm chapter blog 11_27_17

Volunteer leaders from Meeting Professionals International’s European chapters gathered Monday in Barcelona to engage and hear updates from MPI leadership on new initiatives, education, certification and best practices.

Nearly 20 volunteer leaders attended the forum, conducted just ahead of the 30th anniversary of ibtm world at the Fira Gran Via Barcelona.

“We want to continue to support Europe and our chapters,” said Darren Temple, chief operations officer at MPI, who announced a four-point plan of new initiatives for the European chapters.

He introduced Miguel Neves, CMP, who will begin a one-year term in January on MPI’s International Board of Directors (IBOD). In his role, Neves will be tasked with working with the European Council, which serves to help the chapters and funnel new ideas and best practices, and to be the liaison between the European leaders and the IBOD and MPI executive team.

Neves, founder and CEO of Media Chefs in London, has a long history with MPI, both as a member and volunteer leader, but also through his previous work with the IMEX Group, MPI’s largest strategic partner. He has served in various roles with the MPI UK and Ireland Chapter, including president, and spent six years with IMEX. Neves will continue to build on the work started by Krzysztof Celuch with the European Council.

Temple said MPI is completing its review of applications for the six to eight members from Europe who will be on the council, and plans to announce a chair for the group very soon.

“We want to grow our membership in Europe and it’s complicated, it’s challenging,” Temple said, adding the work of the council is critical. “We are trying new models in the U.S. right now.”

The chair will help organize and lead the council, working with Neves in his role as liaison to the board.

The growth of the MPI brand, an event strategy in Europe, and eventual business development and sponsorship plans are other strategic areas cited by Temple.

MPI has moved away for one year from its annual European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC), which was held earlier this year in Granada, Spain. For 2018, MPI has partnered for a joint event with the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE). The SITE + MPI Global Forum, Jan. 12-14, in Rome (, will feature keynotes along with education tracks for both groups.

Since SITE rotates its event on a three-year basis, MPI will return to an EMEC-like format in 2019. But part of the work of the European Council and Neves will be to help formulate a long-term strategy.

Neves gave an overview of his role and led a spirited discussion with the chapter leaders, many weighing in with thoughts and opinions, reflecting some of the challenges he will face in his role.

Kristi Casey Sanders, director of thought leadership for MPI, gave an update on education, including the booth education that will be offered at ibtm world ( as well as from the MPI Academy next year. The group also spent time discussing best practices and idea sharing for 2018.

Brian Stevens, who is nearing the end of his year as chair of the IBOD, told the group he enjoyed “getting to know so many of you. You are the ‘I’ in MPI, the international component. The organization is doing well. Membership is up, the books are balanced and we’re retooling the staff to better serve our chapters. I’m excited about what’s going to happen in Rome and we want you, we need you to help MPI grow.”

About the Author

Rich Luna

Rich Luna is director of publishing for MPI and editor in chief of The Meeting Professional.