Tim Whalen, CMP - MPI Toronto Chapter
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Tim Whalen, CMP - MPI Toronto Chapter

By Meeting Professionals International | Nov 19, 2018

I started as a busboy at a resort in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, when I was 14. Over the last 29 years I have spent some time at pretty much every level of the industry—busser, server, bartender, food and beverage manager and conference planner. All of these positions prepared me for my career as a hospitality sales manager. The background knowledge that each of these roles gave me allows me a better working relationship with each individual department that my clients will come in contact with during their programs.

Aside from being named president-elect of the MPI Toronto Chapter this year, my career highlight was playing a leadership role executing a groundbreaking new educational experience called the EVENT in early 2018. Three MPI chapters combined resources for the first time in recent Canadian history. We offered members an experience that challenged the status quo and revolutionized the way we look at conferences and events.

I think a full audit of our industry needs to take place and we need to question why we do certain things the way we do. If we can’t find a sufficient answer, we need to change. We need to explore different creative directions and jump into new ideas headfirst. In taking risks, some new ideas will fail, but others just might change the way we do business for the future. 

My former VP of sales and marketing, Vittoria Wikston, CMP, taught me to set goals and commit to them, then put all your energy into finding a way to achieve them. Creatively, there is more than one way to get to any end goal. As a team leader you need to find out what drives each individual team member and help create the right atmosphere for them to succeed.

My current director of resort sales, Annette Bennitz, CMM, has supported me 100 percent through my MPI leadership journey. WAY before I had any experience at the committee chair, director or VP level, she told me, “I want you to be the Toronto Chapter President.” It helps to have a committed employer like Fallsview Casino Resort supporting your MPI goals along the way.

One of my bosses forced me to join MPI. Reluctantly, I took on a membership as “part of my job.” What I have found is an amazing group of people, some of which have become close personal friends. I have learned so much from the event professionals that I have had the pleasure to work with on committees and making board decisions over the years. MPI has also provided me with the volunteer and leadership opportunities I could not have received in my own day job.

We have grown as an industry immensely in the past decade. Our voice is as unified as ever, but we still need to keep moving in a direction that shows those outside of our industry that meetings really do mean business. We need to move the concept past a tagline so that our industry has a seat at the table. As a group we need to keep fighting to show our employers, our partners and our politicians the overall value of the meeting and event industry.

I am passionate about running (or was until a recent injury). It provides my mind with a break and the peace I need to refuel. Having run three full marathons, I am eager to get my Asics back on the road once I’m healthy again.

As a member of the MPI Toronto Chapter, I cannot wait for the MPI World Education Congress (June 15-18, 2019). Toronto and the surrounding regions, like Niagara Falls (shameless plug), have so much to offer meeting professionals, and the excitement is building as we prepare to show the world.

BIO

Tim Whalen, CMP, is executive meeting manager for the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and president-elect of the MPI Toronto Chapter.

 

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MPI
Meeting Professionals International