June 1, 2018
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Annual Conference 2018 Session Descriptions


An Eavesdropper's Lessons from the C-Suite

Over the last seven years, Richard Coughlan has conducted nearly 40 unscripted, on-stage interviews with executives from a variety of industries. Guests have included PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, Fortune 500 CEOs including Bill Nash of CarMax and Bill Rogers of SunTrust, successful entrepreneurs including Shawn Boyer of Snagajob and Shane Emmett of Health Warrior, as well as leaders from Starbucks, Macy’s and Procter & Gamble. In this interactive session, he translates the key lessons these leaders have shared on strategy, culture, innovation, market segmentation and product development for the benefit of participants. 

 Learning Objectives 

* To develop a deeper understanding of the primary pillars of a strong organizational culture, with lessons from several industries. 
* To gain an appreciation for the potential power of leaders’ messages and how one word or phrase can galvanize followers. 
* To see how curiosity might be enhanced and to understand the positive results associated with instilling curiosity in others.

Domain F: Stakeholder Management 
Approved: 1.25 CE credits.


Revoluntionay for 50 Years - Virginia is for Lovers

Session Description: In this session you will hear from Rita McClenny, President and CEO and Esra Calvert, Director of Research for the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC). They will share with you the State of the Tourism industry for Virginia. 

Learning Objectives: 

• Learn about the State of the Tourism Industry and what this means for you, your business partners, and stakeholders. 
• Understand Emerging Industry Trends 
• Learn about the latest projects in VTC’s pipeline 
• Forecast of Evolution of Tourism Industry in Virginia and beyond 
• Understand the Influence of 50 years of the Virginia is for Lovers brand

Domain A: Strategic Planning 
Approved: 1.00 CE credit.


Success Through Service: An Exploration of Board Leadership

Session Description: Do you want to inspire and support excellence in nonprofit governance and leadership? Are you interested in making a positive impact while developing yourself and others? This session will provide the tools needed for effective board leadership and governance which requires an ongoing commitment to development and partnerships. In this session, you will gain the following:

Learning Objectives

* Understand how to be a supportive leader 
*Learn how to effect positive change in a non-profit organization and serve their important missions 
*Understand and learn what tools and opportunities are available to strengthen your industry strategic management and leadership skills 
*Create a plan to help with your next steps to achieve your development goals.

Domain A: Stategic Planning and Domain E: Human Resources
Approved: 1.50 CE credits.


T & E Meets M & E

Session Description: A look at the impact of Travel & Expense procedures and policies on Meetings & Events. Whether you are planning internal meetings for staff, or conferences and conventions with outside attendees, understanding the goals and objectives related to both T&E and M&E is an important part of planning your attendee experience. With the consolidation of both departments for many organizations rapidly increasing, how do you balance the perspective of both sides to ensure the best attendee/traveler experience? 

Learner Objectives: 

* Understand the different goals, objectives, and KPIs that each side is measured by
* Understand common travel & expense policies and how they affect attendees
* Identify ways that you can proactively influence your organizations travel policies

Domain B: Project Management
Approved: 1.50 CE credits.


Meet & Greet to Review Format and meet in person
Presentations due by July 30th 

Session#2 – Trend Talks with Solution Circle

Date: Friday, August 10th, 2018

Program Session: AM General Session – 8:45 – 10:15am


Descriptor:  MPI TREND TALKS (F&B, Technology, Managing Volunteer, CVB/DMO Best Practices), followed by a solution circle (this replaces Q&A) for each topic. Participants will have the opportunity to learn the latest trends and participant in problem solving in one of the areas presented.

Facilitator: Ann Buhl
Speakers (15 minutes each):

F&B Trends: Susan Hicklin, General Manager, Meriwether Godsey, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Managing Volunteers: Tara Liaschenko, CMM, Creative Executive Officer, The Link Event Professionals, Inc.

CVB/DMO Convention & Sports Services Best Practices: Matt Robinette, CSEE, CMP, Director of Convention and Sports Services, Richmond Region Tourism

AV & Lighting Trends & Challenges: Andrew Castle, Director of Sales and Business Development, the AV Company 


In this session, you will gain the following:

Learning Objectives:

  • Hear about current trends in the industry
  • How to leverage trends in their current business
  • How to problem solve in areas of interest or need 

CMP Domains E & G


Program: General Session

Do you want to learn the current trends in our industry? Have an opportunity to problem solve with peers? This is the session for you. You will hear about current trends from industry experts. Following the talks you will have the opportunity to problem solve with your peers during a Solution Circle on the topic of your choice.

For Solution Circle, participants will be asked to submit problems prior to session (4 topics) for each speaker/section. Topics for discussion will be selected and provided for table discussion and problem solving.



Susan Hicklin, General Manager, Meriwether Godsey, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Susan has worked for Meriwether Godsey for 25 years and has been in the food service business since 1984. Since 2005, Meriwether Godsey has been the exclusive Food Service provider for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Meriwether Godsey provides the food for all catering events and for the 2 on site restaurants; The Garden café a fast casual restaurant and The Robins Tea House, a full service restaurant.  Meriwether Godsey is an employee owned company headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia and serving partners from North Carolina to Massachusetts.



Tara Liaschenko, CMM, Creative Executive Officer, The Link Event Professionals, Inc.

With over 15 years of planning experience, Tara Liaschenko is an award-winning professional who has earned an impeccable reputation for creativity and excellence in the event and meeting planning industry. An accomplished speaker, Ms. Liaschenko also facilitates board, staff, and client retreats, and in recent years, her company has expanded to facilitating strategic planning and leading business development planning for corporate and nonprofit clients.


Matt Robinette, CMPv

Matt Robinette, CMP, CSEE, Director of Convention and Sports Services, Richmond Region Tourism

Matt has a combined 13 years’ experience with Convention and Visitors Bureaus and over 20 years’ experience in event planning, management, and execution. Matt is looking at convention services as a valuable tool for meeting planners and sports event owners. He has experience with producing events of over 200,000 people down to 10 people. Passionate rugby player and member of the Norfolk Blues Rugby Club Hall of Fame.



Andrew Castle, Director of Sales and Business Development, the AV Company

Andres is a seasoned professional in both Audio Visual Engineering and business, with over 20 years’ experience. He particularly enjoys focusing on client relationships and audio engineering. His experience in these areas ranges from corporate conferences, to the music scene, to houses of worship. Andrew lives in Charlottesville with his wife, Ruth and their two children.


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