gatheredin Las Vegas in November 2006.
In 1957, Russia launched
Sputnik, the first earth-orbiting satellite; Leonard
Bernstein’s West Side Story debuted on Broadway, and
medical history was made with the invention of the pacemaker. It
was also the year a handful of insurance executives gathered
together to network and decided spontaneously to start an
association. During that meeting, the Insurance Conference Planners
Association, now known as the Financial & Insurance Conference
Planners, was born, a full 14 years before a group called Meeting
Planners International -- today’s Meeting Professionals
International -- set up shop.
Over the course of the past five
decades, FICP has continued to develop its mission and swell its
ranks. Today, membership, which is strictly limited to meeting
planners, stands at 500, a 15 percent growth over 2005, spread
among six regional chapters. The organization has matured into a
full-fledged, well-regarded meetings industry organization, capping
several major professional milestones along the way.
* 1958. ICPA founding
members meet in New York City for the association’s first official
* 1970. The
association holds its first annual conference outside North
America, with half of the 63 members attending at the Hamilton
Princess hotel in Bermuda.
* 1974. The first
female member joins.
* 1983. A newsletter
is launched. That same year, the volunteer-managed association
announces its changeover to nonprofit status, setting annual dues
* 1989. Thirty-five
members gather at the Four Seasons Clift Hotel in San Francisco to
attend the association’s first educational seminar, outside of the
* 2003. The
association moves its longtime headquarters in Vancouver, British
Columbia, to Chicago, and SmithBucklin takes over management under
Steve Bova, CAE, executive director.
* 2004. Jim Jones, an
ICPA founding member, becomes the association’s first
representative to be inducted into the Convention Industry
Council’s Hall of Leaders. (Jones, who served as ICPA’s director in
the 1960s, also was a founding member of both MPI and the Society
of Corporate Meeting Professionals.)
* 2005. ICPA changes
its name to Financial & Insurance Conference Planners, in
acknowledgement of the growing number of members from within the
financial services industries.
In 2007, FICP is celebrating its
history while forging ahead. This past November, at its annual
conference held in Las Vegas, the association released the findings
of its first-ever Economic Impact Survey of the Financial &
Insurance Conference Planning Market. Those findings, says Bova,
validate the value FICP members bring to the meetings industry and
elevate the association to a new professional level.
“The survey is the first benchmark our
members have had that compares them in staff size and budget to the
industry average, and that’s a tremendous benefit to have in
negotiations and as a management tool,” says Bova. “It’s also a
benefit to our hospitality partners, many of whom want to get
involved with sponsorship. The survey shows the marketing value of
being out in front of the FICP audience, and that even just being
associated with our events lends credibility [to a sponsor].”