by Sarah J.F. Braley | December 01, 2007

Bruce MacMillan
MPI president/CEO
Bruce MacMillan
is expanding MPI’s
global reach.

There is strength in numbers. Just ask members of Meeting Professionals International, now close to 23,000 strong. Chances are, if you belong to the Dallas-based organization, a fellow planner or supplier member works nearby and can lend a hand, lend an ear or lend some expertise.

Hitting such a high number is a real milestone for the association. With 22,626 members as of September, MPI officially has become the largest meetings industry organization, taking over the position long held by the Washington, D.C.-based American Society of Association Executives, which counted 22,568 members as of Oct. 22.

MPI was founded in 1972, when 159 people joined what was then Meeting Planners International. The name changed in 1994, and the group now encompasses 68 chapters and clubs based in 20 countries. The organization has three international offices -- the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) office in Luxembourg; the Canadian office in Mississauga, Ontario; and the Asia office in Singapore, which opened Oct. 25.

Staff remodeling

The face of MPI has changed quite a bit in the past two years. In March 2006, president/CEO Colin Rorrie Jr., Ph.D, CAE, left the organization, and the search for a new staff leader did not conclude until last December, when Bruce MacMillan, formerly president and CEO of Tourism Toronto and a longtime member of MPI, took over the position.

A number of other staff changes have taken place since. In February, after veteran association executive David DuBois left the MPI Foundation to take the reins of the Fort Worth (Texas) Convention and Visitors Bureau, the position of executive vice president of the foundation went to Katie Callahan-Giobbi, late of LA Inc., the CVB of Los Angeles. Around the same time, Vicki Hawarden was hired as vice president of knowledge management and member events, and Didier Scaillet became vice president of global development.

Bren Clevenger-Ori, CAE, CMP, joined the organization as COO in May, and Cary Broussard came on board in July as vice president of marketing and brand management.

“While these five had less than one year of MPI management experience, they have more than 50 years of MPI organization experience,” notes MacMillan of his key hires.