is expanding MPI’s
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.
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.