The following accompanies "Protecting Your Job" by Sarah J.F. Braley (M&C, May 2009).
If you have managed to hold on to your membership to Meeting Professionals International or the Professional Convention Management Association, now is the time to get some extra benefit from your dues. Aside from hosting numerous face-to-face networking and educational opportunities, both are reaching out on the Internet to support their members.
PCMA has created the Career Stimulus Package at pcma.org. Three webcasts were available as of mid-April: "Creating Your Personal Brand," "Making Yourself Indispensable" and, for those who are searching for a new position, "How to Stand Out From the Crowd: Résumé Design for Senior Meeting Professionals."
Looking to come up with more content, PCMA held a think tank in March to address many of the problems both corporate and association planners are facing, such as maximizing attendance numbers at events and how to reduce budgets while delivering the same experience. "From the information we gleaned, we will be creating education so we can continue to delve into these issues and come up with more solutions," says association president and CEO Deborah Sexton.
MPI (mpiweb.org) has just launched two programs to shore up planners' efforts to keep their positions. "No Turning Back: A Revolution in the Meetings Industry" is a three-part series that aims to explain four key elements of strategic value for meetings and events: portfolio management, meeting design, measurement and advanced logistics. It began with an April 21 webcast based on "The Case for Meetings," a briefing paper by Mary Boone of Mary Boone Associates. A half-day workshop will be held at the World Education Congress in Salt Lake in July, and the series ends with a webcast on August 26. The "Meetings Matter" series lasts eight weeks, starting at the end of April and running through June. Each webcast will offer real-life solutions to issues that industry professionals currently are facing.
Available anytime at MPI's site is a webcast called "Prove Your Worth as a Meeting Planner." And on May 21, the organization will host one on industry challenges and solutions. MPI also offers statistics from its Future Watch study and its bimonthly Business Barometer to help planners argue the benefit of the events they handle and, by extension, their own position in their companies.
In addition, Sexton suggests looking to the CMP study programs online for help. "Even if you're not interested in getting the certification," she says, "it truly is the most up-to-date best practices in the industry."