by Sarah J.F. Braley | July 01, 2011

In June, the Convention Industry Council released new guidelines for people who already hold the Certified Meeting Professional designation or are preparing to take the exam.

The first document, called the CMP Inter­national Standards, is designed to help industry professionals determine which areas in their professional development they need to pursue to advance their careers.

The standards were developed by the Canadian Tourism Human Resources Council and funded primarily by the MPI Foundation, with input from hundreds of academic advisors and senior meeting professionals from around the world through various task forces and committees.

"We want the CMP to be more of a global designation," said Karen Kotowski, CMP, CAE, chief executive officer of the CIC. "It's really a guideline for what a CMP needs to know to be successful in her job."

According to Didier Scail­let, chief development officer for Meeting Professionals International and the MPI Foundation (which has released a document from which the CIC built its standards, available here, the basis for the standards was forged "about three years ago, when a group of universities around the world got together to create EMBOK [an acronym for "event management body of knowledge"] and started to work on competency standards, focusing more on large events, like festivals. About 75 to 80 percent of what they were developing was applicable to meetings. We took out what didn't really apply to us and were able to build on their efforts to create something that is relevant for our industry."

Scaillet expects the standards to be used to help instructors choose courses and create curriculums, and to help hiring managers develop accurate job descriptions. Kotowski added that all CMP exam materials will be revised in time for next summer's test.

The Professional Convention Management Association also will be working with the CIC to align its CMP Online Prep Course and the Professional Meeting Management textbook with the standards.

Along with the new standards, the CIC revealed a new ethics statement and policy for the CMP program, extensions of the policy that already was in place, with a definitive enforcement process now outlined. The statement must be acknowledged, and now adhered to, by all who seek the designation.

To police the process, a disciplinary subcommittee of the CMP Board is being created, made up of at least three and no more than five people, including the chair of the board and the immediate past chair.

"The policy applies to CMPs holding the designation and to whether they should continue to hold it," said Kotowski. "We have no jurisdiction over noncertified planners, other than the pretenders who put CMP after their name and aren't certified. Legally, we can make them stop."

A full process for handling complaints has been outlined, including the grounds for disciplinary action, how to file a grievance, what must be in the complaint and what happens if the complaint is without merit. To view the statement and the accompanying disciplinary policy, visit and