by Sarah J.F. Braley | September 01, 2013
At Meeting Profes­sionals Interna­tional's 2013 World Education Con­gress, held in Las Vegas in July, new president and CEO Paul Van Deventer reflected on his three months with the association in a chat with M&C.

Q. What was your impression of the meetings world before you took this job, and how has that changed?

A. I had exposure to it early in my career when I was with American Express, but I had been out of it for about 10 years. I had to do a lot of research. I reached out to former colleagues and customers, and one of the reasons I'm here is because of the consistent message about the vibrance, excitement and opportunity to grow in this industry.

We at MPI need to be part of promoting the industry. We should be focused on communicating and demonstrating the economic value and scope of the industry, and getting out a consistent message about the talent that's in this business.

Q. If there's another government meetings scandal, how is MPI prepared to react?

A. MPI is working more collaboratively than in the past. We would reach out to entities like the U.S. Travel Asso­ciation to get the message out.

Q. What else does the industry need to do to shore up its voice?

A. I think that having more consistent standards would increase our credibility. I would like all of us to create more of an awareness about the certified meeting professional designation so that it's recognizable outside the industry, and it would mean more to the individual.