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MPI strengthens presence in Europe and breaks conference attendance records

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is celebrating its growth in Europe and record-breaking attendance at …

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is celebrating its growth in Europe and record-breaking attendance at the 2004 Professional Education Conference-Europe (PEC-E). With 502 attendees from 26 countries, the 2004 PEC-E is MPI`s largest education event in Europe, bypassing the 2001 PEC-E in Paris, France, which had 424 attendees.

The past year featured many accomplishments and growth for MPI in Europe. Part of that optimism is directly related to the desire to establish a framework to ensure MPI`s position as the leading professional society in the European industry.

More attention and work has been put into broadening the awareness of the importance of meetings in doing business throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

Our member base in Europe is strong and growing stronger, said Colin Rorrie, Jr., Ph.D., CAE, president and CEO of MPI. Currently in Europe we have more than 1,200 members in 10 chapters and affiliates, and we`re hoping to see those numbers expand as meetings – and those who produce them – become a significant force in business. In accordance with our strategic plan, MPI is aiming to strengthen our Pan-European presence with planners, executive decision-makers and suppliers.

The association is celebrating its growth in Europe with the following accomplishments this past year:

  • In the fall of 2003, MPI`s European Council focused on developing a new European business plan that will elevate awareness of MPI globally and help implement MPI`s strategic plan. Entitled Pathways to Excellence, the strategic plan is designed to fundamentally change our industry and take meetings to the next level of professionalism, recognition and inclusion in the business world.

    1. The three core objectives are:

    2. To create professional development pathways and resources to support
    3. evolution toward positions of strategic understanding and importance.

    4. Increase influence about the value of meetings with senior decision-making executives at corporations, associations and organizations.

    5. Intensify business opportunities for supplier members. The plan was accepted by the International Board of Directors in January 2004, thus setting a vision for association programs, services and operational approaches in Europe.

  • The MPI Foundation launched Project Europe, designed to expand education opportunities for meeting professionals and students, encourage standardization of meeting industry practices, and promote the value of meetings within Europe. IMEX partnered with the MPI Foundation as the lead sponsor of Project Europe and will assist in the advancement of the meeting industry with joint marketing initiatives, research and more. Project Europe will also include development of student scholarships; advancement of the Certification of Meeting Management (CMM) and Certification of Meeting Professional (CMP) programs across Europe; identification of a meetings` industry speaker database/resource; development of education modules; and expansion of the current European Standards program, to include VAT, licensing and insurance issues.

  • The MPI Women`s Leadership Initiative (WLI), in partnership with IMEX, announced a breakthrough European research study aimed at female meeting professionals. The study will gather significant data on challenges faced by European women wanting to advance their careers as meeting professionals. Research began in early March, and results will be announced at IMEX 2004, 12-14 May in Frankfurt, Germany.

  • MPI`s Multicultural Initiative launched an unprecedented global economic impact and database profile research study, aimed at the development of a comprehensive, worldwide database of all multicultural organizations that conduct meetings and events. This database fulfills the Initiative`s objective to promote global business-to-business opportunities. Results from the economic impact study will be announced in late 2004, and the initial database is scheduled for completion within one year. In addition, the Multicultural Initiative and IMEX held a focus group about multicultural issues at PEC-Europe, with the findings to be reported at IMEX.

  • MPI`s International Board of Directors approved the charter for MPI France, the association`s 61st chapter. In 2004, the Board approved the MPI Finland chapter-in-formation, bringing MPI`s total membership to 65 chapters and affiliates. Other chapters in Europe include Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italia, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands and United Kingdom.

  • MPI continues to grow its relationships with European sponsors, Abbit, EIBTM, IMEX, Le Meridien, Radisson SAS and Starwood. Each partnership is in alignment with the overall strategic plan to intensify educational and business opportunities for members.

  • FutureWatch 2004, a comparative annual outlook from MPI and American Express, revealed encouraging projections of larger meeting budgets and more international travel in 2004. Planners and suppliers equally forecast an average 4 percent growth in spending and revenue. U.S. planners predict 22 percent of all meetings will be international, up 11 percent from 2003, primarily to Europe and Canada (7 and 5 percent respectively).

  • MPI has selected the host city and dates for the 2005 Professional Education Conference-Europe, which will be held 10-12 April at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

Ann Holmes, CMM, 2003-2004 European Council president, added, MPI provides its members with best practices, education and business opportunities, plus tools needed to execute strategic, effective meetings that provide a return on investment for their organizations, says. It`s been so rewarding to see the influence MPI has had in Europe, and now with our further expansion, MPI will bring even more value to its European members and the international meeting industry.

Theodore Koumelis
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