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the heartland beat

The kids from Operation Breakthrough’s children’s choir

Aesha Beattle checks out after winning auction items

Missy Johnson, CMP passes the President’s gavel to Robin O’Connor Members of the 2011 Board as installed by Roger Sherwood

Amy Harper, CMP and Brad Plumb, CMP

Shannon Henson, Julie Green & Lauren Harlen

2011 Installation & Awards Gala


Imagine dining in a ballroom where Charles Lindbergh once spoke to dinner guests. That was the very location for the February 3rd Annual Meeting & Installation of the Board of Directors for the Heartland Chapter of PCMA. Hosted by the Hilton President Kansas City and sponsored by the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau, chapter members braved the inclement weather outside and were welcomed into the inviting Congress Ballroom at one of Kansas City’s most iconic hotels for a wonderful reception and dinner. As always, a Silent & Live auction was held with a portion of the proceeds benefitting St. Vincent’s Operation Breakthrough. Children from the Operation Breakthrough Children’s Choir even sang to the dinner attendees. What a delight! Outgoing President Missy Johnson, CMP, American Academy of Family Physicians, passed the gavel to 2011 Chapter President, Robin O’Connor, HelmsBriscoe and in doing so kicked off another great year for the Heartland Chapter. PCMA Emeritus Member, Roger Sherwood, installed the 2011 Heartland Chapter Board during the event. Chapter awards were distributed for Continuing Chapter Involvement (Mary Ryan, Kansas

City Convention & Visitors Association), the “Makes It Happen” Member (Vicki Comegys, Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau), Chapter Supporter (The National Association of Insurance Commissioners), and Chapter Member of the Year (Jennifer Lion, CMP, Experient). The chapter also wishes to extend a special thanks to Belinda Waldo for her amazing work in coordinating the logistics for the evening’s event, Brad Plumb for serving as our event emcee, Carrie Stricker for running our live auction, Phil Allemang for his assistance with our awards, TriStar Publishing for putting together our event program and Bobby Riggins from Agenda:Kansas City for producing a stellar chapter slideshow that was presented during dinner.

President Kansas City

2011 Heartland Chapter Board of Directors

A Message From Our President ...


Dear Heartland Chapter,

Robin O’Connor Manager, Global Accounts HelmsBriscoe

We are well on our way to another great year for our chapter and a new year always brings excitement, fresh ideas, a chance to grow and build on the successes of the previous year! I want to thank Missy Johnson again for her leadership in 2010 and all the volunteers that make our chapter a great family!


We had a wonderful Installation Dinner and successful Silent Auction on February 3rd at the Hilton President Kansas City Hotel. It was a beautiful setting thanks to Sher Wolf at the Hilton President, the attentive hotel staff and the hard work of Belinda Waldo, Kari Ziblut, Michelle Murdock, Brad Plumb, Bobby Riggins, Roger Sherwood, Nonie Lowery and Jennifer Lion.

Mary Ryan Convention Sales Manager Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association

Immediate Past-President Missy Johnson, CMP Manager, Meeting Services American Academy of Family Physicians

Treasurer Vicki Comegys Vice President of Sales & Services Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau


I have been asked by many to share my remarks and goals for those who were not able to attend: As some of you know, in 1986 I started in this business as a college intern from K-State with what is now the Kansas City CVA. Because of that experience and the opportunity it provided me, I feel strongly about engaging our student members in our chapter events. With help from Kristin Kimbrel and Kate Turner, I plan to get our students more involved with specific tasks and identify other possible hospitality student members. Who better to help us improve our presence in social media sites and keeping us “old timers” updated on what our future leaders need from us? We must continue with the great work the Board and Committees have done this past year under Missy’s guidance to bring financial stability back to our chapter. It is my hope that we will have another great year and can give back even more to our community. I know Stephanie Deel and Vanessa Kane are ready for a great year as our Community Service Chairs - continuing our traditions as well as addressing new possibilities.

Ronda Vaughn, CMP Director of Meeting Services Optimist International

As we all know, PCMA prides itself in offering excellent educational programs. With the continued leadership of Jennifer Lion coupled with the passion of Michelle Stoeppler, we are looking forward to a great year of programs and special events!


It is always exciting to get new volunteers to help with our Committees, but it is also important to have the wisdom and insight from those who have been an active part of our chapter. I’m excited that we have so many dedicated Past-Presidents willing to serve and assist us by participating on our Past-President’s Task Force. I plan to meet with them on a quarterly basis for help with specific tasks or just to check in and get their feedback on how they feel we can continue to improve as a chapter.

Marilyn Koehler (thru 12/31/12) Director of National Accounts Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau Sherie L. Howell, CMP, CMM, CGMP (thru 12/31/12) Conference Manager A-S-K Associates, Inc. Amy Harper, CMP (thru 12/31/12) Senior Meeting Planner National Association of Insurance Commissioners Kristen Kimbrel, CMP (thru 12/31/13) Sr. Meeting Planner American Academy of Family Physicians Jennifer Lion, CMP (thru 12/31/13) Meeting & Event Manager Experient Michelle Stoeppler-Taylor (thru 12/31/13) Holiday Inn Select St. Louis Downtown Convention Center

We all enjoy reading the Heartland Beat, which keeps us up to date on the chapter’s latest activities. I’m so grateful Missy has agreed to chair this committee with the assistance of Jenny Conrad as Co-Chair. They have already come up with some great ideas to enhance our communication with our members. I was so happy Lauren Harlan and Marilyn Koehler stepped up to the plate to Chair our Awards and Scholarship Committee. We plan to evaluate the tasks of this committee and develop ideas to encourage members to become more pro-active in recognizing outstanding achievement in our chapter throughout the year and identifying those who may be suitable for scholarship opportunities. I don’t have to say much about our Membership Committee this year due to their expertise. Karin Robinson and Belinda Waldo have already started the planning on 2 exciting membership events in Kansas City and St. Louis. They will continue to develop ideas on recruiting new members throughout the year and keeping our current members satisfied. My chapter goals would not be complete without addressing the great work our Sponsorship Committee has done the past few years, especially during difficult financial times. I know they will continue to be successful this year and for years to come. Michelle Murdock, Kari Ziblut and Teresa Hellman not only played a huge part in the success of our dinner and silent auction, but they will continue to generate sponsorships and support for our events all year. Lastly, I want to thank everyone for their support of me as your 2011 President. This chapter has been my home for many years. Although I couldn’t officially join until I moved to St. Louis due to market assignments, I have always attended events and knew this is the place for me. Many of you have helped me celebrate the good times and supported me through tough times. I can’t thank you enough for that. You are my extended family and I want everyone to have the same feeling about our chapter as I have felt for many years. The word Heart in our chapter name does not just reflect our location; it reflects the love, encouragement and support that our members provide each other. Together we are stronger than we could ever be alone. Here’s to a terrific and prosperous 2011! Cheers, Robin O’Connor 2011 PCMA Heartland Chapter President



A Note From Our President, Robin O’Connor On behalf of the 2011 PCMA Heartland Board of Directors, I would like to thank the chairs and co-chairs listed at the right for volunteering to lead committees this year. We are looking forward to a great year of programs, community service projects, membership events and comprehensive communication!  We could not do anything without our dedicated volunteers - thanks to you all! Thanks too to the following people who are serving on these committees:

Communications Lisa Miller, CMP National Cable Television Cooperative

Brian Arscott NAIC   

Alicia Miller Hilton-Americas Houston

Diana Forbes APWA

Dave Fellers Dave Fellers Consulting

Cheri Jones Vista Productions, Inc.

Programs Amy Harper NAIC

Phil Arbuckle MeetingTrack Inc.

Brad Plumb, CMP Overland Park Convention & Visitors Bureau Alicia Miller Hilton-Americas Houston Community Service Amy Brewster JW Marriott Desert Ridge   

Rose Lenk Experient

Belinda Waldo ALHI

Jeff Gassaway Tampa CVB

Sherie Howell ASK Associates Carrie Stricker Independent Planner Kristen Kimbrel AAFP

Fergal O’Sullivan Marriott Global Sales    

Vicki Comegys Des Moines CVB

Liron Bendor BCD  

Erin Schmitz Waterloo CVB

Tyler Adkins Ewing Consulting Breana Hennes Student Member, Kansas State University Sponsorship Teresa Hellman, CMP Experient

I’m also very excited and pleased to announce that Dr. Betsy Barrett, Associate Professor, Kansas State University has agreed to assist our chapter as our Student Membership Board Liaison! We welcome Dr. Barrett’s expertise and enthusiasm!

Do You Know Our New Members? December Nina Yon, CMP Dir. of Global Business Development, Florida Hospital’s Nicholson Center for Surgical Advancement

Jack Wagner Director of Sales, Ungerboeck Systems, Inc. Megan Finnell Meeting Planner, Applied Measurement Professionals

Tim Cox Director, Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau Diana Forbes Meeting Planner, APWA Dana Priddy Director of Meetings, APWA Angela Kimmel Sales Manager, Northstar Meeting Group Ryan Rogowski Sales Manager, Norman CVB Lenny Brubaker Director of Sales, Joplin CVB Dr. Godwin Charles Ogbeide Asst. Professor, University of Arkansas

January Kendra Murray President, Account Service Group Inc. Deborah Cohen Director of Meetings and Conventions, Branson Lakes Area CVB Victoria Green Student, K-State Carole Myers Meeting Planner, Society of Gynecologic Surgeons FEBRUARY Elizabeth Huston Sales Manager, Indianapolis CVB

2011 Heartland Chairs Awards and Scholarship Lauren Harlan, Co-Chair International Association of Assessing Officers Marilyn Koehler, Co-Chair Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau

Emerging Leaders Kristen Kimbrel, CMP, Chair American Academy of Family Physicians Kate Turner, Co-Chair International Association of Fairs and Expositions

Communications Missy Johnson, CMP, Chair American Academy of Family Physicians Jenny Conrad, CMP, Co-Chair Gateway Center

Community Service Stephanie Deel, Co-Chair San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter & Riverwalk Hotels Vanessa Kane, CMP, CMM, Co-Chair Veterans of Foreign Wars

Membership Karin Robinson, CMP, Chair American Academy of Family Physicians Belinda Waldo, Co-Chair Associated Luxury Hotels Incorporated

Programs Jennifer Lion, CMP, Chair Experient Michelle Stoeppler, Co-Chair Holiday Inn Select St. Louis Downtown Convention Center

Sponsorship Chair Michelle Murdock, Chair Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa Kari Ziblut, CMP, Co-Chair University of Kansas Medical Center

Past President’s Task Force Belinda Waldo, Chair Associated Luxury Hotels Incorporated Dale Shuter, CMP, Co-Chair Electrical Apparatus Service Association


K-State Student Chapter Happenings The KSU PCMA Chapter is working on their first annual fundraiser. Through an idea they saw in Convene Magazine, they are sponsoring the Wine to Water organization by hosting a Wine and Cheese Social on April 28th. 100%

of the proceeds are donated to 3rd world countries to help them source clean water. Prior to that event they will be reaching out to incoming freshman at their open house celebration, April 16th.

isor), Carlie Weibert, Kristin L to R: Dr. Elizabeth Barrett (Adv son Smith, Breana Hennes, Kolbie John

KCMIC Speaker’s Showcase By Brad Plumb, CMP, Overland Park CVB

Maybe one of the hardest decisions a meeting planner has to make is booking the speaker. You can veiw the hotel room, taste the food, and ride on the bus, but how do you know that the speaker that looked good in the brochure or sounded good on the video is going to “wow” your audience? Recommendations are helpful, especially from a trusted source, but nothing compares to being in the audience and seeing that speaker on stage. This is the reason that for the last three years the Kansas City Meetings Industry Council (KCMIC) has hosted a Speakers Showcase. On February 24th, we had the opportunity to see 10 of the best speakers from the Kansas City area at the Westin Crown Center and sponsored by the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau. If you were to add all of their fees together, we witnessed $45,000 worth of orators. Each speaker was given 12 minutes to share with the group a small sample of how they might connect with one of our audiences. Before it was over we were motivated, inspired, humored and trained. The audience laughed and cried and took plenty of notes along the way. Perhaps as valuable as seeing the speaker on stage is the opportunity to visit with them one-on-one during the break. Can you tailor your talk? Do you have a book? Have you ever spoken to a group like mine? These are the


questions asked by the planners. In a fun and informal atmosphere interviews took place to determine if ‘that speaker’ might be the one their organization talks about for years to come. It all comes down to trust and this was an opportunity to determine if we could trust them with one of our most valued professional possessions, our own audience. There was even great value for those attendees that didn’t have the direct responsibility of hiring speakers. It’s good for all of us to have some ideas for a last minute replacement or to know about the presenter with that special something in case we’re ever asked. A little bit of speaker knowledge is a good thing. Each year a different member of the Meetings Industry Council is responsible for hosting the showcase. A special thanks goes to PCMA and specifically Teresa Hellman for being this year’s chair of the showcase. Kelly Tyler and Chuc Barnes with the National Speakers Association coordinated the speakers. Kelly was also one of the speakers and Chuc was our emcee for the morning. If you hire speakers and trainers, or want to know about the best speakers in the region consider the Meeting Industry Council’s Speakers Showcase in 2012.

L to R: Kelly Tyler, Anne Deuschle, Holly Mortim

er, Teresa Hellman, CMP

Membership Survey Results We have just conducted the first membership satisfaction survey in over 4 years and we are thrilled with the results! Thank you to those members who took time to complete the quick 10-question survey online. Over 61% of you are Very or Extremely Satisfied with your chapter membership. Over 56% of you find the opportunity to network with your peers the most beneficial

characteristic of your membership. A whopping 85.2% of you prefer to receive communication about chapter events and information via e-mail over any other method. 79% of you are Very or Extremely Satisfied with the leadership/board of the chapter. These and other results will help us to create the best programs and events with your needs/wants in mind.

Overall, how satisfied are you with your membership in the PCMA Heartland Chapter?

What Happens in Vegas… Chapter member, Kari Ziblut, CMP, was awarded a scholarship to attend the PCMA Convening Leaders meeting in January in Las Vegas supported by a grant from PCMA Headquarters. Kari also recently spoke to members of our PCMA Student chapter at K-State. Below are the recaps from her experiences…

Chapter member, Kari Ziblut, CMP

It’s always been important to me to attend the national conferences of my professional association. I love the networking opportunities, the opportunities to learn a few tricks I didn’t know, pick up those coveted CEU’s and in some respects I feel that by attending I am giving back to the industry that has given me so much over the years. I think every member of PCMA ought to attend the Annual Meeting – Convening Leaders –as often as possible. That being said in the current economy we all know it’s not going to happen. Budgets get cut, jobs get cut, and the opportunity for our employer to send us to conferences doesn’t happen like it used to. As this year’s recipient of the Chapter Scholarship I felt very grateful and very privileged to represent the Heartland Chapter in Las Vegas. PCMA puts on a truly exceptional conference. They offered us great general sessions, a wide variety of educational sessions, excellent speakers, and fun networking events (although it was pretty darn cold at the closing night reception outside at The Venetian.) One thing I love about PCMA is that they always try to “one up” themselves from the previous year by adding new things. This year the Learning Lounge was quite a treat. I got so much out of being able to talk to people who have way more technology know how than I do. I learned so much in a very small amount of time. It was an exceptional experience. And I can safely say – I did nothing in Vegas that needs to stay in Vegas!

Speaking at K-State There’s nothing I love more than the drive up K – 177 into Manhattan. The Flint Hills are incredible no matter what time of year you pass through them so I was thrilled to be asked to speak to our PCMA student members and make that drive on Feb. 17th. And of course being a K-State alum – it’s always good to “go home.” These students are so fun to be around and genuinely seemed interested in what I had to say. Having spent 12 years in the hotel industry, going from front desk clerk to CSM, and now having been a planner for over 15 years I realized there might be a thing or two I could pass on to them. I wanted to tell them that this industry offers so many different opportunities. I started out as a travel agent, went to hotels and ended up as a meeting and event planner. It’s been an amazing journey and it still continues today. I wanted them to know that this is an industry of customer service first and foremost, and sometimes it’s an industry that can beat you up but if it’s for you, it gets in your blood and you never want to leave it. Whether you want to stay on the supplier side or be a part of the planner side there is truly a niche for almost everyone. And lastly I encouraged them to really be an active participant in the industry. Get involved and stay involved and it will make a tremendous difference in their career. Hopefully I gave them something to think about.

The Rouge Lounge inside MGM Grand Las Vegas was the perfect venue for our annual chapter reception at Convening Leaders on Sunday, January 9th co-sponsored by the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association and the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Bureau. Chapter members from all over our 6 state region were gathered together at the kick-off of the Annual Meeting for a unique networking opportunity. Chapter members also competed in the Chapter Challenge on Tuesday afternoon.

Denise DeJulio and Steve Stickford with the KCCVA and the STLCVB

Kari Ziblut, Kevin O’Keefe & Vanessa Kane


L to R: Jennifer Lion, Diana Forbes, Amy Harper and

Kristen Kimbrel

Mark your calendar for these upcoming chapter events: May 12 – 4:30-6pm Kansas City Membership Event Kansas Speedway

August 4 – 6-9pm 10th Annual Heartland Chapter Bowl-a-Thon & School Supply Drive for Operation Breakthrough Mission Bowl

June 9 – 9am-1pm A ‘Day on the Farm’ with Operation Breakthrough Deanna Rose Farmstead

October 13 – 11:30am-1:30pm St. Louis Educational Event – Speaker TBD Sponsored by Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau Location TBD

June 17 – 7-10pm St. Louis Membership Event Busch Stadium: KC Royals vs. St. Louis Cardinals baseball game

November 10 – 4:30-6:30pm 10th Annual Heartland Chapter ‘State of the Industry’ Panel Sponsored by Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau Marriott Overland Park

July 14 – 4:30-6:30pm ‘Best in Class’ Educational Program – Speaker TBD Sponsored by Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau Intercontinental Kansas City

Around the Region

If you have events happening in your city, please email them to Cheri Jones, CMP at We would love to highlight exciting things happening in your town.

Arkansas – The Natural State

Iowa – The Hawkeye State

Elvis at 21 Exhibit comes to Clinton Presidential Library June 4 Elvis at 21, Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer reveals images without a hint of irony or visual comment. We are scarcely aware of the photographer, though he is always present. We are there before Elvis became an icon and constant security created walls between him and his fans. Al Wertheimer chose to capture 21-year old Elvis Presley on the threshold of super stardom not because he was a fan, but because he was a student of human nature, because he was curious and because, like Elvis, he could be swept up by the purity of experience. The exhibit will be on display June 4 - August 21.

Cedar Rapids – Will begin building a convention center scheduled to open February 2013.

Wetlands project to enhance Clinton Presidential Library site The William E. “Bill” Clark Presidential Park Wetlands project will restore 13 acres of wetlands along the Arkansas River adjacent to the Clinton Presidential Library in downtown Little Rock and provide unprecedented public access to conservation, tourism, educational, environmental, and wildlife opportunities, featuring pedestrian trails and an elevated walkway to the entire site. The wetlands will also include two bridges offering spectacular views of the Arkansas River, the channel stream and habitats. Little Rock Zoo penguin exhibit to open March 2011 The Laura P. Nichols Penguin Pointe exhibit will open this March and will be one of the most exciting additions to come to the Little Rock Zoo, featuring African Penguins on a natural rocky beach. Guests can view the penguins from both above water and under water and children can crawl through a special viewing area to see them up close as they swim under water.

Kansas – The Sunflower State

Missouri – The Show Me State Missouri can “Show Us” a lot these days. The St Louis area is seeing their downtown transform with a $3.7 billion spent in revitalization efforts. Jefferson City – Truman Hotel and Conference Center recently completed an update to its main building guest rooms and meeting space.

Oklahoma – The Sooner State Tulsa – Hyatt Regency has just taken over the Crowne Plaza hotel. Improvements are being made to all the guestrooms. Oklahoma City – A new Aloft property will be built in 2011 and include 12,000 square feet in meeting space. Several properties have recently opened to include the Holiday Inn Express Hotel Northwest and Staybridge Suites Quail Springs. Skirvin Hilton is celebrating their 100th year birthday this year. Built in 1911 as the Skirvin Hotel, it closed for approximately 18 years and was reopened in 2007 as the Skirvin Hilton. Norman – check out the National Weather Service tours. Very educational and certainly will make you appreciate their technology.

Topeka - Kansas Children’s Discovery Center staff is hard at work for their June 1, 2011 opening. It is located in the Gage Park area. For more details, please call 785221-7002. Wichita – The Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center and the 1922 Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview are slated to open Spring 2011. Kansas City – Check out the NEW Sporting KC Soccer Stadium that can accommodate 25,000 for concerts and offers meeting space. For more details, please call 913-387-3400. Overland Park – the Overland Park Convention Center continues to offer new amenities to their guests. These include updated teleconference technology and several green initiatives.

Chapter members around town… and guests L to R back row middle: Joe Tucker, Dale Shuter, Robin O’Connor, Ronda Vaughn Annual MPI Louis St. the at Chapter Heartland PCMA the ing represent time had a great reporters. Trivia Night. It was a Hollywood - Red Carpet theme so they went as TMZ


PCMA Heartland Spring 2011 Newsletter  

Professional Convention Management Association Newsletter: Spring 2011

PCMA Heartland Spring 2011 Newsletter  

Professional Convention Management Association Newsletter: Spring 2011