June eFocus Print



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President's Message

Hello Chapter Members,

Almost a year ago I was asked what’s your Mantra? If you were at the Awards Night last year you heard it. My mantra for my 2017-2018 MPITBA year was an old saying I had come across “What if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” While many of us are in the middle of the 2018 year your Board of Directors and myself are coming to the end of our legacy and term of serving you as leaders of this chapter. A year ago it was exciting and we welcomed the challenge. We innovated, we persevered and we served. We had hurdles such as Irma that tried to stall us but come on… not only are we Meeting Professionals, ready for any challenge but we are Floridians! I am immensely proud of where we have been and were we are today and you should be to!

I had the honor or representing the MPITBA chapter at the WEC 2018 alongside many of your incoming board members. Global did an exceptional job trying new things and carried out the message of inspiration, ideation and activation. While I sat at a table with many of our chapter members waiving Tampa Bay Bucs flags with pride at an afternoon pep rally I saw our Sunshine Education Summit broadcasted across a massive screen and it got me even more pumped for our own regional conference. Shortly after returning from WEC, I received my monthly issue of The Meeting Professional and found a three page article all about SES! Make sure to check it out as well as register soon!  

Thank you to those that sponsored and attended our first Yappy Hour this month! It was a huge success and we were able to not only get two adorable puppies adopted but also raise $2100 for the Tampa Bay Humane Society! Our next event is our Annual Awards Gala- Mermaids, Matey’s and MPI! I am so excited to present the 2017-2018 Awards and celebrate the incredible year we have had. We will be recognizing our Rising Star, Volunteer of the Year, Meeting Planner and Professional of the Year and our Top Sponsors and Committee. The Florida Aquarium and the Gala Committee are putting together an evening of wonder and beauty and I look forward to sharing our celebration with you!

It has been a remarkable year and unforgettable two-years as your Chapter President. Following the Gala I will be passing the gavel and presidency onto Sara Melvin, CMP, your new 2018-2019 Chapter President. Sara and her remarkable Board of Directors are ready for a legendary year and I am honored to continue to serve as Immediate Past President under her leadership. Thank you to the Board of Directors that I have served with and the mentors that have helped me lead the best to my ability.  “Create your legacy, and pass the baton.” Billie Jean King


Ashley Valentine, CMP

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Calendar of Events


Join us on Thursday, June 28th at 6pm at the Florida Aquarium as we celebrate an incredible year and our wonderful members!
Mermaids, Mateys, and MPI will be a night to remember!
Experience the world-class Florida Aquarium, amazing food and beverage, silent auction, entertainment and more! 
Bring a friend and receive $5 off early bird admission for you and your guest! Registration includes a welcome drink and one complimentary beverage of your choice.  Cash bar will also be provided.
Don’t miss out on our biggest event of the year- come celebrate and we’ll SEA you on June 28th!

Cocktail attire suggested




MPI Tampa Bay Area After 5
“Painting with a Fish” at Waterline Resort

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club
5325 Marina Drive,

Holmes Beach, FL 34217
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Learn Gyotaku – The Traditional Japanese Art of Painting Fish with Actual Fish at the beautiful new Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club. 

Registration includes networking, 1 complimentary beverage, appetizers and Painting with a Fish class

$30 Per Member
$35 Per Non-Member 
Raffle: Cash only! $1 for 1 Ticket. $5 for 6 Tickets. $10 for 12 Tickets.

Members that bring a new perspective member receive a free raffle ticket!

Painting with a Fish  - Watch a video HERE
Dive in deep, and create your own nautical fish rub using a modern spin on the artistic Gyotaku, a traditional Japanese art.

(Japanese, from gyo "fish" + taku "rubbing") is the traditional method of Japanese fish printing, dating from the mid-1800s.

Learn how to use real fish to make one-of-a-kind prints. Discover the elements of creating a fish print using direct fish rubbing on fabric. It has long been Kelly Moore Hunt’s passion to share what she knows and loves about our finned friends, gyotaku and the Gulf of Mexico. All materials will be provided. Bring home your own artwork!




July Education Lunch

Strategic Planning for Success – An Interactive Group Experience
Please join us for MPI Tampa Bay Area Chapter’s education program on July 25 at Collaborative Labs at St. Petersburg College – this will be unlike any program our chapter has hosted! There are only 75 seats available - so sign up TODAY!

Program Overview:

Featuring unique facilitation, strategic planning and problem-solving technologies, July’s program offers an opportunity to be part of an influential and immersive experience that will provide you with valuable deliverables and best practices to apply to your professional life while helping to create some of our chapter’s future goals and objectives.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn to work with stakeholders, create goal statements to specify how to define success and achieve event/organization’s mission.
  • Gain knowledge of tools and resources available for strategic planning for event/meeting/organization.
  • Learn to develop a business continuity or long-term plan

1.0 clock hours of Continuing Education (CE) - Domain A- Strategic Planning

MPITBA has aligned this program with the EIC Domain A: Strategic Planning; this is for self-reporting purposes and has not been pre-approved with EIC.

Networking Opportunity! Are you looking for a way to get the most out of your networking opportunity? Sign up to be a table host when registering (available as an add on). For just $40, you'll lead the table discussion, be acknowledged as a host, get a special table in the networking area and provide marketing materials and giveaways to your tablemates!

Thank you to our MPITBA Education Committee Meeting Venue Sponsors!

Thank you to our event sponsors:

You are invited to attend the Sunshine Education Summit 2018 (SES), where the business of meetings and events showcases the resources, beauty and energy of Florida. Formerly known as Southeast Educational Conference (SEC),SES remains a cooperative effort between the four MPI Florida Chapters (Tampa, Orlando, North Florida and South Florida).

This year's conference will feature cutting-edge industry education that addresses the hottest topics and issues affecting meetings and events professionals—at all levels—through learning styles that range from invigorating keynotes to interactive classes.

We have a great line-up of keynote speakers and entertainment including:

  • Keynote Speaker, Ken Rutkowski, Co-Founder of nationally syndicated “Business Rockstars”
  • Keynote Speaker, Danielle Baker, Certified Body Language Coach and Trainer at the Science of People
  • Emcee, Michelle Johnson, The Anchor Group
  • DJ Roonie G


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Membership News

Buy 4 Education Programs, Get 1 Free 

2018 -2019 Program Dates

July 25, 2018                          Collaborative Labs at St. Petersburg College, Clearwater, Florida (luncheon)

September 19, 2018               Historic Manhattan Casino, St. Petersburg, Florida (luncheon)

November 7, 2018                 Fenway Hotel, Dunedin, Florida (luncheon)

February 13, 2019                  Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa, Florida (luncheon)

May 15, 2019                         Location To Be Announced (evening program)

Price: $160.00

Limited Time Only – Must Book Before July 25, 2018!

Once the season pass is purchased, our chapter administrator will send you instructions for registering.

Seasons Pass is good for ONLY 5 monthly education meetings during the 2018-2019 MPI year.  Actual meeting dates are subject to change and a meeting may be changed to an upcoming networking event based on the final schedule for the fiscal year.
Please note this is not valid for Meetings Academy or Special Events.  
This purchase is not transferable to any other member or colleague.

Education topics and speakers will be announced for future programs at a later date, please stay tuned!


 Please give new members a warm Tampa Bay MPI welcome.

Please welcome the following new members who joined MPI Tampa Bay Area in April 

Tracy Norwood, Senior Sales Manager, Marriott Hotels
Mark Pinson, CEO, Event Hut
Jennifer Toller, Business Development Manager, Destination MCO, Inc.
Daniel Walsh, National Sales Manager, Ponte Verde Inn & Club
Susan Trembal, Director of National Accounts, Saddlebrook Resort

Please welcome the following new members who joined MPI Tampa Bay Area in May-

Susan Armstrong, Manager of Corporate Meetings, Visit Florida
Eric Dennis, Sales Manager, Beach House Suites by the Don CeSar
Dayle Fabrizio, Sales Manager, McKibbon Hotels
Heidi Thixton, Catering Sales Manager, The Don CeSar

Congratulations to our Members as we celebrate their membership Anniversaries!


15 Years  - Christopher Giblin, Sr. Director, Global Accounts, Helms Briscoe
5 Years - Andrea Suffredini, Sr. Executive Assistant to the President, Gerdau/USF  Brandon Marshall, Corporate Director of Sales, Epicurean Hotel


20 Years - Richard Miseyko, President, SIte Search, Inc.
5 Years - Laurie Powell, Vice President, EventPower 
Xiomara Rivas, Planner, Paragon Events

Debbie Renone, President/Owner, Resort Sports, Inc

Have a friend who could benefit from our networking and events? When you refer a friend and they join using MyFriendMPI they will receive $50 off their membership. You will receive a $25 referral credit that you may apply towards their next renewal.  


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Sponsorship & Partnership Opportunities

The Sunshine Education Summit will be held this year on August 22 - 24 at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa.  Each year a silent auction is held to raise funds for the respective Florida MPI Chapters. This well-attended event is an excellent opportunity to showcase your products and services, plus help raise money for our chapter.

Suggestions for Donations include:

        Accommodations - Meals - Spa Treatments - Car Rentals - Gift Certificates - Airfare - Meeting Space - Clothing - Event Certificates - Limosines - Cruises - Paintings - Rounds of Golf - Gift Baskets -Sports/Collectible Memorabilia

In order for our chapter to receive the benefit of your donation, we must receive your commitment by Thursday, July 5, 2018. 

 Please email photos of the items in one of the following formats: .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, or .png and send the certificate/letter/tickets or items, 2 rack brochures and /or promotional material, if applicable.  Please note all restrictions and blackout dates, and an estimated DOLLAR VALUE of each item.  Also, please note the dates of validity (9/1/18 – 8/31/19) on all certificates.

Please send all material to the attention of Wayne Childs at wchilds@plantationoncrystalriver.com by July 5th.

Another SES Opportunity!  

We have an exciting offer for exhibit tables at Sunshine Education Summit. June 19th – July 2nd we are offering tabletop displays for suppliers for only $500 or a spot to participate on our Educational Hosted Buyer Program which also includes 1 conference registration and a tabletop display throughout the conference. That’s $250 off the regular price!   The tabletop displays are open throughout the conference in our Connections Café and available for networking with attendees during breaks and lunches.    

The Educational Hosted Buyer option will help you build meaningful relationships and get business done. Apply here.

We also offer sponsorship packages featuring different ways to engage attendees – from speaker introductions to room drops – we’ve got options.

Our team is ready to help you make the right choice for your brand. We've even put together a letter that will help you make your case to your boss. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact Whitney Feather, Director of Business Development, at wfeather@mpiweb.org or via phone at (352) 318-2096


Get your company name out there while connecting with your fellow MPI Tampa Bay Area members! Sponsor an event or advertise on our website!  

We have a number of opportunities that will fit any budget and objective. Just reach out to Wayne Childs, Director of Cash Sponsorship & Advertising at wchilds@plantationoncrystalriver.com. Follow this link to our Cash Sponsorship and Advertising Packet:




Take advantage of our 2-part Table Host/Sponsor Program!           

You will receive ...

MAXIMUM exposure at the next MPI Education Luncheon.

PART 1: Registration/Networking Hour - Showcase your business & promote your specials!

PART 2:  Education Luncheon - Gather your colleagues and prospects at your reserved table. Spotlight your business and facilitate the conversation during lunch. Bring fabulous gifts for your tablemates so they don’t forget you! The emcee will recognize your business too!

During the on-line registration for the Education click the “Add-on” Table Host/Sponsor ($40.00)

Reserve your Sponsor Table Today!


Judy Mockabee

 This is a call to action for everyone. We are searching for Out-of-Industry Sponsors for events. If each of you could provide us with just one prospect, we can reach our goal, and add value to our meetings.

So we are asking for referral and leads from each of you. It could be clients, financial planners, gyms, veterinarians, insurance, or any company that would bring benefit to our organization, and would like to address the awesome buying power of MPI.

Please send at least one prospective lead to Wayne Childs – wchilds@plantationoncrystalriver.com  

Thank you for your help and support!



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Committee and Other News


MPITBA enjoyed a wonderful annual board retreat experience with thanks to our host DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Augustine Historic District.  With the 2018-2019 theme of “Be Legendary”, this destination was a perfect location to reflect on the legends that came before us and plan for continued greatness! 
Maggie Goller, Director of Sales and Lane Shaffer, Executive Assistant showcased this wonderful property and introduced MPITBA board members to a succession of amenities and benefits.  With thanks to the entire staff and GM Matthew McAlister, too!  The board enjoyed teambuilding on the pool deck and happily took advantage of the hotel’s complimentary downtown shuttle pass! The group got to enjoy a historic walking tour and dinner around downtown while preparing for the incredible year ahead!
Please be sure to visit the link below to learn more about the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel St. Augustine Historic District or email Maggie Goller at Maggie.Goller@hilton.com.  A perfect location for your next board meeting or retreat!

Volunteering with Global Impact

Volunteers power MPI - WE NEED YOU!

On the chapter and global level, you will find MPI volunteers bringing passion for their profession to the community.  Through volunteer roles, MPI members forge meaningful connections, take leadership roles, and contribute to the industry. Please contact Kevin Egan our Membership Chair to find out more at kevin.egan@egantlc.com 


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