December E-Focus 2018 Print

President's Message

December 2018

Sara Melvin, CMP

As we close out 2018, I am in awe of what an incredible year this has been for MPITBA! From incredible education programs and networking events, to our world-class Meetings Academy, to the unveiling of SES and our amazing gala and holiday party and let’s not forget Yappy Hour – 2018 has been jam-packed with MPITBA fun!

Our Holiday Beach Ball was a blast! The Don CeSar was a beautiful setting and our sponsors helped bring our beach ball to life. Thank you to our holiday party committee for all their hard work on this!

I hope you’re not ready to stop celebrating the holidays just yet, because we host our Annual Ugly Sweater Party After 5 at Watervue Grill on January 17th. Registration is open now.

It’s feels crazy to type, but February is just around the corner! We have a packed calendar for you! On February 5th, we will get to experience the brand new Legacy Hotel at IMG Academy. Minutes from the world-class sports facility, this opportunity is not to be missed! The first 25 online attendees will attend for free, so sign up now! Up next we will have our 2nd Annual Yappy Hour benefitting the Humane Society of Tampa on February 9th at Franklin Manor. Last year we raised $2,100 and helped two doggies find their forever home. Come help us beat our 2019 goal and pet a pup or two! On February 13th, we’ll have our first education of the new year! Come check out the beautiful Glazer Children’s Museum and earn EIC credits towards your CMP – win, win! With so much coming up, it’s a great time to get involved in our chapter! Visit this link and fill out your information to learn more!

I hope you had a wonderful month of fun and festivities! We’ll have lots of exciting updates in the new year – Meetings Academy, our Gala, and more so stay tuned!

Cheers to the new, exciting year ahead!

Cheers & #BeLegendary!

Sara Melvin, CMP


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We had a great time at the MPI Tampa Holiday Beach Ball!!

Thank you to the The Don Cesar as our hosting Venue and to all our wonderful sponsors!  You are so appreciated! 



Join us for the MPI Tampa January After 5 - Annual Ugly Sweater Party

January 17, 2019  
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Watervue Grille 

700 Harbour Post Drive

Tampa, FL 33602

MPI Tampa Bay SOS February After 5 


Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience one of Bradenton’s newest lifestyle boutique hotels. Steps from the world-renowned IMG Academy campus, there’s a place to pursue passions, recover and rejuvenate, and breathe in modern luxury. Enjoy appetizers and a complimentary drink and experience this incredible property!

The first 25 online registrants are FREE – courtesy of LEGACY HOTEL at IMG ACADEMY and Bradenton Area CVB!

MPI Tampa Bay Chapter's Annual Community Outreach Event - Yappy Hour! - Benefiting The Humane Society of Tampa Bay

Make sure to mark your calendars and save the date for our 2nd Annual Yappy Hour. The date is February 9th from 10:30-1:30PM at Franklin Manor. The event will include entertainment, raffles, dog friendly vendors, and dog adoptions. Get your dog dressed in his or her finest apparel for the best dressed dog competition. Franklin Manor will be donating a portion of food & beverage sales to the Humane Society.  Please note this event is pet and family friendly, so everyone can come on out to support this great cause. Registration is open and tickets are $10. Admission includes access to the event and activities, one drink ticket and one raffle ticket. Along with welcome bag for the first 75 attendees. 


MPI Tampa Bay Area February Education Program


Glazer Children's Museum
110 W Gasparilla Plaza
Tampa, FL 33602





When:                  February 13, 2019

Details:                 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM

Board Meeting: 8:30 – 10:30 AM

New Member Orientation: 10:30 – 11:00 AM

Registration & Networking: 11:00 – 11:30 AM

Education Program: 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Education Committee Meeting: 1:45 – 2:15 PM

Parking:               Parking is the responsibility of the attendee
Speaker:              Matt Judge, TJC Event Solutions

Session Topic:   How to Sell a Service: It Starts with C


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

Chip Alyea, VP Business Development, Party Down Amusements

Andrea Cappelli

Kirsten Davis, CMP, Sr. Meeting Planner, Raymond James & Associates

Casey Gorman, Account Manager, The Link Event Professionals, Inc.

Nadine Leheta, Corporate Sales Manager, Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore

Lauren Perez, Owner/Mixologist, Mobile Mixology

Deborah Phillips, Executive Assistant, Star2Start Communications

Adrian Robbins, National Sales Manager, TradeWinds Island Resort


Now, until December 31, eligible non-members will receive $125 off a Preferred or Premier MPI membership.  This is the lowest price of the year and is an exceptional offer for anyone who has been considering MPI membership!

•This is a short term offer and will not be available after December 31.

•Code Holiday18: Removes $125 for NEW preferred or premier planners and supplier members. Excludes essential, students, faculty, dual and retired.

Valid from 12/5/18 to 12/31/18

MPI Tampa Bay Area is now a Preferred Provider with EIC.




Each Month we are featuring one of the MPI Tampa Bay Board Members.  We are excited to help you get to know each one of us a little better as we learn more about you!  This month we are featuring our VP of Marketing & Communications - Laurie Hill. Laurie is a Branding  & Business Development Consultant for the Collaborative Labs at St. Petersburg College and a one-year member of the MPI Tampa Bay Area Chapter. Laurie got involved fairly quickly with MPITBA when she realized that this group was a very powerful way to partner together for the needs of her clients and the community.  

We asked Laurie a few questions to learn more about her. Make sure you look for Laurie at an upcoming meeting and build a new relationship!

What is one piece of advice as a meeting planner/supplier that can share with other members?

The work I do with our clients involves helping them with goal setting and actionable strategic planning. One thing that sets the tone for every engagement we design is walking the client through understanding who the stakeholders are in what they are trying to accomplish. We help to broaden their possible invites so that it creates a more robust plan. Clients need our help to think of things in a broader perspective and to give them guidance for the best results. 

Favorite leisure time activity or hobby?

I am a cyclist, avid reader and tea connoisseur. I have owned my own tea businesses and love everything about the history, tradition, methodology and benefits of tea.  I am known for my scones and tarts and occasionally throw a tea party for friends. 

What is one thing about you that surprises people?

Probably all the things I have done in my life.  My friends have called me a renaissance woman. I don't sit still well and I like to learn - so I have learned a little about a lot of things.  I am a published author, speaker, serial entrepreneur and dabble in a lot of other areas to keep myself challenged. 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Don't take on the problems/concerns of others. It is more difficult than it sounds when you want to help others. 

What is one of your goals in the coming year?

Professionally - to educate more for-profit businesses in the benefits of using my company's processes to increase profitability.  To help make a difference on the MarCom committee for MPI. 

Personally - to allow myself more down time and help my family and friends succeed in their goals. 

Our vision and mission as a member-centric organization are focused on building those personal and business connections for you, connecting you to knowledge and ideas, relationships, and marketplaces. It’s about supporting each other, and helping each other to BUY MPI. 

The Connections Campaign is a celebration of those successful connections! 

Click HERE to find out more about how to submit connections and how you can win the yearly prize for doing so!  


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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 Angelic Hodnett, Director of Cash Sponsorship & Advertising at [email protected]. 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
[email protected]

 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 Angelic Hodnett – [email protected]

Thank you for your help and support!

Yappy Hour Sponsorship Opportunities

In June we hosted our first annual Yappy Hour and with your support we were able to raise $2,100 for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay along with getting two puppies adopted. We would love for as much chapter support as possible regarding sponsorships. Or if you could be of assistance with in kind services to enhance the event or in kind donation for raffle prizes. All sponsorship include admission to the event and exposure on our social media and website. Check out this link for more information or contact [email protected] to find out more information. CLICK HERE FOR OPPORTUNITIES!


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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. Check out the opportunities below! 

- Volunteer Opportunities: Registration at Various Events and Day of Volunteers at Yappy Hour

If you are interested in finding out more about these opportunities please contact [email protected]


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Soup is Good Food

Since I was a child, I have always loved a good bowl of soup.  I still feel it is the cure to whatever is ailing you as well as a wonderful gift to someone else who you know isn't feeling well or needs a pick-me-up! During the "colder" months in Florida, soup is a simple way to warm up your body and soul. I truly believe that what Campbells says is true, "Soup is Good Food!"  Following is a similar recipe to one I make frequently for my family and friends. Give it a try!  ~ Laurie Hill, VP of MarCom/MPITBA

Lentil Barley Soup

Ready in 55 Minutes / Serves 6

1tablespoon vegetable oil

1onion, coarsely chopped

2garlic cloves, minced

1large carrot, chopped

1stalk celery, chopped

1teaspoon dried thyme

14teaspoon dried marjoram

14teaspoon pepper


4cups vegetable stock

2cups water

1cup brown lentils or 1 cup green lentil

14cup barley

14cup fresh parsley, chopped

  1. In large saucepan or soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, carrot, celery, thyme, marjoram and pepper until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add stock, water, lentils and barley to the pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until barley and lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.
  3. Stir in chopped parsley before serving.
  4. To serve, top each serving with a dollop of yogurt/sour cream. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.


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THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR EVENT SPONSORS!  Please click on each logo to learn more about these great businesses that support MPITBA and how they can be a resource to you!  


Apricot & Merle, LLC

Cruise Planners

HI Restaurant Group

Boone Pro Events

Christie's Photographic 




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