VA Voice - November 20, 2018 Print


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President's Report

A Message from the President:

Last month we had the pleasure of spending time in my hometown of Newport News to conduct our Mid-Year Board Retreat. The Newport News Marriott at City Center and Newport News Tourism partnered to generously sponsor our meeting space and meals throughout our two and a half day stay. Your board of directors spent time working on the chapter’s strategic business plan, shared new ideas for educational and fundraising events and checked in with each department on their goals and succession plans.

While in City Center, we experienced two nights of dining out and were spoiled by the hospitality shown at both establishments. Our first night took us to Hayashi Sushi & Grill. We were treated to a traditional hibachi-style dining experience with entertaining chefs and a gracious host. Our second night was met with some guacamole and spice at Salsa’s Mexican Grill. We enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere, fresh ingredients and a little karaoke following dinner. Each restaurant was within a short walk of the hotel which allowed us to take in the beautiful views of the fountain each night. A big thank you to Lori Coyne, former Director of Sales & Marketing at the Newport News Marriott, for hosting us and securing these amazing off-site sponsors for us, as well.

In addition to being there in October, we spent time in Newport News back in September after Hurricane Florence tried to blow us away. Our host that month was the newly renovated Holiday Inn Newport News - City Center. Their chef prepared a fabulous luncheon, but who could forget that cheesecake? Thank you to everyone who made it out on the rescheduled date. Kudos to Liz Parker and Polly Bradsher for being flexible and rolling with the hurricane winds to accommodate us. The renovation looks unbelievable and has already won awards and industry recognition.

Newport News Tourism has not only assisted with hosting our chapter these past few months, but they’ve also been a great advertising partner. Member Cheryl Morales continues to support our newsletter through a banner ad campaign that runs annually. I encourage you to take her lead and support our chapter by utilizing our digital marketing assets. We also have a fabulous Annual Conference coming up next August with open sponsorship opportunities. We are still accepting donations for the Annual Holiday Gala & Silent Auction, so that’s one more way to show your support and promote your business before the end of the year.

There’s nothing more valuable than your time and talents. If you can dedicate one hour a month to supporting a committee, we’d love to hear from you. Nominations are just around the corner, so I encourage you to please nominate yourself, or a fellow member, for any open committee or board position. Let’s continue making the MPI Virginia Chapter the very best it can be!

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Linné Diiorio, CMP
Chapter President

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Upcoming Events

Join us for the 2018 MPI Virginia Holiday Gala – “Toyland” 
Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump
Richmond, VA
December 12th - 6:00 p.m.
Black Tie Optional

Register now for this signature MPI Virginia Chapter December event! We encourage you to bring a guest or guests! This is sure to be a wonderful holiday celebration that you can enjoy with your spouse, significant other or your office teammates. The evening’s attire is black-tie optional, and we do ask that your guests be at least 21 years of age.

We will once again have our raffle tickets available for sale (one for $5, three for $10 and “the stretch” for $20), to win the cleverly designed “Pick-a-Prize” Board Baskets and the ever-popular Silent Auction! This is the perfect time to bid on that unique holiday gift or something special for yourself. The “Heads or Tails” game of chance is back! This will be one of the favorite events of the evening…it is so much fun and generates great laughs. For only $20 you have the opportunity to win the “Big-Ticket” item of the night. Be sure to come ready to laugh and bid!

We are currently seeking auction item donations for this event, so please go to our website and complete a donation form for a gift basket, tickets, overnight stay or specialty-crafted item. The more intriguing, the better the bids! Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Visit the website for information or reach out to one of the Finance Committee members to answer any questions you may have. This is a great way to highlight your brand in a fun and festive environment.

The evening will include:
Cocktail Reception begins at 6:30 p.m.
(Cash Bar)
Dinner served at 7:00 p.m.
Dancing to follow
Music provided by Jeff Bristow and Colonial DJ’s.

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Community Service

In keeping with the theme for the December 12th MPI VA Chapter Gala, “Toyland,” our community service beneficiary for the evening is the Toys for Tots program. Local Toys for Tots campaigns are the heart and soul of the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program. The toys that we collect that evening will go towards benefitting local Richmond children.

Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate for this amazing cause.  If you are unable to attend the event, you may drop off your toys to Lauran Dangler, Community Service Chair, at the Omni Richmond Hotel prior to December 12th.

For more information contact Lauran at 804.344.7227 or

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Member Profile

Chris Kelley is the new director of national accounts at the Omni Homestead Resort. His focus is on Virginia corporate groups as well as West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. A member of the Virginia Society of Association Executives and the Virginia Chapter of Meeting Professionals International, Chris has extensive experience in hospitality sales having represented Marriott and Starwood properties as well as Kingsmill Resort and Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Prior to entering the hospitality industry, Chris was a professional baseball player for the Cleveland Indians and a corporate sales manager for the Richmond Braves. The son of two Navy veterans, Chris has lived in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, California, Guam and Florida. He received his bachelor’s degree from The College of William and Mary and his master’s from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Sponsorship Opportunities


MPI Virginia's Annual Conference will be held August 7-9, 2019 in Norfolk and our sponsorship opportunities are now open! Our sponsors receive networking opportunities, video and web promotions, exhibit opportunities, speaking time at the podium, and follow-up e-letter and e-blast opportunities. With a plan suited for every budget, you won't want to miss this exceptional value!

Annual Conference Sponsorship Opportunities  -

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