VA Voice - December 17, 2018 Print


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Leadership & Governance

2019-2020 Nominations & Elections NOW OPEN!

Serving on the board is extremely rewarding. The experience contributes to your personal and professional growth at the benefit of our chapter. Please consider joining the MPI Virginia leadership team! 

Click here to download the nomination form, use the online nomination form, or contact Nominating Committee Chair,  Connie Brewer to nominate yourself or a friend, today.  

Prospective candidates are planner members or supplier members who are in good standing, active in and familiar with chapter functions and events, willing to fulfill the obligations of office, have a history of involvement, accomplishment and dependable service, willing to contribute time, energy and creativity to the chapter.

Call for Nominations Timeline:

Dec. 3, 2018

Nominations Open

Jan. 6, 2019

Nominations Close

Jan. 7-20, 2019         

Nominee Interviews

Jan. 25, 2019

Nominating Committee to post Board Slate to Nominations Election page of for 30 days

Feb. 24, 2019

Board Slate Approved

March 1, 2019

Board Slate Submitted to MPI Global Headquarters


If interested in getting involved in the future, we encourage you to reach out to our Current Board of Directors and to read these brief Board of Director Descriptions.

The Nominating Committee:
Connie Brewer
Brittany Alger
Ann Buhl
Brooke Doty

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Upcoming Events

Omni Richmond Hotel
100 South 12th Street
Richmond, VA 23219
January 03, 2019

11:00 AM - 1:30 PM

The Art of "Surprise and Delight" in the Event Industry

Want to make a lasting impression with clients, colleagues, and prospects alike? It's time to embrace "Surprise and Delight", a strategy that originated in the marketing world and is taking root in the event industry. It is a favorite among those looking to make a truly memorable impression! It includes everything from engaging speakers and performers to selecting event décor, signage and technical equipment to your staging and production of your meeting or event.

OFD Consulting owner, Meghan Ely, combines in-the-trenches event experience with a love of wedding PR to empower her clients to take their businesses to new heights. She is a WeddingWire Education Expert as well as a regular contributor to Wedding Planner Magazine, Wedding Business Magazine, Catersource and

Meghan represents clients globally and has earned them coverage with the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Brides, Bridal Guide, the Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, the Travel Channel, HGTV, Brit & Co and Refinery 29, among others.

Meghan has served on the national board of WIPA and is a long time member of the NACE conference education committee. She is also an adjunct professor in the Mass Communication department at Virginia Commonwealth University, specializing in Public Relations. Most recently, Special Events honored her as one of the top 25 young professionals in the event industry.

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Featured News

That Time of Year 

As we approach the Holiday Season, my thoughts circle around the year passing as well as the year approaching with a central theme of what would I like to do differently?

We also do this when we analyze annual activities, evaluating the success or lack thereof from our efforts in business and in our personal lives.  For me, the result of this examination often brings anxiety, driving me to reach for ways to comfort and guide myself through what seems like a difficult period of change.

Quite often this time is when I want everything to remain the same!  This led me to do some research and reflection on how to be more open to change; once I started looking I found answers I didn’t want to see.  Sound familiar? When I was finally able to step back and objectively evaluate the changes life was providing, the image was clear and resonated within. Changing when I am at my most comfortable is also the time when I can grow the most.

Some examples of this in my life are kind of funny now, but less so when they first happened.  

Like when a colleague appeared in my doorway asking if  I “have a minute” -  my initial thought was that this will take more than a minute.  However, my colleagues recently told me how thankful they are that my door and thoughts are open.  Perhaps even more fun is when my spouse said something that left me with hurt feelings.  We both feel better and seem to communicate more effectively when one of us musters the courage to discuss our feelings.  Thinking back to when I was an inexperienced sales manager who was challenged by my mentor to be a leader, when all I felt like was a follower, she pushed me outside my comfort zone. That first big step took courage and was the real start of my career mentoring and developing hospitality professionals.  I wouldn’t be able to speak in front of a group, lead a training session or present myself with confidence without having taken that first big step.

At the time, change was never fun nor anything to look forward to. Yet it was almost always a time I grew as a person while also opening myself to empathy.  Once a vulnerable young hospitality manager who navigated life trying to go unnoticed, today I have the perspective of a seasoned director who can sincerely give by remaining in the moment.  A more recent title given to this thought process is “flow.”  I like to think of it as flowing into a better person than a moment ago.

Times when we don’t have any desire to change is often when we can grow the most.  MPI Members, as you reflect, are you ready for change? CMP, CHSP

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Welcome New Members!

Kendall Battle, Student Member
Yolanda Bauza, Airbus
Kamala Cameron-King, Neighborworks America
Eva Chaisson, Richmond Downtown Marriott
Tyquandria Clar, Ashworth College
Leslie Crabbs, TBG Events
Britney Darby, Hinman Dental Meeting
Brenden Giroux, Holiday Inn Arlington at Ballston
Krystle Gladu Apus, American Public University System
Amrita Gopaldas, Paragon Events, Inc.
Kylie Hinson, The Virginia Bar Association
Laura Ivey, Richmond Raceway Complex
Nick Minnix, The Richmond MBA
Samantha Newton, Liberty University
Michael Owens, Great Eastern Resorts
Lauren Parrish, Virginia State Bar
Jennifer Parsons, Lighting Professors
Jeremy Prewitt, PSAV
Alex Purnell, Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner Center
Mallory Ralston, Virginia State Bar
Sara Woldai, Keller and Heckman LLP

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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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Community Service

Thank you to everyone who donated to Toys for Tots at our MPI VA Chapter “Toyland” Gala! All toys will be donated to the local Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program.

The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate children in our communities. Local Toys for Tots Campaigns like ours are the heart and soul of the Marine Toys for Tots Program managed by dedicated United States Marines and local volunteers. 

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