Arizona Sunbelt Chapter - Meeting Professionals International   MPI Volunteer Engagement Chapter Merit Award


2009 Educational Forum

2009 Educational Forum2009 Educational Forum2009 Educational Forum

Prescott, Arizona • July 31-August 2

With festive music filling the air and an entire resort staff lining a long entry corridor, 70 Summer Educational Forum attendees entered the Prescott Inn & Suites July 31, the first of many showcased Prescott properties that weekend. This initial property hosted brunch and a hotelier executive by way of conference phone surprised the group by announcing transformation into a Marriott property. In fact, each attendee was treated to a $250 gift certificate for use when the Marriott brand is in full swing there!

 Click here to see and share photos from the Educational Forum on MPI's Facebook Page!

Across the hall, Mark McMinn (the weekend's entertaining emcee) introduced Josh Yeager, Sitewire. Yeager dispelled myths and rumors about the social media world and equipped attendees with tips and tools to create social media plans. (Click here to download Josh's PPT presentation.) With creative web juices flowing, attendees boarded the Corporate Transportation & Tours bus sent to downtown Prescott for an exploratory scavenger hunt.

Divided into competitive groups, attendees got a taste of the old and new west. Donning period western garb at Granny Annie's Old Time Photo Shop, vintage-styled black and white photos captured enthusiastic participants at their ornery best. At a converted bakery from the 1880s, now the site of Kendall's Famous Burgers and Ice Cream, a Thrifty ice cream cone was a welcome treat for energized teams. A cold beverage was next on tap at Gurley St. Grill amidst photos and memorabilia of historic moments in time. In the new west, some things don't change like hankerin' for a cold beer on a warm day. The Prescott Brewing Company, recipient of 22 national and international awards for beers produced on site, was an option. For tasty grub, The Palace Restaurant & Salon remains the heart and soul of the town's well-known Whisky Row. With all accounted for, attendees headed to the host property.

Cowboys and saloon girls couldn't be missed as MPI's tour bus rounded the corner at the Prescott Resort and Conference Center (a Grace Hospitality property). Smiles abound as excited attendees entered the newly remodeled facility to colorful reception fare and a comfortable lounge. In fact, the venue's Barbara Bruce, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing, led her team in smile creation all weekend managing details for her property as well as off-site locales. Opening Forum remarks by Prescott Resort's general manager and our own chapter president, Mike Stawiarski, included word of the unique Winemaker's dinner later that evening.

After a brief property tour, attendees retreated to their well-appointed rooms for 'denim and diamond' attire befitting the dinner plans to follow. Each course of the many enjoyed that evening was accompanied by the creative chef's comments and a wine maker's description of the one paired with each. The energetic Donna Masiulewicz, organized the ever-popular raffle and began with first picks that night. Throughout the weekend, attendees were appreciative of the generous raffle donations that included trips, airfare, dinners, designer goods and more! The evening ended with dancing and laughs in the resort's lively lounge.

An early breakfast the next day readied the group for more industry education and networking. Roger Rickard, REvent LLC, began with enlightening "risky business" remarks. After outlining potential meeting/event risks for planner and suppliers, Rickard shared best practices for migrating such risks. Roger thanked the group via YouTube and provides more post-Forum information (See related article).

Interactive breakout discussion groups facilitated by chapter experts enabled members to learn more of CVB workings (led by Mark McMinn and Pam Williams, Tempe and Mesa CVB respectively), CMM and CMP certification (led by Laurel Zakula, Planning Professionals Plus, LLC and LoriAnn Harnish, Speaking of Meetings), DMC operations (led by Kate Christensen, Donna Masiulewicz and Mary Young), tradeshow ROI (led by Cathy Clifton and Bob Holman).

Having worked up an appetite, attendees boarded the bus bound for a Residence Inn BBQ lunch. En route, there was a quick stop at Springhill Suites to say "hello." Kate Christensen, having coordinated luncheon roundtable conversationalists, greeted attendees as they arrived at the Residence Inn. Leading luncheon discussions were Roger Rickard, Janis Hunt, Kate Snapp, Debbie Brass, LoriAnn Harnish, Marla Harr, Kate Christensen, Andrea Beaulieu. Topics included risk management, social media, navigating change, working with professional speakers, cost saving meeting planning tips, BlackBerry shortcuts and work/life balance.

Following lunch, Prescott Resort and Conference Center-sponsored afternoon activities reminded planners and suppliers of this northern city's offerings including visits to a winery, museum, historical sites and unique retailers. A hike, boat ride and golf rounded out the list. Click here to see comments on the day by Helen Groom, Donna Masiulewicz and Michelle Fulcher.

Some say the Hassayampa Inn in downtown Prescott is haunted. Attendees toured the historic property and decided for themselves that night. An art deco hotel addition was the site for the last dinner in town. Announcement of the scavenger hunts tied winning teams (#3 led by Jennifer Castro and #4 led by Jill Longfellow) was topped that night only by s'mores served atop the dining room patio and a cowboy story teller sitting fireside.

On the Forum's last morning, attendees were privy to an ice hockey team practice at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley's Entertainment District. This truly is a "new west" concept given it was a July day in Arizona. A site tour revealed the Center also hosts indoor football games, concerts, conventions, and VIP suites are available. An open-air upstairs meeting space was the backdrop for Andrea Beaulieu's "You Have All The Power There Is - Use It!" Attendees learned three steps to claiming their authentic power and how to use it in their businesses and lives. Beaulieu offers more to the group post-Forum (See related information).

At noon, the networking continued as the group boarded the bus for Phoenix. Attendees carried home binders of Prescott resources and session notes along with memoires of a fun and content-filled weekend in the cooler pines. But attendees can return to the high country later this year as the generous Prescott Resort and Conference Center property host sponsor provided each a $99 voucher for stay and choice of spa package!

In their true creative host style, Prescott Resort and Conference Center seized the Forum's green opportunity. Knowing attendees were encouraged to use provided transportation or carpool plus bring previously enjoyed name badges and canvas totes, the property provided each attendee a Ponderosa Pine seedling. Remaining venue sponsors embraced the Forum committee's green idea for acknowledgment through the planting of trees in Prescott and the Town of Prescott Valley. In each community area, a plaque will commemorate the Forum and the involved sponsoring venues.

Venue sponsors include:

Prescott Resort and Convention Center

Prescott Inn & Suites Residence Inn - Marriott SpringHill Suites - Marriott Hassayampa Inn

Tim's Toyota Center Town of Prescott Valley Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce

Other valued sponsors include:

Corporate Transportation 'N Tours Executive Transportation Service Brede Exposition Service

Raffle excitement courtesy of:

All in the Present
Ann Masiulewicz
C2 & Company
Casino Arizona Resort & Spa
Crowne Plaza San Marcos Resort
Dave & Busters
Donna Masiulewicz, CMP

Francisco Grande Hotel & Golf Resort
Gore & Associates
Grace Hospitality
Grand Canyon Railway
High Impact Presentations
Influence at Work
JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa
Little America Hotel Flagstaff
Loews Lake Las Vegas
Mastro's City Hall Steakhouse
MFS Technology
PRA Destination Management
Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort & Suites
Speaking of Meetings
US Airways
Xona Resort Suites
Zermatt Resort


Risky Business - the heat is on! -- Roger Rickard

It was an honor to present "Risky Business -- Manage Risk of your Meetings and Events" at the Summer Education Retreat in Prescott. Thanks for making me feel so welcome.

I begin by defining events as an umbrella term for meetings, incentives, conferences, and events. Why is it important to understand, recognize and minimize risk at your events? As a professional you have an ethical responsibility to investigate and inform attendees of known hazards without subjecting them to unreasonable risks while always planning for their wellbeing.

Here is a recap of the main points of the presentation:

  • Unfortunately there is no one magic formula to manage all forms of risk in the event industry.
  • Risk assessment is much about asking the right questions as it is about getting the right answers.
  • It is much less expensive to manage a risk prior to the event than to deal with the crisis after it has occurred.
  • One must face and seek ways to confront crises prior to their occurrence.
  • Risk is the "potential" of an incident happening and we should assume that "risk" is a future event that we treat as if it had already happened.

So, what keeps you up at night? What can go wrong with the event? Understanding the answer to this question is the beginning process of risk management. Vital steps in conducting professional event risk management requires that one Assess, Plan, Manage and Control the risks of each event. The acronym of APMC helps you remember these steps and ensure that you responsibly and carefully complete the process.

One has to always APMC any event or particular activity of an event:

  • What could happen?
  • What is the Probability: How likely is it to happen?
  • What will the Impact be? Had bad will it be if it happens?
  • How can we Mitigate risk? How can you reduce the Probability (and by how much)?
  • What is our Contingency if risk occurs? How can you reduce the Impact (and by how much)?

What issues affect your events? What issues affect your attendees? What issues affect your companies? Event Risk Management can be divided mainly into five categories: Health, Crime/Safety, Environmental, Security, and Miscellaneous issues. Each of these categories has numerous issues where risk can affect our events. Here are a couple of examples for each:

  • Health - food poison, medical emergencies, insects & snakes, etc...
  • Crime/Safety - theft, terrorism, fire, civil unrest, etc...
  • Environmental - hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc...
  • Security - property & personal protection, non-invited guests, etc...
  • Miscellaneous - power & communications failure, media scrutiny, etc...

How many additional issues can you add to each category?

One example of an environmental issue is excessive heat. Recently the promoter of the outdoor Bob Dylan concert scheduled for August in Phoenix cancelled the event sighting excessive heat. REALLY, excessive heat for Phoenix in August - who would have ever thought! That is like planning an outdoor event for Alaska in February and being surprised by excessive cold. See Risky Business - the heat is really on!



Highlights of Andrea Beaulieu's presentation:

Hi Everyone. What a wonderful experience I had at the MPI Summer Education Forum. Thank you so much for the opportunity to present on our final day.

To give you just a little bit more information on engaging your true potential and using that authentic power, I am including here a link to my latest blog entry at I've written an article about one of the practices I share to find and follow your authentic voice. You can find more of these articles at

While on my home page, you might want to sign up to receive these free offerings: my report, "26 Tips to Get Unstuck and Overcome the Resistance to Doing That Thing You Want to Do!"; Your Daily Ah Ha, a fun, inspirational quote that appears in your email five days a week; and the True Potential monthly ezine.

See you at the next MPI meeting. Until then, keep livin' the dream!