December 2017 Print



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President's Pen

Thank You

As 2017 comes to an end, I would like to thank you, our members, for your support of and dedication to MiSGMP. In 2017 we can be proud that…

  •        Our monthly meeting attendance increased, a testament to your pursuit of knowledge and education, and your commitment to building and maintaining industry relationships.
  •        Your generosity in supporting our quarterly charities helped many in need.
  •        You willingly gave of your time to serve on MiSGMP committees to carry out the mission and work of the chapter.
  •        43 MiSGMP members hold the Government Meeting Specialist (GMS) Certificate and 31 MiSGMP members are in the process of completing the requirements for receiving the GMS Certificate.
  •        Michelle Milligan, MiSGMP Past President, is President of SGMP, and Andrew Silver, MiSGMP Past President, is a Gilmore Institute of Learning Trustee.
  •        MiSGMP members serve on national SGMP committees.
  •        At the 2017 NEC, MiSGMP received the Chapter Operations/Chapter Excellence Award (the highest award!) and 3rd place for Chapter Communications (newsletter, social media and website).
  •        MiSGMP’s annual auction raised over $4,500 for chapter scholarships!

My heartfelt thanks to the current MiSGMP board members, Diane Dick, 1st Vice President; Heidi Schmitt, 2nd Vice President; Stacy Yerby, Treasurer; Annette Pepper, Secretary; Karalee McKinstry, Director; Tammy Novak, Director; Chris Ward, Director; and Debbie Kopkau, Past President. It is an honor and privilege to work with this outstanding group of professionals who selflessly give of their time, knowledge and expertise for the betterment of MiSGMP.

Best wishes to you and yours for a peaceful holiday season and a happy, healthy 2018!

Laurie A. Nickson, CMP

MiSGMP President


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Welcome New Members!


Our membership has grown from 141 to 144 with the addition of three new members in the month of November.  Please help the Membership Committee in welcoming our new members:

  •         Sulema Kiekintveld, Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Airport
  •         Stephanie Kelly, Westin Southfield.  Stephanie was previously a member with the Sheraton Detroit Novi.
  •         Stephanie Watson, DZS Luxury Meetings, Conferences & Events

We will have two more new planner members in the coming month:

  •         Mitch Lindstrom, MPHI
  •         LaTonya Spearman

We also have two suppliers currently on the wait list.  So if anyone knows a planner who wants to join, please send them our way.

The MiSGMP Membership Recruitment Incentive Program officially launches this month.  Here are the details:

  •         Members who recruit a minimum of 3 new members, from December through August, will receive the Recruiter Award, identifying their outstanding commitment to MiSGMP, at the annual MiSGMP Annual Awards Banquet.*
  •         This recognition will be given annually to members who support the mission of MiSGMP through membership recruitment.

To participate, one must

  •         Be a current member of MiSGMP in good standing;
  •         Serve as a MiSGMP Ambassador; and
  •         Recruit a minimum of 3 new members in the specified time period.

Recruiter Award Details

  •         All members who recruit a minimum of 3 new members, in the specified time period, will receive the award.
  •         Each award recipient will also receive a Recruiter ribbon to wear at all MiSGMP events until the next year’s Annual Awards Banquet.
  •         The member who recruits the most new members, in the specified time period, will receive

o   The Top Recruiter Award;

o   A Recruiter ribbon; and

o   Complimentary registration for the Annual Awards Banquet.

*In 2018, the MiSGMP Annual Awards Banquet is September 12, 2018 at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West.

Superhero’s Campaign - Nationals:  We have four Michigan Chapter members who are on the Superhero’s board:

  •         Char Alexander
  •         Anissa Damon
  •         Amanda Peppo
  •         Tammy Novak

Michelle Fink from Arizona is currently in the #1 spot as the top Superhero Recruiter.

My SGMP Professional Home Campaign – Nationals:  Here are the top four State Chapter rankings:

  •         National Capital w/ 7 new recruits
  •         Louisiana w/ 6 new recruits
  •         Arizona w/ 5 new recruits
  •         Michigan w/ 4 new recruits

Thank you to everyone for your membership commitments.  If you have ideas you’d like to share on membership, please feel free to reach out to one of your Membership Committee members. 

“Keep on Recruiting”

  •         Tammy Novak, Board Liaison
  •         Amanda Peppo, Chair
  •         Anissa Damon, Member
  •         Jocelyn Davis, Member
  •         Duke Rosendahl, Member
  •         Shelley Long, Member


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Upcoming Events


To Sue or Not To Sue: A Case of ADA Compliance

February 21, 2018
11:30 AM to 2:00 PM
 Add to Calendar

Lansing Center
333 E. Michigan Avenue
Lansing, MI 48933
Venue Website

Presenters:  Laurie A. Nickson, CMP, Specialist, Office of Great Start, MI Dept. of Education; Director of Professional Programs, MI Association for the Education of Young Children;  President, MiSGMP with MiSGMP members as the lawyers, plaintiff, defendant, and witnesses!

A simulated court case with our very own Judge Laurie presiding. Hear about concerns and issues from the perspectives of the plaintiff and the defendant including the reasons, rationale and perceived impact of alleged ADA compliance violations. Attendees will serve as jurors, deliberating and determining the verdict!  We will learn ADA compliance, about impact of possible ADA violations and we will be able to identify and address ADA issues prior to an event.

Core Competency:  Logistics


Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI 48933



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Government Meeting Specialist (GMS)

The Government Meeting Specialist is a voluntary certificate program for both planners and suppliers who are seeking the knowledge needed to effectively carry out the functions of a meeting professional.  Participants must be a member of  SGMP. This program is designed to enhance the skills of those who are industry veterans as well as those who are just beginning their career. 

If you are interested in more information on earning your GMS please contact:

Debra Kopkau, MBA, CAE, CMP
MI Inst. for Educational Mgmt. (MIEM)
1001 Centennial Way, Ste. 300
Lansing, MI 48917
Phone: (517) 327-2587
Fax: (517) 327-0768


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Get involved. Build your network!

MiSGMP Committees

Committees are comprised of members of the Board of Directors and the Chapter membership. Each committee develops a plan that outlines the committee’s objectives and the steps for achieving those objectives. Committees meet as needed to complete tasks.

Advertising/Sponsorship Committee
Responsible for website and email advertising, soliciting sponsorships for special events and marketing the chapter brand.
Board Liaison: Stacy Yerby (313) 303-1909

Board Liaison: Heidi Schmitt (616) 233-3557

Annual Education Conference Committee
Responsible for the planning and implementation of the Chapter’s Annual Education Conference.
Board Liaison: Chris Ward (517) 374-6848

Communications Committee
Responsible for monitoring all publications and communications of the Chapter, including but not limited to email, website and social media.
Board Liaison: Karalee McKinstry (989) 460-1704
Website: Karalee McKinstry (989) 460-1704

Community Service Committee
Responsible for planning and implementation of Chapter’s charitable activities.
Committee Chair: Amanda Toy (517) 377-1405
Board Liaison: Heidi Schmitt (616) 233-3557

Education Committee
Responsible for soliciting proposals for regular monthly meeting sites and speakers. Also responsible for determining, establishing and promoting the educational programs of the Chapter.
Board Liaison: Annette Pepper (517) 374-6848

GMS Certificate Committee
Responsible for overseeing the implementation of the GMS Certificate Program.
Committee Chair: Tracy Sproul (517) 346-6339

Board Liaison: Debbie Kopkau (517) 327-2587

Honors and Awards Committee
Responsible for the development and implementation of an awards program giving recognition to Chapter members who have significantly contributed to the objectives of the Chapter and to the Society.
Board Liaison: Diane Dick (517) 327-9261

Marketing Subcommittee
Responsible for promoting the Chapter and the Society to interested parties as well as connections with partner organizations.
Board Liaison: Stacy Yerby (313) 202-1909

Membership Committee 
Responsible for the recruitment and retention of Chapter Society members.
Committee Chair: Amanda Peppo (248) 453-8711
Board Liaison: Tammy Novak (517) 887-9444

Nominations and Elections Committee
Responsible for identifying members interested in running for Chapter Board positions. The committee’s function is directed by the National Board’s process for elections. The Immediate Past President chairs this committee. Meets every two years.
Board Liaison: Debbie Kopkau (517) 327-2587

Registration Committee
Responsible for completing registrations for all members and guests at monthly meetings.
Board Liaison: Diane Dick (517) 327-9261

Scholarship Committee
Responsible for distributing, accepting and awarding of Chapter scholarships, including AEC and NEC.
Board Liaison: Stacy Yerby (313) 202-1909

Special Events Committee
Responsible for Chapter functions that do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Education Committee, i.e. annual banquet and auction, installation of officers, road rally, and other fund raising events.
Board Liaison: Laurie Nickson (517) 351-4183


 “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill


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