FEBRUARY 2020 Print

MiSGMP e-Reel


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President's Pen


Yee-haw! The 2020 MiSGMP Annual Education Conference is just weeks away, March 18–20. Gather up your cowboy/girl paraphernalia including hats, boots, bandanas and more, and mosey over to Grand Rapids – come prepared for a good old fashioned hoedown! Wednesday evening’s off-site fowling activity promises to be fun and competitive; the education sessions outstanding; and Thursday’s banquet and evening entertainment spectacular! If you’ve not registered, please do so ASAP by visiting Don’t forget to make your reservations at the Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids Airport, (616) 957-1770 – mention you are attending MiSGMP AEC to receive the AEC housing rate.

If you’ve not submitted a donation form for the annual auction at AEC, it’s not too late! A link to the form is on the MiSGMP website home page under Quick Links. Remember, 100% of the proceeds from the auction support scholarships for our members to attend AEC and NEC!

The next few months of MiSGMP events–

  • Wednesday, April 15 – Maximum Ability: How to Create a Disability Inclusive Culture at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Mt. Pleasant
  • Wednesday, May 13 – Employee Recruitment and Retention Support at the Radisson Hotel in Kalamazoo
  • Wednesday, June 17 – Bowling Extravaganza in Cadillac – details soon!

The 2020 National Education Conference is in St. Louis, MO, May 19–21. MiSGMP board members will be attending, please join us. Register at Chapter scholarship forms for NEC will be available soon.

I look forward to seeing you at AEC!

Laurie A. Nickson, CMP
President, MiSGMP

2019-2020 Committee Board Liaisons
GMS Committee – Debbie Kopkau/Char Alexander
Nominations Committee – Debbie Kopkau
Registration Committee – Anissa Damon
Membership Committee -  Tammy Novak
Scholarship Committee – Stacy Yerby
AEC Committee – Heidi Schmitt
Special Events Committee – Char Alexander
Communication Committee – Debbie Kopkau
Advertising/Sponsorship Committee – Stacy Yerby/Heidi Schmitt
Community Service Committee – Shelley Long
Education Committee – Debbie Kopkau/Terese McInnis
Honors/Awards Committee – Laurie Nickson

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Welcome New Members!

Membership Committee Report

Michigan has
164 Members.
Planners:  80  |  Suppliers:  80  |  Other:  4

New Member(s) for February

  • Angela Trainor, Canopy by Hilton Grand Rapids
  • Donna Trudell, Marriott International Dearborn (Welcome Back Donna !!)

New Transfer(s) for February - None

“Happy Anniversary” Reminders for February and March

  • Cindie Dulaney (February)
  • Crystal Flood (February)
  • Lisa Hobaugh (February)
  • Kate McPherson (February)
  • Michelle Milligan (February)
  • Alexandra Risher (February)
  • Veronica Ryan (February)
  • Mary Schwartz (February)
  • Chris Ward (February)
  • Steven Bowers (February)
  • Angela Morgan (February)
  • Penelope Saddler (February)
  • Ashley Smith (February)
  • Jocelyn Davis (March)
  • Mary Kramer (March)
  • Heather Evoy (March)
  • Randi Talmage (March)
  • Sahil Chaturvedi (March)
  • Jaimee Norg (March)
  • Denise Pena (March)
  • Angela Hymes-Thomas (March)

If your name is on the above list with an expiration date of February or March, you should have received an email or phone call from your Membership Committee members with regard to your membership and its renewal.  The Membership Committee strives to assist our members with reminders to allow you to renew within the allotted renewal time frame.  Remember suppliers, if your membership expires and you still want to be a member, you must have a planner match to rejoin.  Please allow yourselves enough time to renew so this situation does not occur.

Two Membership Campaigns: 

  1. Soar with SGMP is a chapter based campaign where all new recruitments are combined for the Chapter.  In FY19, Michigan won the “Members Growth” Award for having the highest net growth for the year.  Michigan currently is not in the top 10.
  2. All Stars Circle is a member based campaign where each member will receive credit for the number of members they recruit.  Recognition levels vary.  Visit the SGMP website for additional information.

We have two members currently on the All Stars Circle board:  Katie DeWeerd (1) and Stacy Yerby (1).

The Ambassador Program needs volunteers to help new members by showing them around, introducing them to other members, sitting with them during a meeting where they may not know anyone else, or simply assisting any member who may have a question.  The current MiSGMP Ambassadors can be identified by a green Ambassador ribbon hanging from their name badge.  If you would like more information or are interested in joining us, you may talk to one of the current Ambassadors, or contact Tammy Novak, Membership Committee Board Liaison or Brenda Haight, Membership Committee Chair.

The Member Spotlight is now being created by your Membership Committee.  WE NEED VOLUNTEERS, so look for your email asking you to be featured in an upcoming e-Reel Newsletter.

Thank you to everyone for your membership commitments.

MiSGMP Membership Committee
Tammy Novak – Board Liaison
Brenda Haight – Committee Chair
Char Alexander
Terra Damchuk
Jocelyn Davis
Shelley Long
Duke Rosendahl

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Member Spotlight

Introducing MiSGMP’s SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT for February ...

Patrick Potyraj 

Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids

A little bit about where I grew upI grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and graduated from West Catholic High School in 1986.  I then went to Davenport College and graduated with a BA in Marketing.  Upon graduating, I moved to Orlando, FL and lived there for 19 years.

Favorite vacation spot:  I would have to say it’s a toss-up between Hawaii and California.  I traveled on business many times to California and fell in love with the west coast beaches and the LA scene.  I went to Hawaii once for a conference and had the time of my life site seeing and traveling from Island to Island.  I would definitely go back . . . possibly in the future when the next NATIONAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE will be held.

What do you like most about being a supplier?  I like the satisfaction of getting a phone call or an e-mail from a planner that they want to come back and book another event at the property.  That means a lot to me that I’m making their event a successful one and that they want to come back.

What do you like most about MiSGMP?  The relationships I’ve built in the past seven years and getting to know new members.  It’s also nice to see all the other suppliers from other cities and catch up on what’s new in the hospitality industry.

Thoughts regarding the industry:  So much growth has taken place in this industry in the past few years including new hotels and restaurants.  It’s a very exciting time to be in the industry with all the new development and growth for our state.  I strongly believe there is a need for renewed focus on employees within this industry as a way for employers to remain competitive.

Introducing MiSGMP’s PLANNER SPOTLIGHT for February ...

Samantha Flowers 

Special D Events

A little bit about where I grew upI grew up in Harrison Township, Michigan, which is known as “Boat Town USA”.  My family was very active on the water with activities from skiing on Lake St. Clair to salmon fishing in Lake Michigan.

Favorite vacation spot:  It is so hard to choose between Port Austin, MI and Ludington, MI for my favorite vacation spot.  Both offer such beautiful beaches, a pier, and gorgeous sunsets.  Our family had a cottage in Port Austin, and this is where I spent most of my summers growing up.  I still return at least once a year.  The three lighthouses in Ludington tips the scale for me though – this is also where my husband proposed!

What do you like most about being a planner?  The annual conference was jam packed with terrific speakers, education, and networking.  The time spent there with MiSGMP was a nice start to my membership and very valuable. 

What do you like most about MiSGMP?  My favorite part about being a planner is that I can be extremely detail-orientated and in this line of work it is greatly appreciated.  I love the timelines, check lists, and then seeing everything come together live!


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Upcoming Events

You don't want to miss the hoedown themed Annual Education Conference!  A number of pertinent education sessions have been planed that promise to be informative, innovative and motivational.  In addition, there will be fun networking activities. 

AND . . . the AEC Planning Committee is excited to announce Judson Laipply as its keynote presenter!  Judson will start the program with "Motivation, Inspiration and Manipulation: Creating and Leading Teams to Leave Lasting Imprints" and the close the event with "Life is Change". Descriptions about each presentation is available on the MiSGMP website. (NOTE:  See the website to view the full conference program.)

Hotel Information
Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids Airport
5700 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Overnight Rooms are available at the rate of $85 per night with Group Code: AEC

To make your reservation contact the hotel directly at (616) 957-1770 and reference the AEC (please make sure you are talking directly with the Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids Airport and not a general reservation person) or follow this link  to make them online.  You will need to enter the arrival and departure dates, then enter the AEC code in the group code area.  Click 'book' and then you will receive the $85 room rate to complete your reservation.

Cut-Off Date:  March 1, 2020

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AEC Sponsorship Opportunities

For sponsorship opportunities at the 2020 Annual Education Conference, please contact Heidi Schmitt at  [email protected]


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Community Service


Buddy Bench Fundraising & Supper Sacks for Kids Food Basket

The Michigan Chapter of SGMP has been raising money for a Buddy Bench to be placed on a playground.  A Buddy Bench is a safe place for children to go during recess when they feel bullied or alone.  When other children see them there, they know to go talk to them, as do the adult supervisors.  We are at 80% of our goal to purchase a bench. Let’s do this at AEC and get it ordered and placed before school is out for 2020!

Kids Food Basket  is a nonprofit in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  They send sack suppers home with children whose families are experiencing food insecurity and offer them a nutritious meal including fruit, vegetables, protein and a healthy snack.  They serve thousands of children for thousands of reasons, and need thousands of sacks every day!  Please join your colleagues in purchasing plain brown or white lunch bags, decorate them with your families, colleagues, church members, bowling leagues, anywhere large groups of folks gather.  Simply color them with crayons, pencils or markers (no stickers or glue please), and leave encouraging messages on them as well (no religious messages allowed).  Bring your colored sacks to AEC in Grand Rapids, and we will deliver them to Kids Food Basket on behalf of MiSGMP!

Thank you for all you do to support our local communities!

Shelley Long
Michigan Chapter Society of Government Meeting Professionals
Community Service Committee Board Liaison

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Want to Run for the Board?  We Want You!

The Michigan Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals is looking for energetic professionals.  We will have several positions open this year.  This is a two-year term and you can be on the board for up to 10 years.  This is a great opportunity to learn leadership and make a difference.

Here are the criteria:

Members in good standing for at least six months prior to nomination shall qualify for nomination and election to an office of their chapter.  The chapter Officers or Directors to be elected shall meet the qualifications for the office as herein established, except as may be specified by The National Board:

  • President – Government Planner or Contract Planner
  • First Vice President – Government Planner or Contract Planner
  • Second Vice President – Supplier
  • Secretary – Government Planner or Contract Planner
  • Treasurer – Supplier or Contract Planner
  • Director – Government Planner
  • Director – Supplier
  • Director – Government Planner, Contract Planner, or Supplier

To find out more about what it means to be on the board including board roles and responsibilities, please visit  MiSGMP Board of Directors FAQ.

If you have other questions or know you would like to run for the board, please email [email protected].

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MiSGMP Education Committee

Your MiSGMP Education Committee is committed to making sure our programming is not only educational, but beneficial to the majority of our membership.  With that in mind, we are reaching out to you, our valued members, for suggestions on topics of interest as well as speakers for our monthly meetings from August 2020 – June 2021 and the 2021 Annual Education Conference.  Please contact me with topics, even topics that may have already been presented but that you would like to learn more about, as well as speakers you may know or have heard that you feel would be a great fit for MiSGMP.  Please email me at [email protected] or call me at (517) 202-4324.

Thank you, Terese McInnis, Education Committee Board Liaison

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MISGMP Sponsorship Opportunities


There are still a few MiSGMP sponsorship opportunities available! Get yours secured for the new year by clicking this link  or by emailing  [email protected]

MiSGMP thanks you for your generous support.

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Get Your GMS!

Looking to begin or complete the Government Meeting Specialist (GMS) program?  Please be sure to take a look at our upcoming programs which can be found on the website.  The 2020 AEC Program has been posted and core competencies are listed so register today!

Another way to find classes toward the GMS program are Webinars through SGMP.  Take a look at  You will need to log in to see the core competencies.

If you have any questions or want to know more visit or contact Debbie Kopkau, GMS Committee Board Liaison at [email protected].


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National Education Conference 2020 (NEC)

Mark your calendar for the SGMP’s National Education Conference (NEC) to be held May 19-21, 2020 in St. Louis, Missouri

Register Today!



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Bring A Guest!

Ten times a year the Michigan SGMP chapter holds dynamic programs/events with topics that are vital to meeting planners and suppliers in our beautiful state. These meetings are typically held the third Wednesday of each month, throughout the state with the majority held in the Lansing area.

Did you know that you may bring a guest? A guest may attend a maximum of two MiSGMP sponsored programs/events at the applicable planner or supplier guest rate. To attend additional MiSGMP sponsored programs/events, one must become a MiSGMP member.

For more information on bringing a guest, please refer to the MiSGMP website:

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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.

For more information on volunteering on a committee please visit:




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Contact Address - Check Your Records!

Just a reminder that the address for mailing MiSGMP correspondence is:

5859 W. Saginaw Hwy., #144, Lansing, MI  48917

Questions, comments, suggestions, regarding the e-Reel Newsletter should be directed to:  [email protected]


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