MAY 2020 Print

MiSGMP e-Reel


Back to top

President's Pen

President's Pen | May 2020

Exciting news! At the 2020 SGMP Sam Gilmer Virtual Awards Ceremony Wednesday evening, May 20th, MiSGMP received two awards – an Honors Award for Chapter Operations and we tied for first place for the Programming of the Year Award.

The Chapter Operations Award is determined by fiscal-year-to-date review of specific criteria pertaining to overall operations performance with chapters being recognized at three levels for the fulfillment of the Society’s mission for its members – merit, honors, and excellence. 

The Programming of the Year Award covers chapter programming between July 2019 and March 2020 and recognizes the development and presentation of excellent education programs. Program evaluations comprise 40% of the scoring; the remaining 60% of the scoring is based on the review of two programs, identified by the chapter, with regard to creativity and relevancy to the industry. The two programs submitted were the November 2019 program, CVB 411, and the February 2020 program, To Sue or Not to Sue: A Case of Music Licensing.

While appreciative of the recognition, awards don't truly exemplify the work we do. Our members, our committees, our board – all go above and beyond in terms of their dedication and commitment to MiSGMP. We are deservedly proud of all of our work – congratulations MiSGMP!

Are you registered for the next MiSGMP Connect event on Thursday, June 4, 1:00-2:00 pm?  Participation is via Zoom. Visit the MiSGMP website ( ) to register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Please join your MiSGMP colleagues for a social check-in!  This is our 3rd MiSGMP Connect Zoom event.

One more time … email is the primary way we communicate with our members, but it is difficult to know how many we are actually reaching as layoffs, furloughs and terminations mean members may no longer have access to work email. We will continue to post information on the website and via social media in the hopes of reaching as many members as possible. If you know of a member who no longer has access to her/his work email, and you have another way to reach out, please do!    

The June event is a virtual Zoom event, free of charge to all members. June’s topic is Crucial Conversations presented by Pam Zsolzai, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. If you’ve not registered, please do so by visiting the MiSGMP website – the registration link is on the home page.

With the uncertainty of when we will be able to resume face-to-face MiSGMP meetings, the board decided that MiSGMP monthly meetings/education sessions will be provided virtually, through Zoom, at a cost of $10 for planners and suppliers, beginning in August 2020 (there is no July meeting). This will be the fee structure until we are able to resume in-person meetings. As there are costs incurred with virtual meetings, this will help MiSGMP offset those costs and continue to provide professional development opportunities to our members.

The MiSGMP August Zoom meeting is Wednesday, August 19th – Want to Zoom?  presented by Debbie Kopkau, Michigan School Business Officials and MiSGMP Past President. Registration will be available on the MiSGMP website soon! On the registration form will be the opportunity to donate to the Buddy Bench community service project – we are close to our goal, your help is needed!

I wish you well as you continue to navigate the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will prevail, we are MiSGMP Strong!

Laurie A. Nickson, CMP  
President, Michigan Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals

Back to top

Membership Report

Michigan has 167 Members
Planners: 83 | Suppliers: 80 | Other: 4

Unfortunately Michigan did not win any of the Membership Recognition Awards at last Wednesday’s virtual Sam Gilmer Awards Ceremony.  We hope to work together in the coming year to ensure Michigan shines in the two membership categories (1) highest net membership growth and (2) highest net % growth.  We are Michigan SGMP strong!

Renewal Grace Period

During COVID-19, National SGMP has provided membership assistance in that, they have approved a membership grace period extension of 90 days.  They have indicated that if you’re unable to pay your dues by your membership renewal date, your membership will automatically go into the grace period of 90 days.  However, if you are still able to pay the dues, they are asking you continue to renew on time.  

New Members for May

  • Amber Sheerin, Michigan Library Association (Planner)

Happy Anniversary and Renewal Reminders for June

These memberships are expiring June 30th.  If you are able, please pay your membership dues by your due date; otherwise, your membership will automatically go into the grace period where you’ll have until September 30th to renew.

  • Shaun Ballard
  • Lisa Borucki
  • Samantha Flowers
  • Linda Freybler
  • Kari Gafford
  • Deneen Hansen
  • Janice Harvey 
  • Kartrina Hirth
  • Julie Irvin
  • Maureen Leonard
  • Ashley Peruchietti
  • Mary Ridderman 
  • Jessica Schwebs 
  • Lydia Wilder
  • Anne Wilson
  • Stacy Yerby


At-Risk Members

THESE MEMBERSHIPS HAVE EXPIRED. If your membership expired in March, you have until June 30th to renew.  If your membership expired in April you have until July 31st to renew.  If you don’t renew by the end of the grace period, you will be dropped by National.  If you wish to remain a member, you must rejoin as a new member.  Remember suppliers, if your membership expires and you wish to be a member, you must have a planner match to rejoin.

  • Sahil Chaturvedi (March) 
  • Kim Conte (March
  • Jocelyn Davis (March
  • Angela Hymes-Thomas (March) 
  • Denise Pena (March
  • Patricia Bizoukas (April)
  • Amy Castner (April) 
  • Nicole Coats-Quales (April) 
  • Tara Gilman (April
  • Jill Irving (April
  • Christopher Schroeder (April
  • Mimi Sion (April
  • Michelle Zeller (April)


*If you have paid your membership fee, please disregard this notice.

We Need You!

The Member Spotlight is now being created by your Membership Committee. WE NEED VOLUNTEERS to answer 4-5 easy questions about yourself, your business, and your experience with MiSGMP.  Each month we spotlight one Supplier and one Planner.  What are you waiting for?  Will it be YOU featured in June?

Membership Committee

Have you thought of being on a MiSGMP committee but aren’t sure which committee you’d like to join?  Well, how about the Membership Committee?  We need your help and are looking for volunteers.  Please contact Tammy Novak [email protected] or Brenda Haight [email protected] if you are interested, or want to know more information.

During this trying time of working remotely, job loss, business closures, and other uncertainties, we thank you for your membership commitments and hope you are staying strong and healthy.

Thank you.
Tammy Novak – Board Liaison
Brenda Haight – Committee Chair
Char Alexander
Terra Damchuk
Jocelyn Davis
Shelley Long

Back to top

Upcoming Events

Thursday, June 4, 1:00-2:00 pm.  Are you registered for the next MiSGMP Connect Zoom event.  Participation will be via Zoom.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Please register to join your MiSGMP colleagues for a social check-in.

Wednesday, June 17, 12:00-2:00 pm.  Register now for:

Crucial Conversations -- This online meeting will provide skills to help you improve dialogue and engagement, and create behavior change that builds high performance and culture.  (Free to all, registration required - go to MiSGMP website:  www.misgmp.orgPresented by: Pam Zsolzai, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Core Competency:  Education & Programming

Back to top

Community Service


Buddy Bench Fundraising & Supper Sacks for Kids Food Basket

We are getting close to our goal for purchasing a Buddy Bench. Beginning in August, you will be able to make a donation to our community service projects when you register for monthly meetings. Once we have reached the goal for the Buddy Bench, we will identify and collect donations for the next project. Thank you for your generosity!

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).  After the pandemic, we plan to resume this necessary endeaver for 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

Back to top

Get Your GMS!

Looking to begin or complete the Government Meeting Specialist (GMS) program?  If you have any questions or want to know more visit or contact Debbie Kopkau, GMS Committee Board Liaison at [email protected].


Back to top

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:

Back to top

Committee Board Liaisons

2019-2020 Committee Board Liaisons
GMS Committee – Debbie Kopkau
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

MiSGMP Mission
The Michigan Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (MiSGMP) is dedicated to improving the knowledge and expertise of individuals in the planning and management of government meetings through education, training, industry relationships and mutual support.

Back to top

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]


Back to top