April 2019 Print

MiSGMP e-Reel


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President's Pen

President’s Pen – April 2019

Finally, spring seems to be here for good! It was a long, cold, blustery winter…now we can enjoy green grass, flowers blooming, and warmer weather (most days)!

If you have not already registered for Knowledge Quest on May 15th in Kalamazoo, it’s not too late! Remember, there is no charge for planners and suppliers must register for either a half or a full team. Visit to register today. Discover Kalamazoo staff and their partners have planned an exciting adventure for us!

The SGMP conference is in Detroit, at the Marriott Renaissance Center, June 25-27, 2019. Seven MiSGMP members received SGMP scholarships to attend, and nine MiSGMP members received MiSGMP scholarships to attend. To date, approximately 50 people from Michigan are registered…are you? If not, visit for information and to register!

Traverse City Tourism is donating money to support the purchase of MiSGMP logo shirts for all MiSGMP members attending the 2019 SGMP Conference. Depending on the total number of MiSGMP members attending, the shirts may be fully funded or there may be a charge, of not more than $10, per shirt. Samples of the shirt in various sizes will be at Knowledge Quest, as well as information about ordering.

I look forward to seeing you in Kalamazoo!

Laurie A. Nickson, CMP
President, MiSGMP

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Membership Report


            New Members

  • Sahil Chaturvedi, Best Western Premier Detroit (Supplier)
  • Denise Pena, University Quality Inn (Supplier)
  • Maryanne Greketis, MSAE (Planner)

New Member Transfers

  • Mac Place, Okemos Conference Center (transferred in for Amanda Allen)
  • Sara Veit, Crowne Plaza Lansing West (transferred in for Robin Goodenough)
  • Patrick Enright, Radisson Farmington Hills (transferred in for Raymond Byard)
  • Kari Gafford, Sheraton Detroit Metro Airport (transferred in for Krystal Hudson)
  • Laura Ayan, Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Airport (transferred in for Selema Kiekintveld)

Anniversary Reminders for April and May

  • Amy Castner, State Bar of MI (April)
  • Nicole Coats-Quales, Kettunen Centre (April)
  • Tara Gilman, MSHDA (April)
  • Jill Irving, CMU (April)
  • Debbie Kopkau (Michigan School Business Officials (April)
  • Kimberly Moore, Events and Moore (April)
  • Jamie Ralph, DoubleTree by Hilton Bay City-Riverfront (April)
  • Christopher Schroeder, Amway Hotel Collection (April)
  • Jodie Shaver, MALPH (April)
  • Pat Strzalkowski, MSP Troopers Association (April)
  • Denise Warwick, Holiday Inn Near the U of M (April)
  • Raymond Byard, Radisson Farmington Hills (April)
  • Tammy Blackburn (May)
  • Vicki Brown (May)
  • Rachelle Grockau (May)
  • Cathy Mayhew (May)

If your name is on the above list, you will be receiving, if you haven’t already, an email and/or phone call with regard to your membership and its renewal from one of the Membership Committee members.  We strive 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.

Additional Announcements

The “Superheroes Circle” campaign ends TODAY (April 30th).  When new member applications are completed, members who are identified as having referred at least one new member will automatically be considered members of the 2018-2019 Superheroes Circle and again, receive recognition based on their participation level.  So refer, refer, refer -- invite a friend or colleague to attend one of our upcoming monthly meetings!  Michigan has 10 members in the circle (referred 15 new members)!

  1. Janice Harvey (2)
  2. Patti Ingleson (1)
  3. Tammy Novak (2)
  4. Chris Rowley (2)
  5. Heidi Schmitt (1)
  6. Chris Ward (3)
  7. Sonja Wood (1)
  8. Stephanie Miszkowski (1)
  9. Alexandra Risher (1)
  10. Andrew Silver (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 either Tammy Novak or Anissa Damon, Membership Board Co-Liaisons.

Thank you to everyone for your membership commitments.

Tammy Novak – Board Co-Liaison
Anissa Damon – Board Co-Liaison
Brenda Haight – Chair
Char Alexander
Terra Brenner
Jocelyn Davis
Shelley Long
Duke Rosendahl

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Member Spotlight

Introducing MiSGMP’s SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT for April…

 Deb Denyer         
Mission Point Resort, Mackinac Island

  • A little bit about where I grew up:  I grew up in Lake Orion in the home my parents still live in over 44 years later!  I attended Lake Orion High, home of the Dragons, was a cheerleader (surprised?) and then went on to Michigan State.  I am not sure why I rushed to be done in four years.  My dad told me "it’s like going to the best party of your life and being the first to leave."  He was right!
  • Favorite vacation spot:  Does home count?  Anywhere quiet with nature or beaches surrounding me: woods, rivers, lakes, oceans.  I have been to Cabo San Lucas a few times and I hear things and see great pictures of the Albanian Riviera.
  • What do you like most about being a supplier?  Being a supplier is about having the best of both worlds. Fellow suppliers in the industry are wonderful resources and quite often good friends.  Pure Michigan has so many neat destinations and since the campaigning of their commercials, we've all had our eyes opened to how great of a state we live in.  The planners are really who provide us with jobs and a livelihood. And being that we are all in the hospitality industry, it’s really cool how kind and social people are!
  • What do you like most about MiSGMP?  There are too many things to list what I like most.  The board members who have mic time always seem to have their messaging so informative, clear and concise.  They seem to be well connected to the National level.  The speakers are well chosen and captivating.  And the audience is always warm, welcoming and friendly.
  • Thoughts regarding the industry:  I cannot imagine doing sales in any other industry. It doesn't seem fathomable that it would be as fun. I really love all parts of Michigan and think each destination has its own character. Our planners have a wide variety of experiences to share with their participants. We are so very lucky to have all that we do.

Introducing MiSGMP’s PLANNER SPOTLIGHT for April…

Tracy Sproul         
State Bar of Michigan

  • A little bit about where I grew up:  I grew up in Lansing, went to Everett High School, and then Lansing Community College with a bowling scholarship, if you can believe that. Bowling is in my family's blood.  My uncle, Mike Cochran, owned a pro shop inside Pro Bowl West, so I grew up knowing everyone in the bowling community around Lansing and they all knew us.  I worked for the Michigan Bankers Association for a few years, planning their events.  In 2003, I moved out to Colorado for school and in that time, I took a trip to China & Thailand for two months teaching English.  After my trip, I ended up working for an international CPG company as a software trainer/business analyst for several years before I decided to come home -- I missed my family and friends.  I began working for the State Bar of Michigan as soon as I returned, and I've been here nine years now.
  • Favorite vacation spot:  I have two favorites, Surf & Sand Resort on Laguna Beach, California and Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado.
  • What do you like most about being a planner:  I enjoy seeing all the hard work come together and working in a great team to make it happen.  I love technology, so I'm always looking to see how we can utilize new or current programs to increase our attendance and improve our attendee's experiences and our efficiency.
  • What do you like most about MiSGMP?  I love the people; I was welcomed right away and bonded with so many people from my first AEC to the last monthly meeting I attended.  It's such a great mix of suppliers and planners.  I love gleaning tips from planners and discovering what's going on in the industry.

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Upcoming Events


May 15, 2019  |  10:45 AM - 3:00 PM
Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center
100 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007

MiSGMP invites you to its second KNOWLEDGE QUEST!  Join your fellow members in Kalamazoo for a day exploring Downtown Kalamazoo. Discover Kalamazoo has partnered with Cluventure to create a fun scavenger and trivia hunt to help you learn more about the community.

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Community Service

2019 Community Service for MiSGMP

The Community Service Committee is excited to continue promoting the following community service projects for 2019.  We will bring the Buddy Bench donation jar and the paper sacks to decorate to the Road Rally in Kalamazoo in May!

Adopt-a-Spot in Lansing.  These are raised flower beds in downtown Lansing that require twice a month love.  The care is gentle weeding and picking up garbage in the plot.  Look for a signup sheet in April 2019 to sign up for your visit to the spot.  This only needs attention May through October with committee member(s) local to Lansing checking on the spot occasionally as well.

Kids Food Basket in Grand Rapids is a nonprofit that supplies sack suppers to 8,000 children at 47 schools in West Michigan daily, with 30 additional schools on their waiting list.  They send home nutritional meals in a paper sack, and they love to have the sacks decorated.  This is something we will incorporate into each meeting. We will supply the bags and decorating tools and collect them at the end of each meeting.  Please keep in mind that many sack suppers will be going to public schools and therefore cannot contain religious or political messages.  They also request that we do not use paint, glitter, feathers, or stickers. Feel free to color before and during the meal, but not while there’s a speaker so that all attention is given to them.

Buddy Bench.  A buddy bench is a safe spot where children can go if they feel bullied or lonely, and other children can come over and talk to or play with them.  This idea was brought to my attention from my nephew Carson, who is 8 years old, lives in Maryland and wanted to make sure his school had one.  Carson worked with his principal and PTA to get one at his school.  And if an 8 year old can accomplish that, we know that the Michigan SGMP chapter will make this happen!  We are going to have a 2019 fundraising effort and when we have enough money raised, we will work with Laurie Nickson and an early childhood school or center to install on their playground.

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


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Get Your GMS!

Get Your GMS Today!

The Government Meeting Specialist Certificate program was created in 2009 to encourage meeting planners and suppliers to further their knowledge in the meeting industry. The program offers practical information, establishes a basis for advancing professionalism and assurance that a base of knowledge has been achieved.

This program requires attendance of 15 programs within specific content areas to give a well-rounded exposure to many industry-specific topics.

Education/Program – 3 programs
Facilities and Services – 2 programs
Federal, State, and Local Travel – 1 program
Financial/Contract Management – 2 programs
Leadership – 1 program
Logistics – 2 programs
Protocol – 1 program
Technology – 2 programs
Ethics – 1 program

Begin Your Journey

Go to , print, complete, and submit the Letter of Commitment.

Have questions? Contact Debbie Kopkau at [email protected].



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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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