September 2019 Print

MiSGMP e-Reel


Back to top

President's Pen

President’s Pen – September 2019

The schedule of MiSGMP meetings and events, from now until June 2020, has been completed!  It promises to be another year of informative, interactive sessions and networking events. Please visit the MiSGMP website, to download the flyer and mark the dates on your calendars!

In addition to our monthly meetings, please note the following –

  • MiSGMP 2020 AEC and Annual Auction, March 18–20, Crowne Plaza, Grand Rapids
  • NEC 2020, May 19-21, St. Louis, MO
  • MiSGMP Annual Special Event – Education Session and Bowling Extravaganza, June 17, Evergreen Resort and The Pines Sports Bar and Bowling Center, Cadillac

In 2019, the annual MiSGMP auction was moved to be part of the Annual Education Conference as the conference is our largest attended event. The 2020 annual MiSGMP auction (silent and live!) will be held in conjunction with the 2020 AEC. Please begin thinking about what you can donate, as well as what individuals or businesses you can solicit donations from. 100% of the proceeds from our annual auction, and our occasional ‘mini’ auctions, fund scholarships for our members to attend our Annual Education Conference and the SGMP National Education Conference. Your donations and support make the difference!

Mini silent auction! There will be a mini silent auction of Halloween items, and perhaps a few miscellaneous items, at the October 16th membership meeting. Come prepared to bid, bid often, and bid high!

I look forward to seeing you at our next MiSGMP monthly meeting on October 16th at Urban Beat in Lansing.  The meeting topic is Creating Experiences that Transform.

As we approach fall, I hope you all find time to appreciate the natural beauty of our amazing state as the leaves turn into magnificent hues of red, orange and gold!

Laurie A. Nickson, CMP
MiSGMP President

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

Back to top

Membership Report


New Members

  • Charde Fisher, MDHHS – MPHI
  • Maureen Leonard – U of M
  • Samantha Flowers – Special D Events, Inc.
  • Linda Freybler – Calhoun County CVB
  • Ashley Peruchietti – Discover Kalamazoo
  • Ann Bruttell – Meeting Coordinators
  • Suzy Westmoreland – Michigan Electric & Gas Association

New Member Transfers

  • Katrina Hirth, Weber’s Restaurant and Boutique Hotel (replacing Heather Sayer)
  • Kevin Fischer, NAMI Michigan (replacing Shelene Hahn)

Anniversary Reminders for September and October

  • Kathleen Cooney (September)
  • Laura Hill (September)
  • Philip Himes (September)
  • Sarah Jarous (September)
  • Heather Mydloski (September)
  • Candace Clay (October)
  • Tracy Drus (October)
  • Terri Gaeta (October)
  • Mary Chris Hotchkiss (October)
  • Jodi Johnson (October)
  • Hannah Kroll (October)
  • Kathy Morin (October)

If your name is on the above list with an expiration date of September or October, you should have received an email and/or phone call with regard to your membership and its renewal from one of the Membership Committee members. 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.

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 greenAmbassadorribbon 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.  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

Back to top

Member Spotlight

Introducing MiSGMP’s SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT for September ...

Nicole Coats-Quales 

Fetzer Center

  • Thoughts regarding the industry:  Michigan has SO much to offer and the seasons offer that versatile experience at Kettunen Center as well!
  • A little bit about where I grew upI grew up in the SMALL town of Reed City.  I attended high school there, and then moved on to Michigan State University.  I never enjoyed small town living, BUT I'm STILL living in Reed City today!
  • Favorite vacation spot:  I need to hear and see the ocean!!  My husband and I were married in the Bahamas and that's my FAVORITE place!  Once he and I tried to go on vacation to the mountains.  It was gorgeous, but without the ocean, we left early, after one day!
  • What do you like most about being a supplier? I absolutely LOVE what Kettunen Center has to offer and that I am able to share that with everyone I meet is a blast to me.  I use the facility in my own personal life, so it's not a matter of I get "paid" to say how AWESOME it is!  I feel Kettunen Center can benefit EVERYONE, from a family reunion to a large business retreat.
  • What do you like most about MiSGMP? I love the meetings giving us all a chance to connect and learn about one another, on a business AND personal level.  Each participant has experiences that can help the next and we are all on the same team sharing that knowledge with one another.

Introducing MiSGMP’s PLANNER SPOTLIGHT for September ...

Diane Dick     

Michigan Association of
Superintendents & Administrators

  • A little bit about where I grew up:  I was born almost 60 years ago in the Thumb of Michigan in a small town called Bad Axe.  A town where my Dad lived on a farm, was a high school football star, and where he and my Mom were both born and raised.  I have very fond memories of my time living there.  We moved to Owosso when I was in first grade because my Dad worked for Indian Trails at the time and was transferred to Owosso.  I went to school in Corunna, which is just to the east of Owosso.  While my address was Owosso, my school district was Corunna.  I will always be a Corunna Cavalier as my parents will always be Bad Axe Hatchets!
  • Favorite vacation spot:  I guess I don’t have an actual favorite vacation spot.  For me, the best spot is where my family is - whether that be my whole family or just my husband, Dennis, and our two Yorkie fur babies, Gordon and Olive.  We love NASCAR Racing, so we generally spend our vacation at the two Michigan races in June and August, with hopefully a visit to one or two other tracks during the racing season.
  • What do you like most about being a planner:  I have been a planner for about 30 years and I absolutely love it.  I can’t see myself doing anything else, although that is not what I saw for myself early in my career.  But I am so glad that I took a leap of faith.  When you get to the end of an event or conference, and you know it went extremely well, the satisfaction of a job well done is kind of a high for me.  Seeing the attendees leaving happy is a very nice feeling!  It is a lot of work, but so worth it in the end.
  • What do you like most about MiSGMP?  MiSGMP has been a godsend to me.  I have met so many wonderful people, colleagues, and friends through this organization.  I was lucky enough to be able to serve on the MiSGMP Board for ten years and learned so much about the inner workings of a board, that without this organization, I may never have known.  I know I was a small part of the major growth of MiSGMP over those years, and it feels good to be a part something so good!  MiSGMP is like a family to me.  Everyone is so welcoming and fun to be around.  It is my favorite group to be a member of.  And now with my role changing and being the AEC Chairperson, I get to stay connected in another capacity.  MiSGMP is a wonderful group of women and men who are top notch in their fields, what better group to be a part of.

Back to top

Upcoming Events


October 16, 2019  |  11:30am - 2:00pm

Urban Beat
1213 Turner Street, Old Town Lansing, MI  48906

From creating compelling narratives for communications, to developing quality relationships with suppliers, to designing emotionally powerful events, this session will provide insights and a set of easy to apply and practical tools for quality and innovation improvement.

GMS Core Competency:  Technology

Back to top

Community Service

Thank you to everyone who so generously supported our Buddy Bench project during the August MiSGMP meeting at Embassy Suites in Grand Rapids. The total collected was nearly $50.00 towards getting a Buddy Bench placed at an early childhood center or school. We will continue to collect until we have enough to purchase the bench. For more information on the Buddy Bench, click here

In December we will be supporting Human Trafficking Victims - stay tuned for more information. We will also continue to decorate bags for Kids Food Basket in Grand Rapids:

THANK YOU for your continued generosity.  It is what makes Michigan SGMP the best organization!

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

Back to top

Contact Address - Check Your Records!

Hi Members,

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

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

Back to top

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].



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