October 2019 Print

MiSGMP e-Reel


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President's Pen

President’s Pen – October 2019

At the October MiSGMP meeting there was a mini silent auction of Halloween items – $368 was raised for our scholarship fund – thank you to everyone who bid! There will be a mini silent auction at the December meeting with all proceeds going to our scholarship fund. Remember the motto – bid early, bid often, bid high!

SGMP’s National Education Conference (NEC) is May 19-21 in St. Louis, MO. The SGMP 2020 NEC Scholarship Application will be on the SGMP website ( on November 3, the submission deadline is December 3. Our chapter also awards scholarships for NEC but applicants must first have applied to NEC for a scholarship and, if a NEC scholarship is partially awarded or not awarded, one can then apply to MiSGMP for a NEC scholarship.

The MiSGMP Annual Education Conference (AEC) is March 18-20 at the Crowne Plaza in Grand Rapids. Scholarships are also available for AEC; the scholarship application will be posted on the MiSGMP website ( in mid-January. The ‘regular’ annual silent and live auctions will take place at AEC. Please begin thinking about what you can donate, as well as what individuals or businesses you can solicit donations from. Again, 100% of the proceeds from all of our auctions fund scholarships for our members to attend AEC and NEC.

At the 2020 AEC the new Zenith Award will be awarded. The purpose of the Zenith Award is to recognize a MiSGMP member’s dedication and contributions to MiSGMP in a leadership role. The Zenith Award is awarded annually to one planner and to one supplier, when there are eligible nominees. Please visit to read about the nominee criteria and the process.

Please visit the MiSGMP website, to download the flyer and mark the dates on your calendars! Our annual special event this year is June 17, an education session and bowling extravaganza at Evergreen Resort and The Pines Sports Bar and Bowling Center in Cadillac.

I look forward to seeing you at our next MiSGMP monthly meeting on November 20th at Motor City Casino-Hotel in Detroit.  The meeting topic is What is a CVB? An Overview of the Who, How, What, Where and Why of Your CVB Partners. The competency area is Facilities and Services.

Happy Fall!
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

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Membership Report

New Member(s)
 •  Kristen Ablitz, Kensington Hotel on State Street, Ann Arbor

New Member Transfer(s)
Madi Sholtz, CMHAM (for Annette Pepper)

Anniversary Reminders for November
Laura Ayan, Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Airport
Katie DeWeerd, Shoreline Inn & Conference Center
 •  Mary Estrada, Retiree
Stephanie Kelly, Westin Southfield
 •  Jennifer Leo, Hilton Garden Inn Detroit Downtown
 •  Tammy Novak, MDHHS/Office of Workforce Development and Training
 •  Tom O’Connor, Holiday Inn & Suites Mt. Pleasant
 •  Patrick Potyraj, Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids
 •  Stephanie Rathbun, Michigan Public Health Institute
 •  Kristen Taylor, Ngage Management
 •  Lynette Uribe, Holiday Inn Midland
 •  Stephanie Watson, DZWS Luxury Meetings, Conferences & Events

If your name is on the above list with an expiration date of November, 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.

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.
  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.

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


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Member Spotlight

Introducing MiSGMP’s SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT for October ...

Clarissa Lange 

Embassy Suites Grand Rapids Downtown

  • A little bit about where I grew up:  I grew up and lived in beautiful Bay City my whole life until 2017 when my family moved to Grand Rapids.
  • Favorite vacation spot:  My favorite vacation spot is anywhere in northern Michigan during the summer on a lake with a cold drink in my hand.
  • What do you like most about being a supplier?  The best part about being a supplier is getting to meet to so many different personalities in the meeting planner world.
  • What do you like most about MiSGMP?  MiSGMP is a fun way to meet planners without feeling like you have to be selling to them. You can make genuine connections with planners and they may not be able to use your space this year for an event, but with the connections they may think of you first for the following year.
  • Thoughts regarding the industry:  The industry is changing and growing with lots of new hotels in Grand Rapids but the Embassy Suites Grand Rapids Downtown is ready to be your next meeting choice!

Introducing MiSGMP’s PLANNER SPOTLIGHT for October ...

Maryanne Greketis     

Michigan Society of Association Executives

  • A little bit about where I grew up:  I was born Lansing, Michigan and have lived in the area my entire life. If you have ever seen the old sitcom “The Wonder Years” it is an accurate representation of my youth in a suburban subdivision on Lansing’s South side; great memories and I’m still close with many childhood friends.  Growing up I spent many summer weekends on Crystal Lake in Carson City at the sailing club where I raced my Sunfish Sailboat named Trouble; the name should have been an indicator to my success!  I went to Harry Hill High School, (was the last class to graduate before it was converted to a Vocational School) and then LCC and Cornerstone University.  Although I did not attend MSU, my sister, brother, two cousins, and both my daughters are all alumni and I’m proud to be a Spartan fan; however, I live in a “House divided” with one of those fans from Ann Arbor, there is hope for him yet!  My family has been involved in Civil War Living History my entire life, which has given me a broad perspective of history, introduced me to amazing people all over the country, and makes for an interesting conversation when you try to explain what you do for a hobby!
  • Favorite vacation spot:  Any location in Michigan, Northern Virginia, Great Britain, (Love Bath, England!) New Orleans, and wherever my two full time Military daughters and their families happened to be stationed including: Hawaii, Colorado, Kentucky, Washington DC, San Diego, and soon to be Germany.  I’m NOT a fan of Disney World or Las Vegas!
  • What do you like most about being a planner:  As the Career Enrichment Manager at MSAE, I love helping meeting professionals with their career development, education options, and resources so they can be the best at their jobs.  I’m also a logistics junkie…event design and planning are addicting; I enjoy all aspects, to the point I drive my family a little crazy at times as well when it comes to holidays, weddings, baby showers…etc.!
  • What do you like most about MiSGMP?  Relationships and the people! Having previously worked for a National Association, and working remotely from home, I did not have the connections with Michigan associations, planners or suppliers. MiSGMP has given me the opportunities to grow my Michigan network and introduced me to talented, dedicated meeting professionals.  I have to say after many years of working in a National Market, being here in Michigan at MSAE and a member of MiSGMP feels like I have come home.

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Upcoming Events

CVB 411
November 20, 2019  |  11:30am - 2:00pm

Motor City Casino Hotel
2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit, MI

What is a CVB?  How do I contact them?  What do they do and how can they help me?  An overview of the who, how, what, where, and why of your CVB partners.

Presenter Stacy Yerby, Michigan Meetings Manager and Staff, Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau

GMS Core Competency:  Facilities & Services

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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

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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

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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].

GMS  Up for Renewal ...

August 31, 2019 | Anissa Damon | Michigan Public Health Institute
November 30, 2019 | Pamela Frankenberger | Home Builders Association of MI
January 31, 2020 | Anisa Mazuca | Michigan Works! Association
April 30, 2020 | Amy Castner | State Bar of Michigan
April 30, 2020 | Tracy Sproul | State Bar of Michigan

Renewing of your GMS constitutes completing a renewal application - and having 20 contact hours from the last five years of your expiration date. You can review your attendance through MiSGMP by logging in and then going under Member Area to View My Order History. This will show all the attendance with MiSGMP.

Thank you, Debbie Kopkau

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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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