We Are With You: 2020 NEC Update, Virtual Education & Staying in Touch

Stay abreast of the latest developments related the NEC and virtual education on this page which chronicles the latest SGMP statements, updates, and resources related to the coronavirus epidemic. The National Education Conference, which was scheduled for May 19-21, 2020, in St. Louis, Missouri has been cancelled but 2020 NEC Virtual is in the works!
Image of a virusLast Updated 4/16/20 1:50PM EST


April 14, 2020 -  Celebrate GMID Virtually with SGMP; NEC Goes Virtual, SGMP Strong Check-in Announced
Happy Global Meetings Industry Day! Although this year's GMID looks a little different and many of us are working virtually, we are resilient and our industry will come back stronger than ever.
Don't forget to join us this evening for our GMID Twitter Chat – 7:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm CT / 5:00 pm MT / 4:00 pm PT. Use the hashtag, #GMIDSGMP to join the party. If you want to peek at the Twitter questions, check out the Facebook event. We will be discussing working and meeting virtually. Be sure to follow us at @SGMPHQ.
I will be hosting a new SGMP Strong check-in for all SGMP members via Zoom video call this Friday, April 17th at 7 pm EST, so we can support one another and share advice and resources. Bring your best ideas and let's connect. Visit
I'm pleased to announce the 2020 NEC Virtual! Plans are in the works to hold a virtual version of the National Education Conference featuring multiple speakers over three days, May 19-21, 2020, including the much anticipated Annual Sam Gilmer Awards Celebration on Wednesday evening May 20th. More details will be coming soon!
And in other positive news, the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, of which SGMP is a member, recently did a survey that shows what we've long known: face-to-face meetings are valuable to people, businesses, government and communities. The survey found that 83% of Americans currently forced to work from home say they miss attending in-person meetings and conventions. As important, 78% say they plan to attend as many or more when the threat of COVID-19 passes and it is safe to do so.
We know this is an unprecedented time for everyone, and we want to reassure you SGMP is here for you, and we are committed to fulfilling our mission. Stay healthy, safe and positive. While we are apart now, we will be together again soon!
SGMP Ignite!
Michelle A. Milligan, CGMP
National Board President
Society of Government Meeting Professionals

April 7, 2020 - We Are With You: 2020 NEC Update, Virtual Education & Staying in Touch

During this time of uncertainty and instability, all of us here at SGMP want you to know that you are in our thoughts and our hearts. It's been an unprecedented time for everyone. And we want to reassure you that SGMP is here for you, and we are committed to fulfilling our mission to help you all now—and in the days to come.

2020 NEC Announcement
The National Board of Directors was looking forward to converging, convening and collaborating at the 2020 NEC with you, all of our SGMP friends and supporters. As you are aware, the upheaval to our normal business and personal lives is beyond compare right now due to the coronavirus. As the health and safety of our members, sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, scholars, speakers and supporters is our highest priority, the SGMP National Board has made the very difficult decision to cancel this year's National Education Conference, which was scheduled for May 19-21, 2020, in St. Louis, Missouri.

We very much appreciate our St. Louis partners—Explore St. Louis, the America's Center and the Marriott St. Louis Grand—for understanding our need to do this. We will continue to work with our St. Louis partners to plan another NEC in their beautiful and fun city!

If you registered for the 2020 NEC, we thank you for signing up early! We are offering the option to rollover your registration fee to the 2021 NEC, May 18-20, 2021 (location to be announced soon), or you can receive a full conference refund. Please use the red button below to connect to the form you'll need to complete to let us know your choice of the two options—rollover or refund. Please complete the form as soon as possible, but no later than Sunday, May 31, 2020. Refunds will be processed within 3-4 weeks of receiving your form. If you do not complete the form by May 31, your 2020 NEC registration will be refunded in full at that time.

Virtual Education Now and in the Future
Plans for more virtual education are in the works! Take some time and check out our pre-recorded webinars, available 24/7 in our webinar library, located on our website when you log into your membership account. And, you can sign up for our next live webinar on April 28th, which is open to members and guests.

A special, virtual SGMP annual awards celebration is being planned, too! So, be on the lookout for that announcement in the near future.

Membership Assistance During COVID-19 
The National Board has approved a membership grace period extension of 90 days. If you are unable to pay your dues by your membership renewal date, your membership will go into a grace period of 90 days. However, if you are still able to do so, we ask that you continue to renew your membership before your expiration date. If you have questions on your renewal dates or payment options, please contact us at 

Stay Connected with SGMP
If you or a fellow SGMP member colleague has been furloughed or laid off, please ask them to log in to their SGMP membership account and add a secondary email and phone number, so we can ensure they receive correspondence and announcements from SGMP. If they are unable to access their account, please contact us at or call us at 703-549-0892 and we can add the secondary contact information.

We are Here for You
Your SGMP National Board, Gilmer Institute of Learning Trustees, SGMP chapter leaders, national staff and colleagues are looking forward to reconnecting via in-person meetings and virtual options in the near future.

For now, our hearts go out to our members, colleagues, families and those affected by the coronavirus in large and small ways. If there is anything we can do to help you, we hope you will reach out to us at or 703-549-0892. Our staff is currently working remotely from home, so if you don't reach a live voice when you call, please leave a message with your phone number so we can call you back!

Stay healthy, safe and positive!

Michelle A. Milligan, MSW, LMSW, CGMP
National Board President, SGMP

Pamela A. Valenzuela, CAE
Executive Director, SGMP

March 16, 2020
The health and well-being of our members, government agencies and the communities we serve is of utmost importance. However, the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented challenges for in-person meetings because of the risk of spreading the virus. The Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) National Board, staff and partners are committed to monitoring the latest advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), local health authorities, event venues, partners and our members to plan for a safe way forward.

We have officially postponed our CGMP courses through the CDC's recommended 8 weeks, even though these classes are much smaller than 50 attendees. We are working with our St. Louis partners to determine the best course of action for the 2020 NEC, as the CDC recommends no gatherings of 50 people or more for 8 weeks. Updates will be provided as soon as decisions are made. Please check back on this page for updates. 

We all have a role to play to limit the spread of contagious illnesses like coronavirus. We encourage you to help limit exposure to illnesses by following CDC's disease prevention guidelines.
As a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol – and rub your hands for at least 20 seconds with the hand sanitizer. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
We must all be vigilant about our current state of health and we encourage you to observe any travel restrictions from your physician, local health authority or employer. If you become ill or if attending an SGMP event would put your family or workplace at inordinate risk, we urge you to consider not attending. Here's a link to the CDC's Guidelines for Mass Gatherings.

Despite these troubling times, together, we can weather this storm while staying true to our mission to enhance and promote the expertise of government meeting professionals. If you have questions, please contact us at or 703-549-0892. Our SGMP staff are all working remotely, so if you do not reach someone immediately, rest assured your call will be returned. Below you'll find a list of resources for responding to the COVID-19 threat.
Michelle A. Milligan, MSW, LMSW, CGMP
National Board President, SGMP

Pamela A. Valenzuela, CAE
Executive Director, SGMP


April 14, 2020 - SGMP has announced that 2020 NEC Virtual will take place May 19-21, 2020. More details coming soon.
April 7, 2020 - SGMP has cancelled the 2020 NEC. Read more and request a refund. The 2021 NEC will take place May 18-20, 2020.

March 25, 2020 - SGMP's National Capital (NATCAP) chapter has announced they will move their Education Day to the fall. The Spring Soiree will be cancelled. In its place, they will be hosting virtual education sessions in April 7th and April 30th. A virtual Happy Hour will be held May 26th. Check their website for the details. 

March 25, 2020 - SGMP's Texas Lonestar chapter will be taking the Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) meeting on April 14 virtual. Learn more.

March 25, 2020 - SGMP's Louisiana chapter has cancelled its in-person  Government Meeting Planner Networking Mixer originally scheduled for April 2. The chapter is meeting for a Virtual Happy Hour to check in on each other. See Facebook for the meeting invitation

March 25, 2020 - SGMP's Pacific Northwest chapter has cancelled its April meeting. See more.

March 25, 2020 - SGMP's Old Dominion chapter has postponed its April meeting to the fall. Follow their website for details.

March 25, 2020 - SGMP's Rocky Mountain chapter has cancelled its April meeting. Virtual options to attend meetings are always available to members. See their website.

March 24, 2020 - SGMP's San Antonio Alamo chapter has cancelled its April 14th meeting. See the Facebook page for the latest.

March 24, 2020 - SGMP's Golden State chapter is postponing their April 2 chapter meeting until the regular scheduled chapter meeting on May 7. See their website.

March 24, 2020 - SGMP's Michigan chapter is cancelling April and May face-to-face meetings. The 2020 AEC, originally scheduled for March 18-20, is cancelled. It is scheduled for 2021 in Grand Rapids. Read more.

March 24, 2020 - SGMP's Florida Capital chapter has cancelled their March meeting. See website.

March 24, 2020 - SGMP's Northern Lights Minnesota chapter has cancelled its April meeting. See website.

March 24, 2020 - SGMP's Central Florida chapter is cancelling their April meeting. See their Facebook page for updates.

March 24, 2020 - SGMP's Greater Oregon chapter is cancelling their April meeting. See their events page.

March 24, 2020 - SGMP's Georgia Peach chapter is cancelling their April meeting. See their website.

March 23, 2020 - SGMP's North Carolina chapter is cancelling their April and June (Education Day) meetings. See notice.

March, 2020 - SGMP's Arizona chapter is cancelling their March in-person meeting.

March 20, 2020 - SGMP National Headquarters has extended the nomination period for the 2020 Sam Gilmer Planner of the Year and Supplier of the Year awards for two additional weeks. The extended deadline is now Friday, April 3, 2020, at 5 pm ET. 

March 15, 2020 - SGMP's Oklahoma chapter has cancelled their April meeting. Follow them on Facebook.

Industry News

March 31, 2020 - Meetings Mean Business is encouraging meeting professionals to commit to taking action in your community and report about it

March 26, 2020 - Global Meetings Industry Day goes virtual hosted by Meetings Mean Business U.S., Canada, and India is trying to break a world record on April 14, 2020. The first-of-its-kind 90-minute webcast event is open to all meeting professionals. See more.

March 25, 2020 - Global Meetings Industry Day: Virtual Summit on April 14 and hosted by Meeting Planners International is also open to meeting professionals across the globe and will last 12 hours. Read more.

March 18, 2020 - Global Meetings Industry Day has been postponed. See more.


The following are resources we have curated to help our members as they address the threat of COVID-19 during their work on government meetings. 
Government Resources:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Organizes the U.S. response to the coronavirus threat with health updates, prevention and mitigation plans, and guidance for mass gatherings
U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs - Offers travel advisories and updates related to coronavirus. 
World Health Organization - Global surveillance and guidance to prevent and mitigate coronavirus.  Industry Resources:
American Society of Association Executives - curated roundup of coronavirus education and resources.
Events Industry Council - Coronavirus-related resources, including webinars such as “Critical insurance and legal considerations for event professionals.”
Meetings Mean Business Coalition - Toolkit for coronavirus preparedness and response.
U.S. Travel Association - Toolkit for emergency preparedness and response to COVID-19.