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What SGMP has meant to our members throughout the past 40 years.

What SGMP has meant to our members throughout the past 40 years.



36.  Johnna Meyer, Golden State Chapter

My connection with SGMP began in 1987 when a flyer in my “In Box” announced a Saturday workshop sponsored by the San Francisco SGMP Chapter.  How could I imagine then a wonderful 20+ year SGMP relationship.  I was honored to be the first President of the Sacramento Chapter, a National President, and CMP.  The knowledge gained through SGMP education seminars I transferred to my government career.  Most important, is the lasting friendships I developed through networking with fellow SGMP members.  I truly believe you get out of an organization what you put in. Put in the time—it is a win-win!  



35.  Kim Kizer, Texas Lone Star Capital Chapter

I have been a member of SGMP Texas Lone Star Capital Chapter for over 20 years and have gained so much knowledge about the meetings industry. The Texas Lone Star Chapter is planning to meet in person in October and you can bet that I will be the first one to sign up! I have also served my Chapter in many different capacities, as I believe that's how you get the most out of an organization—through stepping up to serve on a committee and certainly the Board.
SGMP has introduced me to many, many dear friends throughout the years—both planners and suppliers and to this day, those are the relationships that I treasure. I've learned first hand how important those friendships are because I went to my first in-person industry event last week. Wow—it was FABU to be able to hug my friends that I haven't seen or talked to in 15 months and to have a face to face conversations. Speaking of conversations, I'm a bit sad that I won't be able to attend the NEC this year, because I love seeing my friends from the other chapters. The National Education Conference is consistently stellar because it's always a fantastic opportunity to learn, talk with your peers and enjoy seeing those friends that you haven't seen in over a year.
Thank you SGMP for being such an outstanding organization full of members that ignite the meetings industry! I salute you all!


34.  Marie Arighi, CHSP, CMP, CGMP, Rocket City Alabama Chapter


I am very honored to have been a member of SGMP since the year 2000 (21 years)!!!  I had recently started my position at the Von Braun Center and I wanted to attend the NEC in May of that year.  I reached out to the Atlanta Chapter (closest chapter to me at the time) about becoming a member.  The membership chair at the time was Sharon Dickerson who was very instrumental in getting me involved.  I am very proud to say that we are still friends… which is truly the essence of SGMP the friendships made through the years.  I remained a member of the Atlanta Chapter for many years until the Tennessee Chapter chartered and I moved my membership.  Just a few short years later (2009) a group of us in Huntsville chartered the Rocket City Alabama Chapter.  
 
I attended the NEC in 2000 and have only missed two – when the date conflicted with the graduation of my daughters.   The Education and Networking is priceless!!!  My favorite picture is the collage of Jo Seay and I seventeen years apart at the NEC in the same city, same conference and same reception!!! 
 
I have had the privilege of serving on the local board and the National Board (which I just recently rolled off).   SGMP also provided me with one of my greatest career accomplishments – the Sam Gilmer Supplier of the Year award. 
 
This year SGMP celebrated 40 years in my hometown – Huntsville, AL!!!


33.  Cr
ystal Mappes, Oklahoma Chapter

I joined the North Texas Chapter of SGMP as an Oklahoma government planner in 1996. Yes, you can do the math, that was 25 years ago. And no, we didn't have a chapter in Oklahoma at that time.  The passion members shared about SGMP was contagious so I anxiously served on the North Texas Chapter Board. I thought this would be a great learning experience for meeting planning but it was so much more.   The education SGMP provided was just the tip of advantages of being a member.  In 2001, I helped with the formation and charting of the Wild West Chapter, later changed to the Oklahoma Chapter.  Through SGMP, I learned how to connect with CVB's and member properties to help make my event planning much easier. Through SGMP, I have made life-long friendships with members from chapters coast-to-coasts.  I am so proud to be an active member of this awesome organization.
 


32.  Robert Nichols, TLSCC

?In 1998 the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) was recommended as an educational resource to support duties coordinating programs for state agencies.  SGMP has proved to be that positive guide toward more informed events resulting in outcomes that have exceeded expectations.  A national education conference offered a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) study guide that led to seriously considering, then successfully attaining this certification.  In addition to education, the opportunity to learn about the hospitality industry through association with many professionals, who guided and supported my event planning, has contributed to my becoming a better person.


31.  Maurine Hill, MOCAP Chapter (photo attached)
I ?Iearned of SGMP from another state employee who introduced me to the St. Louis Chapter in the mid-1990', later disbanded.  Later, I joined the Missouri Chapter and have been a member ever since.
Membership experiences over the years, include serving locally as Chapter Board President, Vice President, Secretary and Planner.  Have also served in the past as National Board 1st Vice President and Board Secretary. Over the years, established friendships, across the nation, and continue to take advantage of provided National available resources, events and local chapter education opportunities by in-person and/or webinars, attending leadership programs, and serving as National Board Secretary and First Vice President. Thank you, SGMP!


30.
Marilee Tretina, Old Dominion Chapter

When I joined SGMP in 2005, I had no idea the positive impact it would have on me personally and professionally.   The educational programs delivered at chapter meetings and NEC, have provided me with knowledge and skills that are recognized by my management and co-workers. Being able to reach out to a network of colleagues has been an immeasurable benefit of membership. Best of all is being a member of an organization that is filled with extroverts, like me!  SGMP Ignite!



29. Stacy Albrecht, Northern Lights Chapter

SGMP has always been family to me. The connections I have made are friends more than business contacts. When I need to find a location for meeting, ASAP, they have been there for me; when I need to know about new technology, they have put me in touch with knowledgeable suppliers; and when we have gone to National Conference, I have grown to know them better and learned along side of them. If you are new to SGMP, getting involved will help you develop not only professionally, but personally Attend a National Conference for not only education, but also, to see new ideas and make great contacts.


28.  Lagina Fitzpatrick, CMP, CHSC, Missouri Capital Chapter

Happy 40th SGMP!! Proud to say I have been a SGMP member for more than 20 of those years! What SGMP means to me- Education, Leadership, Mentors, Networking, Friendships, and Community!

I tend to jump into everything headfirst and SGMP was no different. I quickly become involved on the local level being active on committees. SGMP helped turn my career into a 34-year passion, and taught me leadership skills I could not have received anywhere else! The knowledge the organization has brought me is priceless as are the countless friendships! NEC is a true family reunion!!

I am proud have served on the local board as well as on the National Board and humbled to be a past recipient of the Sam Gilmer Award. Stay strong SGMP and keep moving forward!!

27.  Ruth Harris, CMP, CTAS, CGMP current Golden State chapter member, formaer Georgia Peach chapter member

I was introduced to the Atlanta  (Georgia Peach) Chapter of SGMP in 1993.  After attending my first NEC in the snow in Kansas City, MO; I WAS ALL IN!
 
Soon I worked on the chapter board as Secretary and then Vice President.  I served as Program Committee, Newsletter Editor, Membership, Awards, Community Service and  Chapter President.  SGMP became my family and working for the chapter was something I enjoyed and loved.  After serving on the national board for six years, my SGMP FAMILY now includes members all over the country.
 
It has been my honor, pride and joy to work to increase membership, develop leaders, promote education, professionalism and visibility of this great organization that has helped me be successful at my job and the industry at large.  Among all of the industry associations, SGMP is always described as a FAMILY.  Over the years we worked hard and played hard and SGMP has given me as much as I've given It and I'm still ALL IN FOR SGMP!


26.  Jim Zukowski, CGMP Emeritus

SGMP has been very instrumental in developing my growth and experiences in the meeting planning arena.  Through SGMP and being on the national SGMP Board of Directors, I have a better understanding of the constraints, as well as the potential that hoteliers can provide the government meeting planner.  SGMP has given me a deeper understanding of the field of meeting planning and equipped government meeting planners with the essential tools necessary to effectively deal with a wide variety of suppliers.  Through SGMP, I have developed many valued and true friendships where we can rely on each other for further guidance.  I owe a lot to SGMP!


25.  Colleen Flage,  SGMP Central Florida Chapter

Joy. SGMP brings joy. When opening board meetings or welcoming guests to a programming session, I would often share that the time I spend with SGMP is my fun time.  I am blessed to do what I love and be surrounded by gracious people who share the same passion in creating moments and memories that are impacting our world in a positive manner.  My SGMP colleagues are my go-to references when unique questions come up, when I need to bounce around ideas, or simply when I need an empowering coach.  After going to NEC (National Education Conference) I am inspired, motivated, and reenergized to never stop learning and constantly look for ways to help improve the meeting planning industry. We rise by lifting others, and our members are always willing to reach out and say, “let me know what I can do for you.”  A simple and yet powerful statement that brings humanity joy.


24.  Carolyn Barrett, Louisiana Chapter

SGMP has been part of my life for over 25 years and has seen me through moves across the country.
SGMP has given me a lifetime of memories and forever friendships in the five chapters where I was honored to be a member.  It gave me the confidence to create and conduct workshops and to speak in front of 900 people at a NEC.  SGMP taught me how to be a better team member and how to handle myself in any situation.
After attending my first NEC in Tampa, I would have never dreamed I would serve on the chapter level, on the GIL, the National Board, win the President's Award and the Gilmer Supplier of the Year.
It has been a wonderful adventure and I am thankful for SGMP and my many amazing friends across the country.


23.  Lynette Schnick, Rocky Mountain Chapter

2021 marked my 33rd year as a member of SGMP.  What I hope people take away from hearing that, is there must be some reason why I've chosen to stay in SGMP for over 30 years.  SGMP does feel like family to me. I've made my closest friends through SGMP and have kept them in my life for these years.  Through my level of involvement, I've traveled throughout the U.S., I've developed skills that established me as an expert in an area that very few in Colorado state employees had, before the existence of the CGMP; an expert in meeting planning. I was the first Certified Meeting Professional in Colorado state government. Through SGMP, I developed leadership skills. Not just by attending leadership training sessions, but from “on the job training,” through serving on the chapter and national board.  I was able to apply those skills on the job, and moved up into management classifications.  SGMP's ““SGMP, My Professional Home”, couldn't be more appropriate for me.  My hope for our members is that they will take everything that SGMP has to offer—to make it your professional home and consider a leadership role for yourself. We have many choices of professional associations to choose from, and I'm glad I chose SGMP as My Professional Home.


22.  Pat Burch, Founding Member of SGMP & Rocket City Alabma Chapter


SGMP – A RELFEXTION OF 40 YEARS

It's a large meeting room with very long brown curtains holding back the sun.  Not many familiar faces, I'd only been in the DC area for six months, after six years in the Baltimore market.   Somehow though I got the call from Dave DuBois about something new, something wonderful and an invitation to be part of it. 
 
From that day in 1981 I associated with SGMP as a hotelier, planning for new chapters and then as an educator bringing students to see the “client-side”.  My SGMP membership has always been valued, but it has truly been a benefit as I moved the Huntsville, AL in 2018 and joining the Rocket City Chapter; Instant acceptance, involvement and friendship. 
 
Yes, Dave, it is – even after 40 years, something wonderful.

21.  Alex Lichtenstein,  National Capital Chapter

SGMP has been an organization that has brought me knowledge, friendships, and networking experiences beyond belief.  In my 25 years with SGMP, I have learned, I have taught, and I have developed friends and business partners that will last a lifetime. I will cherish each and every one of those. I will always treasure SGMP and what they have done and continue to do for Government Meeting Professionals. 



20.   Annette Wallace, National President 2021-2023

I joined SGMP in 2006 shortly after becoming the event planner for the Missouri Department of Economic Development.  My membership with SGMP has been priceless and the best thing I ever did.  I could not have been as successful in my career without the education and networking opportunities SGMP has provided.  Especially this past year, planning a hybrid or virtual event was challenging.  I watched webinars, read countless articles, and networked with others, all available through SGMP.    
 Even better are the lifelong friendships I've made.  I look forward to attending the NEC in Huntsville in September for the 40th Anniversary Celebration.  I can't wait to see old friends, make new ones, and hope to welcome some long overdue hugs. 
Happy 40th Anniversary SGMP!

19. Carla Cannonito, CGMP, National Capital Chapter

Delighted to have this opportunity to speak about the kinship, alliance and bond that SGMP membership has meant to me over the past 16 years.
Having joined as part of my career duties, I soon realized that the membership of professionals of SGMP National and my NATCAP chapter was more than a “duty”. 
Remember the American Express commercial—“Membership has its benefits”?
So does SGMP—I found a level of commitment, dedication to education, drive for continued success and honor in the Government's cadre of meeting planner professionals.  I found a spirit and offer of partnership from this organization that wasn't found elsewhere.  In light of -shall we say- “dynamic” times in the industry, I saw resilience, rejuvenation, and a retrofit of our members, their craft, their dedication to both fellow planners and suppliers. 

SGMP is a force with which to be reckoned and one that has become a family.  From celebrations, conferences, chapter meetings, social media engagement and sadly, loss of dear member friends—the Society of Government Meeting Professionals carries their mission commitment with them to our organization.

All summed up, SGMP means allegiance and a bond above all to serve our sector and industry. 

18.  Patty Barron, CGMP, Rocket City Chapter, Past Sam Gilmer Trustee

“Grateful” is the first word that comes to mind, for the SGMP leadership, membership and opportunities.  My service at the chapter, regional and national levels were wonderful experiences, allowing me to consider broader perspectives, think outside the box and improve my communication skills to address and resolve various issues.  More than once I witnessed a problem become an opportunity that benefitted the chapter and association.  In a nutshell, my participation in SGMP activities maximized my membership and resulted not only in gleaning some great ideas and suggestions, but also resulted in enduring friendships.  For me, the cherry on top was earning the Certified Government Meeting Professional designation.



17.  Kathleen Ryan, CGMP,  National Capital Chapter


Hello colleagues!   When I joined the NATCAP chapter in 2004, I quickly joined the membership committee hoping it would help me network and meet folks.  Well, did it ever!   In addition to outreach, I ‘manned' the registration table -- marvelous way to meet everyone!  Over the years I joined other committees as well as national committees.  The ONE reoccurring theme has been vastly expanding my network and many friendships!  The wealth of information I have learned from you has been incredible and I'm so appreciative.  Friendship|Networking|Education – what SGMP is to me! 



16.  Jan T
hor, CMP, Pacific Northwest Chapter Immediate Past President and former National Board Member.

Thirty-six year ago, I joined SGMP…and I never left!  Why?  Because SGMP did what it said it would do.  It provided the Education, Networking, and Resources I needed to produce quality and cost-effective meetings for my Federal agency.  AND SO MUCH MORE!  Through the years, the Education has remained state-of-the-art and always on point to what is happening in the industry at the time; the Networking and Resources have provided a National base of colleagues who, at my asking, offere advice and recommendations in all areas of meeting planning and management to help me do my job better.  I have enjoyed leadership roles in the organization--having served on numerous Chapter committees, and on my Chapter Board, as well as on numerous National committees, and on the National Board—which has been a highlight of my membership and a true joy to me both professionally and personally.    And the friends…. oh, the wonderful friends!  Thank you SGMP, and congratulations on 40 YEARS!



15.  Myron L. Jones, North Carolina Chapter

I have been a member of SGMP for 18-years and the information I receive on a continuous basis is very helpful, current, and educational. I have served in multiple positions in my NCSGMP Chapter and it is amazing how timely the information I impart is due to the proactiveness of our social media team. I joined SGMP during my first year in the tourism industry and by doing so, I've met some of the greatest professionals and many have become lifelong friends and mentors. SGMP allowed me to expand my knowledge of planning meetings and my attention to detail is amazing.


14. Joyce Fogg, Old Dominion Chapter
Being a part of SGMP has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life, both professionally and personally.   As I became active and involved in the Old Dominion Chapter, I learned many new things about meeting planning.  I met people who could mentor and show me how industry leaders, especially in the Convention and Visitors Bureaus, as well as fellow members in the association, could assist me in accomplishing super meetings.  The educational programs and tips from fellow members have been invaluable.  The networking is an atmosphere of learning and mentoring.
SGMP friends are forever. 


13.  Michelle D. Hawkins, Old Dominion Chapter

Becoming a member of SGMP has been one of the best decisions that I have made in my professional career.  As a lifelong learner it is important for me to continue learning to advance my craft and take events to the next level.  For me SGMP is more than planning events and conferences, it is education, networking, building relationships, and family.  Through my chapter I have had the opportunity to serve on my local board, chair numerous committees and earn my CGMP.  Cultivating these opportunities has allowed me to form numerous professional and personal relationships with members from across the various chapters. 

12. Donna Carey, National President, (2002 - 2007)
"Congratulations SGMP on your 40th Anniversary"

Upon joining SGMP in 1988 who would have ever thought that I would have been an integral part of an association for over 23 years. There are not enough words to express what it meant to me or the experiences and knowledge I have gained. Fortunate to have served in all positions at the Local and National level (some twice) and on the Educational Foundation too. Inspire, persevere, professional are but a few memorable words but also exciting, enthusiastic, and educational are also mine! And, now retired for almost 10 years, I am still using all those same words...traveling the world!
 

11.  Claudette M. Ferris, Rocky Mountain Chapter


SGMP was such a big part of my life for more than 30 years! I came into the organization as a young, very novice meeting planner—didn't know a thing! But through SGMP, I learned leadership skills I never knew I had and became the “meeting planner expert” in my department. In 2011, I was honored to receive the Sam Gilmer Planner of the Year! That was one of my greatest achievements in SGMP, as well as receiving numerous awards in my own Rocky Mountain Chapter. SGMP became my second family. Even though I am now retired (and loving it), I keep my membership so I can stay involved with a wonderful, professional organization. I will always be grateful to SGMP for teaching me so much and for making lifelong friendships.



10.  Beth Miller-Tipton, CMP, Central Florida Chapter

 
I joined SGMP as a supplier in 1989 — that is not a typo! I made valuable connections with potential customers, but quickly learned SGMP is not just about leads and contracts. I benefited by opportunities to give presentations and learn while teaching others. I volunteered on committees, organized events, and served on the chapter board and later, at the national lev
el. SGMP allowed me to further my career and connect with professionals from around the country, while building relationships along the way. SGMP is not just about growing business. It is about educating members, cultivating leaders, and strengthening the credibility of our industry. I am thankful to be a member.


9. C.B. Wooldridge, National Capital Chapter
I have been a member of SGMP/NATCAP for 30 years. The experience is a genuine tribute to/and celebration of the art, science, skill, talent and leadership in planning, and in event management. Participation on various committees and projects are recognized with certificates, plaques and trophies, of which I have my share.

The experience inspired me to have my own Event Management Business after retirement, and to participate in GWU's Event Management Certificate program.

With my funny hats, sun glasses, neckties, costumes, and my “Every Day is a Special Event “ Calendar, I remain a theme looking for a venue! https://bit.ly/39Pwtnr #sgmpignite #sgmp40th

 


8. Michelle Fink, Arizona Chaper

?I have been involved with the Arizona Chapter of SGMP for 13 years.  Since my first 2006 meeting, I have been hooked on SGMPAZ meetings and the members.   We have wonderful speakers on hospitality education topics and how to develop great leadership skills.  I experienced working on the Board for 10 years in every capacity or position that needed a leader.   Loving every minute and feeling like I was part of a successful business.   The SGMPAZ relationships established with suppliers and planners have given me important working relationships in every corner of the State and throughout the nation.  You can't put a price on that!   These SGMP experiences have made me a valuable asset to my state agency and filled my life with wonderful people and exceptional experiences.  I can't wait to get back to face to face networking meetings, so I can see everyone again!  Go SGMP!
   


7. Brett Sterenson NATCAP Chapter, Former GIL and National Board Member

Few professional decisions I've ever made have been more rewarding or impactful as joining SGMP twenty years ago. I'm just now realizing that I've been a member for half of SGMP's existence! I came in a gregarious but green, unseasoned but eager, young sales person and find myself now one of the association's dependable, wise, and entrusted veterans who has run his own business since 2007. Without the career-long enrichment of SGMP, I would not enjoy half the success I've enjoyed. My time serving both locally and nationally have instilled in me faith in my instincts, the zeal to lead people and a cause, and to trust when it's time to let others take the reign. I'm so grateful to the organization and hope to be toasting to it again in another twenty years. SOLD!


6. Ki
m Blanding, Greater Oregon Chapter and former National Board Member
I am appreciative of all that SGMP has given me over the years in terms of friendships, education, and confidence in what I know and what I will learn. I have also
been appreciative of those who have encouraged me to run for office because of what I would bring to the table and the value in what I learned from those experiences. For me personally, all of it put together is priceless -- the lifelong friendships, working relationships, and education (and the laughter). I am so grateful I have been able to be part of SGMP.

 

5.  Susan Shaffette,  Louisiana Chapter Immediate Past President


SGMP has been a gem for me in professionalism, resources and education. As a contracted planner that is focused primarily on the government sector, adding the CGMP to our credentials has validated our knowledge in the eyes of clients. We've been able to leverage our team's SGMP memberships and our CGMP certifications into increased contracts and sole source notifications. From a personal point, the contacts and friends across the country have been fun and a great knowledge bank for information. I am dedicated to being an active member and consider my membership to be an invaluable asset.

 

4.  Chris McLaughlin, CGMP, SGMP National Treasurer/ NATCAP Chapter Member
 

True fulfillment is always in journey rather than the destination.  This completely describes my two decades of membership with SGMP.  The learnings,  xperiences and lifelong friendships that I have made over the years has me a stronger professional as well as a better person.  To me SGMP is so much more than a professional society, it is a family.  I look forward to a bright future with SGMP.


3.  Kit Gonzales, CGMP, Immediate Past President, SGMP/Golden State Chapter

     National Pres Awards: 2004, 2017, Two Chapter POY awards:
     2004, Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area


 100% because of SGMP, I've enhanced personal skills in areas of leadership, mentoring, networking, meeting planning, communicating, as well as making MANY life-long friendships.   I've had the good fortune to attend 20 national education conferences since 1997, was twice honored with the National President's Award of Merit, and was honored as Planner of the Year in two different chapters - in the same year.  My employer supported my membership as well, and honored me (as part of a team) with a state government award of recognition.  So, yes, I'd say that SGMP has given me some worthwhile opportunities!  

CONGRATULATIONS ON 40 YEARS, SGMP!  




2.  Melody Kebe, SGMP Past National President, NATCAP Chapter Member

"SGMP has played a major role in my career and is considered a "life-link" to my becoming a successful leader, both in my personal and professional development.  In 1991, a supplier member introduced me to SGMP.  Although the individual is no longer a member I have made everlasting friendships with across the Society.  Being a member of the SGMP family has taught me that there is always someone I can call on, rely on and is available whenever I need to reach out.  SGMP is in my blood, forever!"   





1.  Michelle Milligan, SGMP National President 2019-2021, Michigan Chapter Member

Recently, I had the pleasure to hear former National President Sandi Lynn speak at our Joint Leadership Meeting, she re-coined our acronym of SGMP to So Great More Please!! This truly encompasses what SGMP means to me. That So Great More Please includes serving as your National President, which has been the highlight of my tenure. Closest to my heart are the friendships I have made over the years which will last a lifetime. Those relationships also include networking with SGMP members across the country, I can always find a member for site ideas or hotel recommendations. I have also gain significant knowledge from our Chapter and National education programs. So, what does SGMP mean to me So Great More Please! 

 

Contributors