It’s Not About the Alphabet Soup after My Name

June 30, 2016 marked my last official day as a member of the Meeting Professionals International Indiana Chapter Board of Directors and I couldn’t be more appreciative of the lessons learned and the opportunities afforded me throughout my decade of membership and service in MPI. When I started my career as a meeting planner with little to no experience in the events industry, I quickly realized that I needed a support network of peers to guide me along the way. I joined MPI in 2005 and have surrounded myself with the best and the brightest in this industry – and as the current Vice President of Training for LeadingAge Indiana I can say that it has paid off!

I have always been a firm believer in continuous professional development, after all it is what I do for my own association and what I hope to promote to the MPI Indiana Chapter members. I began my leadership journey back in 2009 when I received my CMP and then went on to obtain my Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2014. Now, as I stood at this crossroads in my career, I took time to seek out guidance from some of my mentors and one in particular challenged me to look for the next milestone in my career. That milestone is the Certificate in Meetings Management (CMM).

I know there are some skeptics who see certifications/certificates as simply an alphabet soup after your name, just another way to brag about what you’ve accomplished. And, if you obtain them simply for those reasons, then they are just that – a string of letters. But, if you look at them as part of this leadership journey designed to continually challenge yourself to grow both personally and professionally – they are so much more. The CMM is an intensive customized study program that incorporates a participatory training program from university professors associated with the Darden School of Business from the University of Virginia. This multi-phase program is about introspection as a leader and mastery of business and professional skills that reach far beyond simply planning meetings.

I knew that there was real meat behind those words as I received my first assignment – a leadership 360 inventory that requires you to really focus on your strengths and weaknesses, while also taking into account feedback from your peers, managers and direct reports. If you have never had the opportunity to participate in a 360 assessment, I highly recommend investing in the process.

Over the next several months I plan to share with you take-aways from my journey through the CMM program, in hopes that it will inspire you to look into taking the next step in your own leadership journey. The program may sound expensive, but it has always been my experience that when it comes to professional development you get what you pay for! And don’t forget to check out the scholarship opportunities available through the MPI Foundation. I am lucky enough to be the recipient of one these scholarships and in turn I want to share the good work that our MPI Foundation does by supporting the growth and advancement of MPI members.

I look forward to sharing my CMM journey with you and please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can answer any questions.

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