Category Archives: Misc Tidbits

Tidbits of information we think our readers may enjoy.

Super Bowl-Caliber Meetings

visit jacksonvilleEven when the Jaguars aren’t playing football, you can still have a ball with colleagues and clients at EverBank Field by holding a Super Bowl-caliber meeting or event at the stadium.

Because at EverBank Field, you can pretty much rent everything from the players’ locker room to the entire playing field for gatherings small and intimate or large and grand.

Speaking of grand, did you know that EverBank Field is home to the world’s largest scoreboard? That’s right, the ginormous video board sits high above brand new cabanas and swimming pools as part of a $63 million renovation, and is 60 feet high, 362 feet long, and contains 35.5 million LED bulbs. Now imagine giving a presentation or pitching your clients using that puppy.

Game over.

You can even arrange for appearances by Jaxson de Ville, the Jaguars’ mascot, and the ROAR, the Jaguars’ cheerleaders. Plus, you can sample catered food prepared by Levy Restaurants. So when the Jags aren’t putting in work on the field, the turf is all yours—all 160,000 square feet of it. Endzone to endzone, here’s a breakdown of what EverBank Field has to offer local businesses on the field and off.

Learn more about Visit Jacksonville.

IMEX America Sets New Records

The 3rd Presidential Debate held in Las Vegas last week took a back seat as IMEX America set new records all around the show! Hosted Buyer Group and escort, Maureen Pickell, ready to learn about Malaysia! Hosted Buyer Group and escort, Maureen Pickell, ready to learn about Malaysia!

Your intrepid blogger is happy to bring you the “show buzz” for this annual extravaganza’s sixth edition.  The “largest ever IMEX America” boasted more than 3,250 exhibitors representing 139 countries interacting with 3,000 buyers who participated in 60,000 individual appointments.

And, once again sponsored a group of Hosted Buyers to participate in the shows’ innovative agenda enabling them to:

  • Conduct up to a year’s worth of global business in only 2-3 days… without needing a passport
  • Learn from the best minds in the business during the Education sessions
  • Enjoy both professional and personal networking

Our corporate and association planners also participated in Group Appointments with supplier partners from the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism. “Onion” Report: 20 Meeting Tips for the Presidential Election Season

By Al Rickard, CAE

Planning your next conference is hard work every year, but this presidential election year presents a special challenge.

As political rules seem to go off the charts, you may have to issue your own set of rules for speakers and attendees at your next conference. Here’s a list to get you started:

1. Provide speaker guidelines noting prohibited topics, including wives, walls, immigrants, religion, deporting members, and body parts.

2. Association Board members must post their tax returns in the convention app and on bulletin boards in the registration area.

3. Provide a roped-off area in general sessions for disgruntled members to sit. Alert hotel security before the sessions start.

4. No “brokers” are allowed at the convention.

5. No counting delegates before the convention begins.

6. No yelling into the microphone.

7. Private email servers are not permitted in hotel rooms.

8. Themes are allowed, but “Make the Association Great Again” should be avoided.

9. Do not rant about “America winning again” at the international reception.

10. No spreading rumors among convention attendees that the secretary-treasurer has resigned.

11. Any speaker promising free association education programs throughout the year has to also present a way to pay for them.

12. Breakout speakers are not allowed to circulate “Attendee Violation” notices to get people to attend their sessions.

13. Do not Photoshop the head of the incoming chairman onto another body.

14. The amount of money the association paid for all keynote speakers and the transcripts of these speeches must be posted on the convention website.

15. Documentation of the last time the association budget was balanced must be posted in the convention app.

16. Do not refer to the association PAC as “Super.”

17. As a replacement to meditation sessions this year, classes in self-defense will be held in the Welcome Center.

18. Yoga may be done onstage at any time.

19. Only “adult arguments” are allowed in the case of disagreements.

20. Hugs are allowed!

Good luck with your conference in this election year. May civility prevail.

Al Rickard, CAE is president of Association Vision, a Washington, DC-area communications company;

A Worthy Cause

Equipment Connections for Children is proud to support Equipment Connections for Children (ECFC), a nonprofit organization that  connects costly adaptive equipment from special needs children who outgrow the equipment to children who need it.

Adaptive equipment allows for children to play, learn and grow in ways that are so important to their development.  In 2015, the organization received over 419 requests from families in need of this specialized equipment.

ECFC received 203 adaptive pieces through donations and equipped 154 families with the equipment they needed for their children.

We encourage you to support this cause by joining ECFC on May 10th for their annual donation day, called “Connect the Dots”! It is called Connect the Dots because they connect equipment that is not used to children who need it. Every piece of equipment makes a difference for each child.

No matter how big or small the donation is, every donation helps!

Donate here:


Association of Women in Events Announces Founding Board of Directors

The Association of Women in Events, a new organization launched in March 2015, has announced its founding board of directors. The association received over 65 applications for membership on the inaugural board, and founders spent several weeks vetting candidates for these important leadership roles. The Board of Directors is expected to guide the vision of the association throughout the first formative years and shape the community surrounding the organization.

The Association of Women in Events was founded by Carrie Abernathy, Tamela Blalock, Mas Tadesse Harris, Mary Higham, and Kiki Janssens. The mission of the organization is to provide women professionals in the meetings and events industry a place for sharing best practices, networking, professional development, career advancement and recognition. By the end of the 2015 year, AWE initiatives such as membership and education plan to be launched with the guidance and leadership of the board members.

“This specific group of board members are leaders in the events industry, and we feel each of them will truly encompass the mission of the organization and bring the association to life”, said co-founder Carrie Abernathy CMP, CEM, CSEP, “We are excited to start working on the future and building a community”.

The Founding Board of Directors will have one- and two-year roles. Board members were chosen from an array of fields to include media, government, corporate, and association markets. The board members represent several regions of the United States, with members hailing from Washington, D.C., Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas, Los Angeles, Orlando and Denver. The founding board of director’s first in-person meeting will take place at the Hilton Washington, D.C., on July 23, 2015. The official Founding Board of Directors roster is available at or email

Women Who Wine

Earlier this week, ConventionPlanit hosted a group of VIP meeting planners at an exclusive Women Who Wine event for some industry networking, great food and of course, wine!

Advisory Council Members Donna Jarvis-Miller & Betti Kelso with ConventionPlanit Co-Founder David Markham

Advisory Council Members Donna Jarvis-Miller & Betti Kelso with ConventionPlanit Co-Founder David Markham

The event was held at The Lorien Hotel & Spa, a Kimpton Hotel, in Alexandria, Virginia. The outdoor courtyard was the perfect setting for the evening.


ConventionPlanit Co-Founder Katherine Markham with Carrie Abernathy & Terri Mobley

The planners even had an opportunity to win door prizes, including a trip to the Monaco in Pittsburgh, spa services at The Lorien, and a custom Thank You Video for their next meeting.

Kim Lawrence & Margurite Leishman

Kim Lawrence & Margurite Leishman

Betti Kelso & Carolyn Pemberton

Betti Kelso & Carolyn Pemberton

A big thank you to everyone who attended the event, and to The Lorien Hotel & Spa for hosting!


Advisory Council Members Kasey McNeil, Betti Kelso & Leslie Zeck