May 2017 Print

President's Report

Dear NATCAP Chapter Members,

I am thrilled to introduce our incoming Chapter Leaders who will be sworn-in at our May 17th Chapter Monthly Meeting.  These distinguished meeting professionals will serve you beginning July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2019.  I encourage you to reach out to them, introduce yourselves and find out more about why they answered the call to serve.

Incoming Board Members

President - Erika Noyes, CGMP, CMP

1VP - Necoya Tyson, CGMP

2VP - Ru Paster, CGMP

Secretary - Helene Lippe, CMP, HMCC

Treasurer - Shano Kapadia, CGMP

Director - Cheryl Gordon, CGMP

Director - Ruth Murphy , CMP

Director - Susan Frate, CGMP, CMP

Immediate Past President - Jesse Strauss, CMP

I want to thank the current board for their service and leadership over the last two years.   Erika Noyes, currently serving as First Vice President and Membership Chair, has led an incredible growth in membership after two prior years of steady decline.  Mary Kostovny, who departed the board in February as she transitioned out of the hospitality industry, served as the Second Vice President and Programs Chair bringing incredible speakers and topics to our monthly meetings.   We are grateful to Jill Blume with IGH for stepping in to fulfill the remaining months of Mary’s term.   Peg Thomas, a dedicated and longtime NATCAP Member, has served as our Secretary and champion on special projects large and small.  Reggie Clyburn recently stepped down after almost two years as NATCAP’s treasurer.   Tom Albrecht joined the Board mid-term and immediately stepped-up serving as a Director at Large.   I am thrilled that Ruth Murphy and Cheryl Gordon will continue their good work as part of the incoming board.  Ruth Murphy will continue leading the Communications Committee, and Cheryl Gordon who has led several new, exciting events will continue to lead Special Events.  Be on the lookout for several new networking opportunities later this year!     

Writing my final Letter from the President” is bittersweet as I look back on my own journey.  It has been an honor to lead this organization of dynamic and dedicated meeting professionals.   I am grateful for the opportunities to network and learn alongside you all – after all that is what SGMP is all about!  I hope to see many of you at our second-ever NATCAP Members-Only networking reception in Fort Lauderdale sponsored by Detroit Metro CVB.  



Jesse Strauss, CMP, CGMP, CVEP

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We hope that you are planning to attend this year's National Education Conference (NEC) being held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida from June 6-8.   You spoke, they listened: SGMP will have a new exciting format for this year's NEC.

  •   Attend educational sessions and events
  •   Earn contact hours
  •   Network with colleagues and suppliers
  •   And so much more!


The NEC is supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities. Collect pull tabs (e.g. tabs on soda and soup cans) and turn them into NATCAP at the May monthly Chapter Meeting or bring them to the NATCAP reception during the NEC on June 6 at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66. Help us win a future planner registration for a National event. The Chapter with the highest weight/pounds of pull tab wins!

You can also support Ronald McDonald House by brining toiletries to the 2017 NEC. 

Make plans NOW to attend the NEC in June. For more details on registration, hotel arrangements and supporting Ronald McDonald House charities please visit 



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Did You Know?

A Meeting Planner’s Perspective on Fort Lauderdale

- Peggy S. Thomas, CMP, CGMP

Meetings Director, General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc.

A great city will host SGMP’s upcoming NEC this June--Sunny Fort Lauderdale--and I wanted to share my perspective and experience on this great city in Florida. I have had the pleasure of working with Fort Lauderdale CVB and hotel representatives, and in my opinion, it is one of the best areas for Government meetings.

Where can an organization confirm and execute a 3-day conference with 1,500 attendees, 180 presentations, including 6 individual sessions and 2 poster sessions/300+ poster presenters, and at the same time provide breakfast and lunch AND a reception for all conference attendees? What about providing ground airport transfers for all meeting attendees, and ensuring that all housing reservations were handled securely? Let’s compound this by giving this destination less than five week planning/lead post contract signing. Yes, you’re reading correctly—Fort Lauderdale! With government restrictions and newly adopted policies that required strict adherence and utmost scrutiny, I had 5 weeks to work with the city to conduct a 1500 personnel meeting. The Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with the venue, provided full time support to ensure every minute detail was covered and ensured that everyone would walk away not only satisfied, but happy.

If you’re already registered for the NEC in Fort Lauderdale you’re in for an experience, both from the professional education perspective, as well as from the entire city of Fort Lauderdale.  If you’re not registered, please do so now by visiting the SGMP site ( If you’re considering Fort Lauderdale for an event, don’t give it a second thought. You’ve read my personal account. if you haven’t held a meeting there or considered the city, don’t give it a second thought—contact the CVB to get started (feel free to refer to the last edition of the Newsletter to review the benefits of using the CVB to help make your meeting a success). What a great city for government meetings.

Hope to see you in “sunny” Fort Lauderdale!


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From the Pad of a Meeting Planner

From the Pad of a Meeting Planner

- Patricia Smith, M.A., CGMP

Project Manager, BLH Technologies

I thought I might share with my fellow colleagues some of the hurdles and highs of planning a Federal meeting that can be impacted by smaller budgets, travel restrictions, and limited enhancements to the meeting experience. When coordinating and managing multiple logistical, administrative, and technical components of an event, it is often a challenge to innovate, create, and deliver the best experience possible. You know there will be some givens: such as a theme, speakers, travel arrangements, marketing and outreach, materials production, information dissemination, social media management, audiovisual requirements, security considerations, negotiations with a full-service hotel accessible to public transportation and a Starbucks or other popular food and beverage locations, onsite management, and a highly motivated team comprising Federal program staff, partners, and vendors. But how do you top last year’s meeting that received rave reviews?

Your online registration system is user-friendly and accessible via multiple devices; you’ve developed a targeted and tailored list of invitees; received a signed and approved invitation letter; selected the National Capital area as the meeting location; and selected meeting dates that do not conflict with Federal and religious holidays or spring break festivities. One must then consider that in any given year, there are other events in which your attendees will also typically participate while staying on top of their normal workloads. Now the question is, “What can you do to ensure that your attendees will save the dates for your meeting and plan to stay at the hotel where you negotiated a room block within the Federal per diem?” By no means do I have all the answers, but here are some tips based on what experience has taught me over the years.

  •       One—As soon as your meeting ends, prepare to announce the dates and location of the next meeting. If possible, offer an incentive for early registration. (This task might not be possible with some federally sponsored meetings.)
  •        Two—Produce tailored meeting announcements (e.g., save-the-date notices and/or cards), to distribute at the end of the meeting. E-mail save-the-date notices within 1 month of your last meeting date, and periodically e-mail them to your attendees as a component of other mailings.
  •        Three—Create a dynamic but easy-to-follow meeting Web site and update it with new information – i.e., the signing of the keynote speakers and the release of information on the cosponsoring of a plenary session or other special meeting activity. And do highlight special functions like the hosted meet and greet networking opportunity (if you are allowed to have food and beverage).
  •         Four—Monitor the hotel guestroom block on an ongoing basis to check pickup progress. If pickup targets aren’t where they should be, you may need to send a reminder to attendees alerting them that it is important to book inside the block and provide the hotel link in your correspondence. Make it easy for them to click and respond promptly. You might have to repeat this exercise and add a telephone component if the numbers do not significantly improve.
  •         Five—Identify some planning team members as ambassadors and give them free rein to spread the good news about the meeting. Word-of-mouth from reputable sources helps to spread the word to people you want to attend your meeting.


Pre-meeting tasks are complete, and it’s time to prep your onsite team to welcome new meeting attendees and the repeat participants. Post a welcome sign in the hotel lobby; provide clear and identifiable signage; fully staff the registration area; place the name badges in a manner to ensure that people can see their names in large print; change up the staging and the seating for the first plenary session (e.g., letting people know as they enter the room that the best seats are up front); monitor the meeting room temperature and allocation of seats; and “live up to the hype.” You are excited about the event and you and your team members are prepared for participants to have a productive and memorable meeting.

This article was written by our NATCAP member, Pat Smith, and is the first in a series of articles she has committed to providing to the newsletter. To share feedback and thoughts on the article, or for future articles you would like to see from Pat, please email Pat directly at

Next newsletter article: Mobile Apps: Have They Replaced the Need for a Hard-Copy Agenda?

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Ask the Expert

Have you ever wondered what drives a Professional Friendship? 


Professional friends - Is that even possible and do they mix? Or in reality, is this mentoring? Young or old, new or veteran to the industry, we all can learn from each other.

Friendship through mentoring is an important part of our industry.

Establishing a reputation as a leader creates an opportunity for you to be viewed by your peers as someone they should know and use as a role model.  It is important you create your image to be one of inclusion and motivating to others. People will always follow someone they like who shows respect to them in their knowledge and abilities and desire to give them additional opportunities where their talents are seen by others.

Many people want the opportunity to be seen as a leader but may shy away from the spotlight as they are unsure of their abilities or feel they may be out of place. This is where the leadership you project to your colleagues will help encourage them to step forward even if it is just a step or two. This is also where, as you project your image, you can also be seen as a safety valve if someone suddenly feels out of place or now feels unsure of their abilities. Having you as their anchor will bolster them to achieve more.

This also has another element to it which is flattering, and encouraging someone when a task that faces them may seem overwhelming to them, yet you know they have the ability to complete.  This is an area where you can have an almost life changing effect on them when they hear from you the expression of true confidence in their abilities. Everyone needs a boost periodically; and when you hear it from certain people, it means even more to you.

One last but very important point is never abuse a friendship or put them in a situation which could compromise them. When you are unsure of a situation ask their permission before making a commitment. You must always show them the respect that you would expect.


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Attention Suppliers!

Are you within “driving distance” of Washington, D.C. area? Would you like to be considered as host for the upcoming NATCAP Chapter Board Retreat? This is a great opportunity to showcase your property to the Board. Please download the RFP from the website for more information.  Proposals are due via email on or before May 31, 2017.


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In Case you Missed It!

Is there such a thing as generational differences?

- Peggy S. Thomas, CMP, CGMP

Meetings Director, General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc.

The NATCAP Monthly Meeting was held at the Holiday Inn Capitol on April 20th. The meeting began at a wonderful venue followed with a delicious breakfast which was coordinated with the Holiday Inn’s Representative and NATCAP Member, Ms. Betsy Starr.

The topic of discussion was on Generational Differences in the Workplace. Ms. Stephanie Ho from B.F Saul was the moderator and panelists were Cathy Bokman, representing the Baby Boomers; Susan Blaine, representing Gen X; and Jamila Ahmed, representing Millennial.

The audience was cross generational and included a ‘Gen Z’ member who gave her perspective about her generation.  The meeting included a collaborative perspective with an excellent moderator who kept the meeting full of energy and also provided valuable points that could be applied in the workplace.

Thanks to all who made this possible:

  •         Our sponsor: Ms. Betsy Starr, Holiday Inn Capitol
  •         Our moderator: Ms. Stephanie Ho, BF Saul
  •         The panel members: Cathy Bokman, Susan Blain and Jamila Ahmed
  •         Our VP Board Member: Erika Noyes
  •         Chapter Member and Membership Committee Member: Ms. Velvenia Minor

Special thanks to Ms. Belinda Thompson who created the great meeting badges and who also provided onsite registration support. 

How can we forget the dynamic C.B. Wooldridge and his awesome analogy utilizing a “slinky” toy to express how generations are interconnected. 

By the conclusion of this educational and informative session, we had confirmation that there are indeed generational differences between our peers in the workplace; however, through this presentation, we learned techniques that will assist us in the workplace when working across generations in a team environment.  

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Community Service

In honor our NATCAP member, Jeffrey Fawcett, who lost his battle with Leukemia/Lymphoma this past October, NATCAP would like to host a blood drive to help the American Red Cross.

We have had a very low response rate to this great opportunity to remember our friend and fellow NATCAP member. We truly hope you will take a few minutes to complete the short survey and indicate your interest in the blood drive. Jeff supported NATCAP in many ways and was always an advocate for the industry and the work that we do. His family is sincerely thankful for this heartfelt gesture to help remember Jeff.  

About Jeffrey Fawcett

In October of 2016 after a brief battle with Leukemia, we lost a dear friend and long-time member of NATCAP, Jeffrey Fawcett. Jeff served as the Chief of Operations and Deputy Chief of Air Force Foreign Liaison, Headquarters U.S. Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. We would still like to organize a blood drive in his honor. Please complete the short survey at this link: to indicate your interest in honoring Jeff.

To learn more about Jeff please visit this link


Thank you!

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Welcome New Members

New/Returning SGMP NATCAP Members

Name   Organization 
Tonya Barbour Census Bureau
Jasmyne Carr-McIlwain Strategic Analysis
Roanne Castillo Valle U.S. Census Bureau
Monique Coleman The Bizzell Group
Rebecca Craft Residence Inn by Marriott Springfield Old Keene Mill
Faye Crenshaw National Conferencing Inc.
Edith Crosby --
Karen Edwards The Bizzell Group
Angela Fisher Department of Homeland Security
Hannah Fogg --
Kimberly Greene, CMP Booz Allen Hamilton
Sandra Groseclose --
Jamie Haag Federal  Mediation and Conciliation Service
Holly Harrington --
LaVerne Heade Federal Judicial Center
Staci Jeremiah National Credit Union Administration
Lindsey Johnson The Bizzell Group
Kristin Jordan Hilton Tampa Downtown
Un Lee Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel
Anita Maginniss The MITRE Corporation
Joseph Mccray Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
Patrick Michael Turf Valley Resort
Leo Narens Marriott International
Allegra Novalis DavisTrapp
Christine Peacock Harbor Hotel Collection
Rachel Pettys National Conference Inc
Christine Rice The Webster Group
Annie Rouse Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel
Christina Saragnese Hilton Worldwide Sales
Deborah Smith U. S. Government Publishing Office
Jackie Smith Department of Navy
Angela Tirado-Pierre Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District Hotel
Alexandra von Oertzen Hyatt Regency Miami
Gillian Ware, CMP San Diego Tourism Authority
Sandra Wilson W New York

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Don't Let Your Membership Expire!

As a reminder, the SGMP HQ does not send notices via mail regarding your membership renewal. It is the responsibility of the member to maintain their membership. You should have received an email if your membership was expired or expeiring soon! Please check your SPAM folder. In the event that you still did not receive an email, please be sure to log-in to the SGMP website at and log-in to your account. You will be able to find your expiration date and renew your dues at that time. Your log-in for the SGMP HQ site is different than the one for the NATCAP site. Please take a moment now to log-in and check your membership. We appreciate all our members and do not want to lose you!


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Call for Articles

THANK YOU to our members who have stepped forward recently to write article. We truly appreciate your support. Please continue to send your articles to

The next newsletter will be issued in June, please consider writing an article on your NEC experience (accompanied with pictures) or on another topic of interest. Also consider being featured if our "Meet our Members" section. Please email Ruth Murphy at for more information or to express your interest. 

THANK YOU in advance!

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NATCAP Committees

NATCAP is an all-volunteer organization and would like to sincerely thank all of the committee members for their endless dedication and support. Without your support, we would not be the organization that we are today! Please consider joining one of the NATCAP committees below.

NATCAP Committees

Program Committee

Chair –Jill Blume, CGMP, US Government/Key Account Director, American Sales IHG

Brooke A. Newton, HMCC, Sales Manager Visit Alexandria

Susan Blaine, CMP, CGMP, Senior Associate   ICF International

Jill Blume, US Government/Key Account Director IHG

Communications Committee

Chair –Ruth Murphy, CMP, Senior Advisor for Special Projects and Events Department of State

Donald L. Delauter, CGMP, Administrative Support Specialist Office of the Chief Operating Officer, Institute of Museum and Library Services

Chris McLaughlin, CGMP, CGTP & COR Certified Director, Global Sales Government, Americas

Ted Miller, CHME, CHSP, CGTP, CGMP, Director

Membership Committee

Chair –Erika Noyes, CMP, CGMP, Senior Meeting Planner – Professional and Scientific Associates

Renee Atkins, CGMP NASA Research & Education Support Services

Denise Benyak, CGMP   Wyndham Hotel Group

Ryan Heins, CGMP Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel & Conference Center

Conde Keogh Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria

Chat Macasaet, CGMP Doubletree Hotel Crystal City

Pearlie McFadden, CGMP Northern Virginia Community College

Velvenia Minor, CGMP  Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education

Therese Palermino, CGMP Marriott International

Outreach Committee

Chair –Tom Albrecht, Senior National Sales Manager  Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

Director of Sales & Marketing Cambria Suites Rockville

Renee Atkins, CGMP, Senior Meeting Planner – NASA Research & Education Support Services

Ruthie Browning, CGMP, Contract Planner Maya Tech Corporation

Tracy Chapman, IOM, CGMP, Regional Director of Sales Travel Portland CVB

Tecumseh Deloney, CMP, CGMP, Project Manager Conferences & Meetings Zero To Three

Shannon Jenkins, CGMP, Sales Manager Hunt Valley Inn a Wyndham Grand Hotel

Dottie “Dottie” McDowney, CGMP, Public Affairs/Multimedia Lead - Department of Navy

Sherry Tiggett, CGMP, Events & Training Manager Multistate Tax Commission

Peg Thomas, CMP, CGMP, Meetings Director General Dynamics

Towanna Thompson, Program Analyst Department of Interior/Office of Planning, Analysis & Budget

Deidre Young, CMP, CGMP, DES, Senior Conference Manager AFYA, Inc.

Special Events Committee

Chair – Cheryl Gordon, CGMP, Director of Government Sales B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group

Co-Chair – Renée A. Besanson, CMP, CGMP, CVEP, Conference Services Division Strategic Analysis, Inc.

Christina Berman, Sales Manager The National Conference Center

Jill Blume, US Government Key Account Director IHG Americas Sales

Christina D’Anza Pinstripes

Felecia Sharps, Senior Sales Manager Holiday Inn Gaithersburg

Candi Thomas, CGMP MDR Services

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