The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program was launched in 1985 to enhance the knowledge and performance of meeting professionals, promote the status and credibility of the meeting profession, and advance uniform standards of practice. The Event Industry Council proudly reports on their website that the CMP credential is recognized globally as the badge of excellence in the meeting, convention, exhibition, and event industry. The qualifications for certification are based on professional experience, education, and a rigorous exam.
In 2011, I made the decision to sign-up for the MSAE prep course to become a CMP. As much as I knew the designation was useful and well respected, I was a little nervous. After all, I hadn’t studied for a test in over 20 years! The class itself turned out to be really great because we were all in it together and I was fortunate enough to create several lifetime friendships. The CMP designation is just not one collection of things you learn, however, it’s always evolving, and keeping those that hold the designation professionally sharp. In fact, every 5 years, you must re-certify, and I am happy to say that I am clear through 2023. Crazy to think how the event industry will change by the next time I have to re-certify.
While my main focus as a sales manager at a convention and visitors bureau is not actually planning the meeting, I feel that by becoming a CMP I am able to better understand what my meeting planner clients need, and I can better serve them. For example, I understand all the different meeting room set-ups at a successful conference and can recommend local event space that allows for a best-case scenario based on the needs of my client. The CMP program heavily promotes an approach of starting with the goals of the conference and then working on specific needs from there. As a CMP I can often help planners get to the need behind the need because I'm thinking in the same way they are and I have the inside info on all the local event space offerings in this community.
The designation is well-respected globally and helps make a lot of connections. Holding it also does elevate our profession of what many people believe to be a “fun, party-planning job!” As rapidly as our industry is changing, it is important for me to stay current so keeping up my CMP provides critical continuing education opportunities. Here at the GLCVB, I am proud to say that I am one of nine on our staff that has the CMP designation which I think speaks volumes of our organization, both the skill level of the sales and services staff we offer and the value that Greater Lansing CVB executives put on professional development.