After a decade serving as CEO of the Events Industry Council (EIC), Karen Kotowski, CMP, CAE, resigned from her position at the beginning of 2019. The EIC — previously known as the Convention Industry Council prior to a 2017 rebranding initiative — holds the key to many event organizers’ professional development: Among other initiatives, the organization administers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credentialing program. Having those three letters appear after your name has proven to be a difference-maker for meeting professionals. According to Convene’s most recent Salary Survey, individuals who earned the CMP designation received an average of $10,500 more in pay annually than their peers without it.
So what’s next for the EIC and the CMP? Tina Wehmeir, CAE, CMP, chair of the EIC and CEO of the AMC Institute, offered a glimpse of the future in an email interview with Convene.
What are EIC’s biggest achievements from the past 10 years? How has the past decade helped fuel the events industry’s growth?
There has been a lot of change and progress made in the last 10 years. A few of the biggest achievements that stand out are:
- The growth in the CMP program. We have now certified more than 21,000 CMPs since the program’s inception in 1985, and we have CMPs in more than 50 countries.
- Completing economic significance studies for the events industry to prove the economic impact of our industry. We have completed three U.S.-based studies, and this past year, we completed our global study — the Global Economic Significance of Business Events — where we are able to show that the events industry generates more than $1 trillion in direct spending.
- Updating our own identity. We have also done our own brand research and evaluated the mission of our organization [changing] our name and visual identity in our 2017 rebranding.
Can you share your plans to extend the CMP program globally?
We completed global certification research in 2018 to identify the best areas internationally to expand and will be putting plans in motion this year to do so. As we redefine our strategic plan this year, we will confirm the recommendations for specific locations to expand globally, but the plan is to identify a few key countries to start and be able to grow from there.
What other expansion plans are in the works in terms of educational programs and offerings?
We are in the process of launching a new learning management system in 2019 where we will be offering more continuing education options for CMPs, in addition to our monthly webinar series.
What are you looking for in a new CEO?
The board has created a search committee consisting of an accomplished and diverse group of seven industry leaders chaired by Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group. In partnership with our management company, SmithBucklin, we have engaged Jim Zaniello with the search firm, Vetted Solutions. Jim will work collaboratively with Jonathan Morgan at London-based Saxton Bampfylde. We intend to seek a leader who brings a diverse global perspective and a proven track record of business growth, collaboration, and strategic vision.
As the board looks to redefine EIC’s long-term strategic plan, can you share any insights into those initial conversations?
Our first meeting of the full Events Industry Council board is in early February where we will review our current strategic plan. These will be the seeds of EIC’s global expansion discussion and the start of our path forward toward this long-term strategy.
If you could see into a crystal ball 10 years from today, what will the events industry look like? And what will the EIC’s role be in shaping its continued success?
As our industry research has shown, we have continued to see growth in our industry as well as numerous disruptors that will cause the events industry to continue to evolve. I hope the events industry will have made a profound impact on major issues affecting our world. We have the strength behind us to do this, and I would like to see EIC as the catalyst to change for some of these critical global challenges.