Facilitating Education

Education is a primary component of MPI membership. The SoCal Chapter provides a variety of opportunities for its members to develop knowledge and skill, from CMP certification study groups to monthly educational programs and more. To encourage members in their professional education pursuits, MPISCC established a scholarship to honor long-time member and past president, Gary Rosenberg.

Gary’s career began in the music industry, where he ended up as Billboard Magazine’s director of business affairs. In that role, he dealt with the business side of meetings in the industry: site selection, negotiations, budgets, logistics, etc. along with his other duties. He became intrigued by the concept of meeting planning. Already an MPI member, he left the magazine, and utilized his contacts within MPISCC to help establish his meeting planning business.

Gary served as president of MPISCC in 1984-1985. This was the year that the chapter received its first Chapter of the Year designation from MPI. Until then, volunteer committees didn’t officially exist within MPISCC. All the work of the chapter was carried out by the directors themselves. It was under Gary’s watch that committees for various responsibilities were developed, and volunteers were recruited from among the membership at large.

Benefits of the committee system revealed themselves almost immediately. Chapter members could develop new skills and insight, and foster relationships with fellow members very quickly. They were able to engage directly with the chapter leadership and experience firsthand the ongoing operations of the chapter. Committees became a pipeline for leadership development, engagement and career advancement.

The Need for Education

One of Gary’s primary goals was to provide relevant education. Along with his business partner, Marjorie  Risinger, CMP, and with the sponsorships of Hyatt, they established the educational seminar series, Meeting Planning Basics which subsequently evolved into Meeting Planning Basics and Beyond. This annual 3-part seminar series covers what meeting pros do, how to become a meetings professional, requirements for CMP designation, and related topics.

In the early days of the meeting planning profession, education and certification were not available. To increase the visibility and viability of the meetings profession, educational programs were established by some degree-granting institutions. Major universities established certificate programs. Thirty years later, education is foundational for credibility and long term success in the industry. Certification and degree programs in Hospitality and Travel & Tourism have been established at a variety of institutions, but the study is not yet mainstream. Opportunities can be exploited more.

Advice for Fellow Members

Gary believes we become better at what we do when we teach others to do it. When we teach, even the most introverted among us become extroverts and advocates. By teaching, we share knowledge and skills, perpetuating the profession. There is no greater asset to an emerging meetings professional than an experienced teacher and mentor who’s is an established professional.

As such, Gary advises those in the middle and later years of their career to seek opportunities for speaking, presenting and teaching. Become an educator in the field. Share your knowledge and insights. Do not be protective of your knowledge. His advice to Millenials is to set aside your devices from time to time and get face to face with mentors. All the technology in the world cannot replace people skills. And, no generation knows it all. But, by meeting up and sharing ideas, we all benefit.

There is no greater asset to an emerging meetings professional than an experienced
teacher and mentor.

Reflecting on his years with MPISCC, one of the things Gary has enjoyed most is that no one is excluded. Our chapter boasts an array of generations, viewpoints, market sectors and experiences. The membership is currently split almost 50:50 between suppliers and planners. He observes a strong sense of respect in the younger members for the experienced, and a desire among mature members to pass on a legacy to the up-and-coming. This is obvious by simply observing the networking that takes place prior to each monthly program.

About the Gary J. Rosenberg CMP Scholarship

The Gary J. Rosenberg, CMP Scholarship was established by the MPISCC Board of Directors in Gary’s honor. It is reserved for meetings professionals, not students preparing to enter the profession. Applicants must be a meetings professional and an MPISCC member for at least 12 months before applying, and must have attended a minimum of 6 chapter monthly programs in the last 18 months, and be actively serving on one or more chapter committees. The scholarship provides up to $1,500 which the recipient can use for professional education expenses, including CMP study materials and groups, CMP and CMM certification, MPISCC and industry-related programs, and MPI educational conferences and training. Funds may not be applied toward the chapter’s monthly programs.

Apply for the Gary J. Rosenberg Scholarship here. Applications are due in April of each year.

The scholarship committee is comprised of MPISCC’s past presidents (Council of Chapter Presidents) who are still members in good standing, and is chaired by the immediate past president. 


by Alvalyn Lundgren | Alvalyn Creative, with Gary Rosenberg, CMP | MPISCC President 1984-1985.

Alvalyn is Managing Editor and Creative Director of InterCom.