April 2015  

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendar and make sure you have registered for these upcoming meetings!  


Sponsorship Opportunities Now Available! Download the MPI WestField Golf Classic Sponsorship form today.


DORAL ARROWWOOD, The Premier Meeting Destination in the New York, Metropolitan area


Most hotels take a conventional approach to meetings, weddings, and special events. Not so at Doral Arrowwood.

Nestled just outside of White Plains, in the charming town of Rye Brooke Village, in Westchester County, the resort offers a picturesque conference center and well-appointed lodging, in a stunning and inspiring setting. Let us start you off with far more than a blank canvas. Our expert amenities, and services, complemented by a striking New York location and a quarter century of expertise, provide the perfect palette to make any event a masterpiece.
•Nestled amid 114 wooded acres in Rye Brook village in Westchester County, New York
•Just 45 minutes from midtown Manhattan
•Easily accessible to major highways and airports
•Only three miles from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y.


Discover a picturesque retreat of Doral Arrowwood - an enchanting enclave in Rye Brook, New York - where great things begin.

For information and assistance:
Valerie Barrett
[email protected]

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Meet the Member Spotlight

Brandon Glen, new WestField Member as of January 2015
Brithday: January 3rd
Professional Position: Group Sales Manager - Hilton Stamford Hotel & Executive Meeting Center

Bio: As I approach my two year anniversary in April at the Hilton Stamford, it seems like just yesterday that I was driving across the country trying to figure out what I had just got myself into. A five year veteran of the golf industry with Bridgestone Golf, I found myself wanting to pursue something new. What resulted was the start of my hospitality career in Peoria, IL at the Four Points by Sheraton. After four months as Business Travel Sales Manager I was given the opportunity to take the same position in Stamford. In August of 2014, I transitioned into my current role as Group Sales Manager and have never had more fun!

A Brief Q & A
Q: As a new member, what prompted you to join MPI?
A: Bonnie Cunningham threatening me! I'm kidding, sort of... I had the opportunity to attend a couple of MPI events as a non-member when I was in my business travel role and really enjoyed the events. The quality of the people that attend Westfield programs and the knowledge and experience they have was something I could not pass up.
Q: What would be your dream job, outside of event or meeting planning?
A: Brewmaster. I would love to operate a craft brewery! I'm a huge fan of local brews and to me there is no better way to enhance a trip/visit than by tasting beers from the region. The creativity the position lends and the challenge would be something I would absolutely love.
Q: Finish the sentence, “when I’m not at work I…
A: either at the golf course or on the mountain, or dreaming of being either place! As a former college golfer there is no place I would rather spend four hours than out walking 18 holes. Recently I have fallen in love with skiing and find it to be a blast, it's a fantastic way to unwind from the craziness that is hospitality sales.


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WestField Fun Facts

Member Care wants to share some fun facts for your reading pleasure and give you, our members an edge of knowledge:

  • The number of people celebrate their birthdays in August is more (about 9% of all people) than the number of people celebrate it in any other month of the year. July and September, are not far behind though
  • Meeting and event planners rank #14 in the Best Business Jobs and #66 in the Top 100 Best Jobs in United States
  • The global F&B industry was valued at $5.7 trillion USD in 2008 and is expected to increase to more than $7 trillion USD by 2014, witnessing a CAGR of 3.5 percent
  • The term “brain freeze” was invented by 7-11 to explain the pain one feels when drinking a Slurpee too fast. Believe it or not, there is a real scientific name for “brain freeze” – it is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia (try saying that 5 times fast!) When something very cold (usually ice cream) touches the top palate of the mouth, it causes the blood vessels to constrict. This makes the nerves send a signal to the brain to re-open them. The rapid re-opening of the vessels causes a buildup of fluid in the tissues causing a slight swelling in the forehead and, therefore, causing pain. It normally takes 30 – 60 seconds for the fluid to drain, relieving the pain
  • According to the MTA, the average weekday inbound ridership on Metro-North from Westchester is 74,785. On weekends, it’s 52,774
  • The highest peak in Connecticut is Bear Mountain 
  • After eating too much, your hearing is less sharp. If you’re heading to a concert or a musical after a big meal you may be doing yourself a disservice. Try eating a smaller meal if you need to keep your hearing pitch perfect
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MPI WestField Member Care Announces our Birthday Initiative

Birthdays. We all love Birthdays and at MPI WestField Chapter we love them even a little more these days. As a Member, Rejoining Member, Longtime Member or a brand New Member you will be getting the call or email asking when is your Birthday month and date?  We started a new initiative on January 1, 2015, to ask our Members when there Birthday is.  Why?  Because you are important to us, and it is about you and we want to celebrate you on your Special day, the day you were born.  We hope this recognition brings out the child in all of us to celebrate and make life a little sweeter.

Happy Birthday from your MPI WestField Chapter!

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MPI WestField Member Incentive


MPI WestField wants each and every member to be fulfilled in their experiences. What better way to do that than by rewarding you for every event that you attend, every committee you belong to, every new member referral, or any number of additional ways to Win.

Download the full member incentive program and find out how you can start earning points today.




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Most Valuable Member

WestField's Most Valuable Members - January and February 2015

- Jane Doyle:
For her pitching in and running Registration at the Holiday party which includes all the pre-work of transferring everything from Gina Gouveia, learning the systems, bring our new Chapter Administrator up to speed, registration set-up, hospitality, processing post-event, Fundraising check-out and helping to invoice. We could not have done it as seamlessly without Jane’s above and beyond spirit. 

- MeetNow 2015 Committee: Heather Hanson O’Neill, Laura Zap, Anne Baron, Nancy Bookchin, Melissa Hollander, Bonnie Cannon, Adrienne Sbarbaro, Alissa Cotroneo-Brown and the Business Development Committee: What an extraordinary effort for our most recent MeetNow program! Great collaboration, content, program orchestration. Congratulations.

- Alex McKeever of M Communications: for his generous audio visual and production support and sponsorship of MeetNow 2015 program. Alex and his team are always in our corner and we could not do this without them.

- Dolce Norwalk – represented by Laura Zap and Jennifer Doyle: for their generous and continued support of our MeetNow 2015 program. Another excellent year.  Great space, phenomenal sponsorship and partnership with all the planning and execution. We always feel at home at Dolce.

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WestField Member News

Membership Monthly Renewal Drawing

Spring Time Renewal Drawing! Renew your MPI membership in April and you will be entered into a drawing for one of THREE great prizes. The winner will pick one! Renew today!

  • Half off registration to WEC 2015 in San Francisco (Aug 1-4) or EMEC 2016 in Copenhagen (Feb 7-9)
  • MPI Store shopping Spree: Pick any five items in the MPI Store at no cost. CMP Study Guide excluded from offer.
  • Six month extended membership
MPI WestField Chapter 2015-2016 Board of Directors Announced

Dear WestField Membership,

On behalf of the Nominations Committee, it is my pleasure to present to you the 2015-2016 Board of Directors slate. Your committee has worked diligently to engage your fellow committed members to become a part of the WestField Board of Directors. We are excited about the individuals who are listed on the slate and have confidence in their leadership, business acumen and commitment in leading the WestField Chapter.

Congratulations to all those on their new positions. We are looking forward to a very exciting year!

Mozelle Goodwin, CMP
Immediate Past President
Chair, 2015/2016 Nominations Committee

Nominations Committee Members:
Mark Douglass, Walt Disney Company
Mina Malin, CMP, CMM, Mina Malin Consulting Group, Inc.
Susan Marano, Hilton Hotels
Susan Stryker, Associated Luxury Hotels, Inc.
Kerri LaGrutta, CORT Event Furnishings (President-Elect)
Diane Smith, Hyatt Regency Greenwich (Chair, Succession)
President Elect: Jane Doyle, Event and Marketing Professional: Current VP of Communications and former Director, Marketing. Jane was previously employed at Reed Exhibitions in Norwalk, CT, and has been in the meetings industry for many years as a planner. MPI Member since 2013.

VP of Finance: Adrienne Sbarbaro, CMP, Senior Sales Manager: Current VP of Finance overseeing special events and fundraising team. Adrienne is a longtime employee of Hilton Hotels, currently located at Westchester Hilton in Rye, New York she has been a great supporter of the WestField Chapter over the years. MPI Member since 2011.

VP of Membership: Jerry Longo, CEM, CMP, St. Jude Medical: WestField Past President and longtime contributor to the chapter, holding various board positions leading up to his two consecutive terms of presidency (2011-2013). Jerry recently joined St. Jude Medical as Head, Global Congresses and Events. MPI Member since 2001.

VP of Education: Santiago Carmona, FRHI Hotels and Resorts: WestField Past President and longtime contributor holding various board positions leading up to his 2010-2011 presidency year when he led the chapter to. While many of us know him for his tenure with Disney, Santiago has extensive association experience and has recently returned to the hotel industry as Director, Global Accounts for FRHI (Fairmont, Raffles, & Swissotels) Hotels and Resorts. MPI Member since 2001.

VP of Communications: OPEN *

Director of Leadership Development: Judy Stern, Marriott Global Sales: Currently serving WestField as Chair of Training, Leadership Development. Judy has held several board positions over the years (VP Education being one of them) and continues to support the chapter through volunteerism. She is the Global Account Manager, Groups and Conferences. MPI Member since 1993.

Director, Special Events & Fundraising: Robin Gardner, CMP, CMM, Deloitte

Director, Business Development: OPEN *

Director, Recruitment: Kim Harvey, Salamander Hotels and Resorts

Director, Retention: Pia Carpenter, InterContinental Hotels Group

Director, Marketing: OPEN *

Director, Creative Services: Donvil Collins, VeeKast & Debo Media Inc.

Director, Program Logistics: Nancy Bookchin, CMP, Wizard Meeting & Events, Inc.

Director, Program Development: Anne DiPrimio Baron, CMP, Kronos Inc.

MPI WestField leaders for the 2015-2016 year (succession positions, no nominations required):
President: Kerri LaGrutta, CORT Event Furnishings
Immediate Past President: Bonnie Cunningham, BC Global Meetings & Events, LLC

* The Nominations Committee is working diligently to fulfill these OPEN positions by the July 1, 2015 fiscal year start.

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Connections Campaign

Making Connections

As a planner I try hard to award our WestField supplier members business from my live events in the spirit of the partnership and to deliver a stronger ROI on their membership. Over the past few years I cultivated strong partnerships with WestField members who were a major contributor to the success of my events. Some of my personal “MPI Key Relationships” were with:


  • CORT
  • Hyatt Greenwich
  • Leros Point to Point
  • Hotel Zero Degrees Norwalk
  • Abigail Kirsch Catering & Venues
  • Happening Photos

Giving back to your chapter colleagues is gratifying and helps to support their growth initiatives and helps to sustain their on-going support of WestField. So, next time you are sending out an RFP, please remember to include your MPI WestField Suppliers. They truly make a great event partner!

~Jerry Longo, Director of Leadership Development

We are proud to say, Year-to-date Connections...
    Number of Connections Year-to-Date: 29
    Value of Connections Year-to-Date: $518,000

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Noteworthy Venues


For the distinguished traveler, no other hotel in Greenwich, CT offers a more contemporary lifestyle experience than The J House. Our high-tech guest rooms, world-class meeting facilities and award winning service set us apart.

The J House stands above the competition. Guests are aesthetically engaged the moment they arrive in our chic lobby. They can relax on over-sized custom handmade furniture, amongst eclectic repurposed sculptures and a projected art display overhead.

Our eighty-five-room luxury hotel combines the latest in iPad automated guest room technology with plush comforts and amenities. You’ll appreciate the LED/ Mirror TVs located in the main living areas and bathrooms.

Enjoy premium Aroma Therapy bathroom amenities and high thread-count Frette towels and robes. You’ll be assured a great night’s sleep with bedding selected by designer Mark David. Wrap yourself up in luxury with linens fit for royalty by Corinelli.

The J House is the most unique meeting and special event destination in Fairfield and Westchester Counties. We are the ideal choice for conferences, product launches and corporate incentive travel.

Our outdoor pool is surrounded by five luxury cabanas, the perfect place to dine or kick back and relax in. For the health conscious traveler, there’s a state-of-the-art Fitness Center.

Enter a world of fine dining past beautifully lit bottles of pickled vegetables and infused vinegars. Marvel at our pastry “bubble” where you can see perfection being served up live.

Our contemporary American menu incorporates the Chef’s many global influences. Using locally sourced ingredients, he embraces sustainable practices. With cooking in full view, seasonal flatbreads, roasted vegetables, market fresh fish, free-range poultry and grass-fed beef preparations take on the wonderful smokiness of the wood-fired open hearth.

Step into our main bar with its brick and copper paneled hearth. Take a seat in The J House Restaurant with business associates, family or friends in our main dining room which brings the indoors outside. This room is furnished with warm, comfortable cappuccino leather seating and floor to ceiling windows.

A floating wall opens up the main dining room to our outdoor patio area. It is protected from the weather by a system of retractable awnings, trellises and heating units that allow the outdoor spaces to be used year round. Here, you can cozy up to our outdoor fire place – or enjoy a cascading waterfall that provides the space with a unique energy and ambiance – both day and night.

The J House patio bar is the place to enjoy watching the game in HiDef and lounging while enjoying your favorite top shelf spirits, classic cocktails, craft beers, and a full selection of premium wine from our 2,000+ bottle Wine Vault.

Private events can be accommodated in our banquet rooms, the private dining room or the beautiful outdoor gardens.

For more information, download the brochure and visit the website today!

Crestview Conference Center at West Nyack is the Ideal Meetings Space

If you are looking for a terrifc venue to hold your next business meeting, look no further than the Crestview Conference Center at West Nyack. This spacious, full service meeting facility is ideally located in the heart of Rockland County, NY, 24 miles north of Manhattan and minutes from the New York Thruway and Palisades Interstate Parkway. 

Crestview Conference Center features a beautiful 12,000 sq. ft. multifunctional space, with an outdoor balcony, and designed to accomodate a wide spectrum of budgets and meetings, from five to 200 guests. 

Crestview offers a comfortable, state-of-the-art enviroment with pre-conference planning assistance, A/V support, free Wi-Fi, covered reserved parking, private entrance, and breakfast refreshment breaks and lunch menus are available. 

John Hodgson, Major, Director of Crestview Conference Center, boasts that the flexible space is perfect for business meetings, seminars, training sessions, networking, lectures, and luncheons. 

"Ourintention is to make meetings easy by providing turnkey services and a conference enviroment like no other in Lower Hudson Valley that is solely focused on meetings," Major Hodgson said. "We operate the Center as a nonprofit entity which enables us to provide a very attractive pricing structure that is well suited for the area's nonprofits and businesses and organizations of all size."

Crestview Conference Center at West Nyack provides pre-meeting planning assistance, the most current, built-in AV equipment in all meeting rooms with onsite AV support, inlimited business center use, complimentary Wi-Fi, free covered parking, private entrance, and breakfast refreshment breaks and lunch menus are available. 

Several area businesses, groups and nonprofits have already taken advantage of the Crestview Conference Center for their meetings and gatherings. These include Better Homes and Gardens/RAND Realty, McLaren Engineering Group, United Water, Hudson Gateway MLS, Rockland Business Associtation, Rockland Economic Developement Corporation, United Hospice of Rockland and Institute for Non-Profits. 

Joseph rand, Managing Partner, Better Homes and Gardens/RAND Realty, said of Crestview, "Our team meetings are essential to our company's success. We take care of the content and Crestview takes care of the rest. They make it easy for us to get the most of our meetings. It's truly a pleasure working with a group that operates with similar core values of professionalism, service and integrity."

In addition to Major Hodgson, the staff includes Gina Vanderweele, Operations Manager, and Jasmine Larrinaga-Johnson, Food ServiceManager. Crestview Conference Center is operated by The Salvation Army, and located at 440 West Nyack Road in West Nyack, NY. For more information call 877-315-0239 or 845-620-7207, email: [email protected] or visit

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WestField Program Recap

We want to say thank you for joining us at these past events!

Check out Doug Sandler's book Nice Guys Finish First!


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Industry Events

"Check out what our neighbors are doing!" 
For more information, please visit the MPI Connecticut River Valley website!

Meetings and Events Industry Leaders Team up for First Annual North American Meetings Industry Day
Meetings Mean Business leads effort in United States to showcase the meetings industry on April 16, 2015

Meetings Mean Business (MMB), a cross-industry communications and advocacy initiative, has joined the meetings and events industry to lead the first annual North American Meetings Industry Day (NAMID) on April 16, 2015. This nationwide day of advocacy will spotlight the substantial value derived from business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions, and will engage with policymakers, industry elites and business leaders.

The MMB coalition members, in addition to industry leaders across in Canada and Mexico, will host and drive events in communities all across their respective countries.

Michael Dominguez, MMB’s co-chair and senior vice president of corporate sales at MGM Resorts International, said, “We are excited to be involved in such a meaningful day that unites our industry not only across the United States, but also across Canada and Mexico, communicating the critical role in connecting people and driving positive business results through face-to-face interaction. Across the continent we will demonstrate how meetings build personal relationships, drive positive outcomes and support strong communities.”

“NAMID is a true testament to the strength of the leadership within the Convention Industry Council, Meetings Professionals International and across our coalition of meetings and events leaders. MPI Canada created this initiative 20 years ago with three objectives in mind: to define and shape the meetings and events profession in the future; to help raise the industry’s profile; and to discuss the economic impact of meetings with people who are outside the industry. These objectives remain consistent with our goals for events all across the continent this spring,” added David Peckinpaugh, fellow MMB co-chair and president of Maritz Travel.

Stuart Taylor, Canada Chapter business manager for MPI added, “National Meetings Industry Day is not just about executing an event. It is about elevating and building our community through leveraging important issues to raise awareness of the power of meetings in evolving and shaping that community; economically, environmentally, socially and intellectually, In 2012, meetings in Canada contributed $27.5 billion to our gross domestic product (GDP) - approximately 1.5 percent of Canada’s total GDP. From an economic standpoint, meetings make a strong impact when you gather people of similar interests from far and wide.”

Visit NAMID at to learn more about local events planned across the United States, Canada and Mexico on April 16, 2015. Follow and participate in the digital conversations at @MeetingsMeanBiz on Twitter and by using the hashtags #MMBusiness with #NAMID. Download the MMB app, available on iPhones and Android devices, to access industry resources and to stay updated on NAMID activity.   

About Meetings Mean Business
The Meetings Mean Business coalition was created in 2009 to showcase the incredible value that business meetings, travel and events bring to the U.S. economy. Its members span all facets of the face-to-face meeting and events industry, which have come together behind a common goal: providing the resources, tools and information to show the real impact the industry has on businesses, economies and communities. For more information, visit and download our app on iTunes and Google Play.

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President's Corner

Wishing you and your family a very happy spring!

How did it get to be April already!

As I look back over these first few months of this year, I know I am not alone in being amazed at how time is flying by in a whirl of activity – on every level, in every industry.  Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to step back, slow down, breathe and take it all in.  Give yourselves credit for the incredible volume of work you are producing at an extraordinary pace.  It’s come to be the new normal.  Let’s give ourselves, our friends and colleagues a “pat on the back” and a huge thank you. We are all in this together.

MPI WestField Chapter is having a great big and busy year.  MeetNow 2015 in February, Learn from the Professors, and a networking social in March, and the committee has another wonderful networking event in April to celebrate NAMID - North American Meetings Industry Day. On May 14th we will have the “Menu Impossible” program at the Stamford Marriott and on June 11th our very first combined Golf Classic & Annual Awards Event at Doral Arrowwood.

Our membership is continuing to grow – one member at a time. You will see that we have launched two very important programs this spring: 1) Membership Sponsorship Program and 2) Membership Incentive Program.  Both designed to keep you engaged in your membership and give you opportunities for your ROI; reminding us all of who WE are and who YOU are doing business with as members of this association.  We have highlighted the Principles of Professionalism which is the code we proudly honor.    

Our budget continues to teeter between the red and black as each month passes, we cannot deny it is a challenge to get ahead.  Fortunately, we have had and continue to receive extraordinary support from our Strategic Alliance Partners, all of whom are reflected on our website.  Please take a look and reach out to them all, give them a call, and add that experience to our Connections Campaign.

We are so very proud to have announced our incoming 2015-2016 Board of Director slate this month. You will see familiar names continuing in the 2nd year of their term; some who have stepped up from Chair to Director or Director to VP, VP to PE, PE to President, and of course, President to Immediate Past President, which follows along with our succession planning.  We are very fortunate to have a couple of our former seasoned Leaders returning to serve in other capacities and even a couple of new members joining the Board of Directors. I eagerly anticipate our future with each one of them at the helm, and I am confident that the Chapter has even brighter days ahead. I would be remiss if I did not mention that a few of our BOD members will be completing their terms in June and we thank them profusely for their leadership and dedication.  We have a couple more key positions to fill and hope that maybe you will consider taking this important step in your career.  I highly endorse the experience.

Fortunately we still have three full months to enjoy, engage and embrace one another.  Let’s continue that celebration of our membership.

Please know that you can always contact me at 203-524-0674 or drop me a note at [email protected].

I hope to see you soon.

Thank you,

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Classified Ads

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