MPI50: Greg Elam

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MPI50: Greg Elam

By Michael Pinchera | Nov 16, 2022

July_RISE_Elam_blogGreg Elam, honored as one of MPI's "Legacy Contributors," reflects on his history with MPI.

One of the true delights in being in the meeting and event industry craft is that the people involved are supportive, alert and it is easy to build lifelong friendships with them. 

I was recruited into MPI in 1978 by the local Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter, which was founded three years earlier, and had been named host of the international convention that year. They decided that I should be program chair and they smothered me with attention. 

To attract the most attendees, my program was built around subjects that were appealing to a boss who might be reluctant to approve an employees’ attendance. The average attendance previously had been 650 and we soared over 1,000. 

The next year, I was elected president of our chapter and soon was on the International Board of Directors and served as a member or chairman of many MPI committees.

In 1987, I was named International Meeting Planner of the Year—the highest award then offered. Among the things that followed was my desire to change the name from Meeting Planners International to Meeting Professionals International. (It was not initially popular to suggest a change.) That “professional” designation spoke the language of a skilled, highly qualified person, and our members deserved that kind of designation. What soon followed was an effort that I joined in creating the CMP program which also reinforced the “professional” basis of our members. 

One of the fun things that I recall is helping move MPI headquarters from its founding city in Middletown, Ohio, to Dallas. We were offered free rent for several years and brought headquarters to “Big D,” where it still remains. Along the way, I served as dean of the life insurance industry’s week-long workshop on public relations, sales promotion, meetings and incentive trips, and was a key speaker at many industry organizations.

In 2021, I received the Meeting Industry Leader RISE Award.

At age 90, having served on the Board of Trustees of the second-largest voluntary hospital in Texas, and various boards and charities, I can attest to the joy, satisfaction and amazing privilege of being a member of MPI.



Michael Pinchera

Michael Pinchera, MPI's managing editor, is an award-winning writer and editor as well as a speaker, technologist and contributor to business, academic and pop culture publications since 1997.