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Member Showcase - CMP Spotlight - February 2024

By: Connie Bergeron, CMP | Feb 12, 2024





Elaine Pelaia, CMP

Director of Museum Operations 

Computer Museum of America (CMoA),

Roswell, GA




In addition to hosting MPI Georgia Chapter for the January 2024 Educational Program at Computer Museum of America (CMoA) in Roswell, Elaine Pelaia, CMP, is happy to be featured in our February CMP Spotlight interview.  A former corporate planner, Elaine’s current job is managing the operations and event spaces at CMoA, which opened in 2019.


When you were initially considering earning the Certified Meeting Professional ("CMP") designation, please share what motivated you to pursue the CMP?

It was 2009, I was a corporate planner, and I thought I might need to look for a new employer as meetings and events had slowed down significantly due to economic conditions at the time. I wanted to stay in the meetings and events industry and felt the CMP designation would help differentiate me. With fewer events, I was not traveling as much and could more easily dedicate time to study for it.

How did participation in the MPI Georgia Chapter CMP Study Group support your preparation to take the exam?

It was the single most valuable thing I did to prepare for the exam! It kept me accountable, and it helped “fill in the blanks” for areas the exam included that I was not exposed to in my role. The camaraderie, the quiz preparation, the in-person meetings, and the added commute to get to where our study group was held were TOTALLY worth it. Had I not participated, I might have “crammed” the content the weeks before the exam, and that would not have worked! There is sooo much to learn about!

How did you feel when you saw the words "You Passed"?

Relieved and proud! I was in the last group to take an in-person exam, so I didn’t get my results for weeks. It came by mail, and the anticipation had built up.
What benefits have you had career-wise because of having your CMP?

Having the CMP designation enhanced my credibility within the industry and boosted my confidence, which carries into giving my current clients recommendations and guidance to help make their events at the CMoA successful. With over 15,000 sq ft of event space plus museum exhibits, we have many options for meetings and events at CMoA. The experience from my corporate days, past events at CMoA, and the lessons from studying for the original certification, and now two recertifications, have broadened my knowledge base, which helps me be a more trusted supplier. Trusted suppliers and successful events make for happy and repeat clients. Certifying has also exposed me to valued resources I’ve used as I transitioned from being a corporate planner to a supplier responsible for getting a new venue up and running.

What words of encouragement would you have for future CMP candidates?

I am very glad I got my CMP and have continued to recertify every five years. Since earning my CMP designation, I’ve told anyone considering getting their CMP designation to find a study group, as I believe that was critical in my passing the test the first time. It is a time commitment, so don’t underestimate the need to set time aside, lean on your study group to help you with the areas that are not part of your job or experience, and contribute the same support in areas in which you are more experienced. If the study books are yours, write in them, rip them apart, and put them in a binder so you can take sections with you as needed. I did some studying while on vacation in Peru that way. I also keep a large spiral notebook and fill it with notes from all the webinars I take so I can go back to one place and revisit information as needed. I’m on my fourth notebook! Make time for the webinars and activities needed to recertify, and don’t leave it until the October before your deadline! Take a few meeting management education classes every year and then ramp up in January of the year prior. There are great free resources from meetings industry publications and organizations to take all the credits needed that the MPI Georgia Chapter CMP Study Group Committee can share with you.  The information you learn through ongoing education will come in handy someday.  Having my CMP has been an achievement that has supported my career success.  I would encourage any meeting professional who wants to take their career to the next level to go for their CMP!

Closing:  I am fortunate to have been able to spend almost my whole career in the meetings and events industry. I enjoy my current job, still working in the meetings and events space, where I am helping get a relatively new non-profit up and running with a steady schedule of events. The industry network in the Atlanta area and the resources through MPI Georgia Chapter are beneficial to me both personally and professionally, and I look forward to connecting one way or another! 



Connie Bergeron CMP Headshot 2
Connie Bergeron, CMP

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