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Member Showcase - CMP Spotlight - November 2023

By: Connie Bergeron, CMP | Nov 7, 2023




Phelps R. Hope, CMP
Executive Consultant and Independent Planner
The Phelps-Richards Group, LLC
+1-678-428-7600 cell/office

What motivated you to pursue the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation?

Primarily to expand my knowledge of the art and science of meeting, event and tradeshow planning beyond my experiences at the time, as I knew there was so much more to learn in our profession than my experiences had taught me, and I saw the CMP designation process as a way to accomplish this goal. Secondarily, but no less important, achieving the CMP designation would help establish my bona fides in our very competitive industry and communicate to prospective employers and clients that I take my profession seriously and have done the hard work to be the best I can be for them.

How did participation in the CMP Study Group support your studying to take the exam? 

The CMP Study Group was critical for me as it helped create space in my very busy schedule to study and interact with a mentor who had been down this path before. I found that interpretation of some of the study materials is key, as well as others who had already obtained their CMP, warned me that we were tested on the material and knowledge base in the study materials, not necessarily my experiences. The interaction and discussion around the study materials were absolutely key to my obtaining my CMP.

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

Relieved, and very pleased. It had been a while since I graduated from university and since I had studied for and sat for any exam or test, and I was very pleased with myself. It was a lot tougher process than I had anticipated, so the relief of passing and the sense of accomplishment stays with me even today.

What benefits have you experienced as a result of having your CMP? 

The most wonderful unintended consequence of obtaining my CMP was the lifelong friendships I gained from being in a study group. As we do in this industry, we have periods of intensity as we work together on a project or event together, and we build strong friendships and lasting relationships. It was no different for me with going through the CMP study and exam process. I know for certain that having my CMP designation has helped my credibility and contributed to my successes. Besides, it made me a more serious and professional meetings executive.

Does having your CMP designation enhance your position as a knowledgeable industry expert?  

Yes, especially in the earlier portion of my career before I had the resume I carry today. Even today, I feel proud when I see my name on a speaker slate, with those three simple letters behind my name, CMP.  

Do you find information you learned while studying to take the exam helpful in your positions since earning your CMP and are you able to use some of the formulas, etc., to help your meetings go well? 

Absolutely, and some of the information I learned became useful at times that I had not anticipated. My pre-planning and event design capabilities were greatly enhanced by the information I learned, such as the formulas and processes. I have won and been graced with many awards and accolades in my career, and the knowledge I gained during the CMP study process created the foundation to formalize my knowledge base and provide the tools for this success.

Reflecting on the time since you achieved the CMP designation, was it a good use of your time and resources to take that step? 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a good student. I will find anything to do before I sit to study, especially when I have a busy schedule. Joining a study group and committing to the process was one of the best decisions I have ever made. There is no way I could have done this on my own. I owe my CMP designation to my study group and mentors at that time.  

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

Commit! Make a commitment to yourself and your future by going “all in” with obtaining your CMP designation. Commit to the process, your study group mates, and add to your foundation for success in this wonderful and exciting industry by achieving the CMP designation. It will never be convenient, so like the slogan says, Just Do It.

***For more information on the Certified Meeting Professional designation or regarding MPI Georgia Chapter's next CMP Study Group which will begin in early 2024, please email Connie Bergeron,CMP Fellow, at and Gregg Lauer, CMP, at




Connie Bergeron CMP Headshot 2
Connie Bergeron, CMP

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