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Overall Excellence Chapter Award



Member Showcase - CMP Spotlight - August 2023

By: Connie Bergeron, CMP, CMP Fellow | Aug 8, 2023





Allyson Wagner, CMP

Allyson Wagner, Associate Director, Meetings + Events| Destinations South


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

After working in meetings, events, and hospitality for over 20 years and talking with other professionals who had achieved their CMP, I decided it was finally time in 2016.  As a single mom raising 3 kids with a full-time career in planning, I’d found a lot of reasons why I didn’t have time.  A window of opportunity opened that summer, so I jumped into the process.  I believed at that point that I had “earned” the experience and knowledge I thought I needed and the confidence to sit alongside other professionals on the same journey.

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

First, the MPI Georgia CMP Study Group Committee provided a tremendous amount of support from the beginning of the process that included determining if you have the requirements to sit for the exam (and if not, how to achieve them), completing and submitting the application, and providing a study outline and guidance for how to run the study group sessions.  Knowing what to read and prepare for each meeting combined with meeting REGULARLY helped me stay on track.  Going back to “school” at 55 years old was no easy task and I had to re-train myself to have good study habits.

The icing on the cake was a fantastic group of professionals by my side the whole way!  Our group consisted of corporate planners, independent planners, and agency planners – all with different experiences and perspectives.  The diversity of our group definitely contributed to our overall success.  All 5 of us took the exam within a week of each other and all passed!  We celebrated together shortly after and agreed that we couldn’t have done it without our study group.

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

Incredibly RELIEVED!  Because of the time I spent studying, and the scenarios our group discussed, many of the questions were familiar to me and I felt relatively confident.  But once I reviewed all my answers and finally hit that submit button, all the confidence in the world flew out the window and my heart felt like it would jump out of my chest!

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

Being part of the CMP community has brought new connections, a level of confidence seeing those letters behind my name, and recognition as a trusted strategic partner to my clients.

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

Absolutely!  Our team at Destination South prides itself on the fact that 3 out of the 4 on our meetings team are CMPs.  We call this out to our clients to let them know the depth and breadth of our knowledge and expertise.

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? 

I use that knowledge every single day in my job.  Understanding how to be a strategic partner, (not just an order taker), has truly been one of the greatest takeaways, along with terminology when working with our vendor partners (including AV, F&B, hoteliers, etc.).

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

My only regret is not doing it sooner!

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

In our busy world, there is never going to be a perfect time to work on your application, achieve those CEs, and join a study group. Sometimes it’s a leap of faith and a willingness to put in those long after-work hours to study and prepare.  But I promise, it’s so worth it!  

LAST CALL for 2023 CMP Study Group!

If you have earning your CMP designation on your 2023 "to do" list, please email Gregg Lauer, CMP at glauer@etherio.com and Connie Bergeron, CMP at connie@siteselectionsolutions.com to let us know.  The CMP Information Session for the final CMP Study Group this year is scheduled for Tuesday, September 5, and all Study Group sessions are held on Zoom.  For any questions regarding CMP requirements, please visit the MPI Georgia Chapter link or call Connie Bergeron, CMP, at 404.819.0891.



Connie Bergeron CMP Headshot 2
Connie Bergeron, CMP, CMP Fellow

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