The CMP Designation

Studying for the Certified Meeting Professional exam? MPI Ottawa has you covered!
Learn More

MPI Ottawa Upcoming Events

Check out all the exciting events taking place in the upcoming 2023/2024 year!
Learn More

Overall Excellence Chapter Award



April 2019 President’s Message: Don't lose focus


By: Greg Plazek | Apr 12, 2019

We are all moving “a mile a minute” these days. Throughout this busy journey, though, I firmly believe that every once in a while, life sends us little reminders to help keep things in perspective.

I was filling out a survey recently and I came across a question that stopped me in my tracks. The question was this: What is something you want to do in the next year that you have never done before? I started to feel some anxiety and was convinced that I was just psyching myself out. Of course, there must be something that I had planned to do this year that I have never done before. You know what – I left the question blank. Everything that I could think to write down was just a slightly enhanced or modified version of something that I have already done. What did this tell me about myself?

Please do not worry as I was able to talk myself off the ledge and I am OK with leaving this question blank . . . this time! What this showed me was that I had not taken any time to focus on just me. I didn’t even notice this as I was so busy filling my time with everything else that needed to be done! One of my sons, who is now gainfully employed and living his best life as a young professional, often sends me messages of career advice! “Hey Dad check out this link that tells you that you need to spend at least an hour a week learning something new – it is the key that the most successful people in business today follow”. Maybe he was on to something? Had I lost focus on my well being and personal development?

How does this relate to the MPI Ottawa Chapter? Well, if you were at our AGM in September, you heard that we needed to focus on the financial health of the chapter in 2018/2019. We were fortunate to have had a surplus to spend over the past few years and now we are in the stage of rebuilding these funds. We review the financials of the previous month in detail at our monthly board meetings and at our last meeting we also did forecasting to the end of the year to get a pulse on whether we needed to make adjustments to our spending or not. One of our brilliant board members reminded me that sometimes the cost of reducing expenses in certain areas cannot just be measured in a dollar amount. There is a human cost to this as well. In this case, we were questioning an item in a member event budget. The incredible stress that we would put our volunteer members under by doing this was far too expensive. I was so focused on the financial health of the chapter that I was losing focus on what we are really all about. I don’t even know if this board member would remember the situation but it will stick with me for many years. We need to keep focused on every decision that we make and ensure that it is the best decision for our members.

I implemented something new at our board meetings this year. It was motivated by my wife finding a box of old trophies our children collected over the years, some of which we could not even remember what they were for! One of these was destined for the trash can when I got the brilliant idea to make this into an award for Board Member of the Month! It even has the MPI Ottawa logo on it now. I hope our board members enjoy this little addition. What it truly does, though, is it helps me to focus on recognition and fun at our meetings. Both of these items are critical to the health of our board of directors.

Now to focus on what is coming up next for the MPI Ottawa Chapter! By the time you read this article, we will have likely already celebrated GMID as a chapter on April 4. This committee has worked incredibly hard to put together what I already know will be an amazing morning of industry focused education. On April 28 and 29 our Board will be getting together for our year-end retreat where we will spend two days of in-depth meetings with our MPI Global Chapter Business. This helps us map out the plan for the next year while assessing how we have done in the current year.

Our final event on the calendar for this 2018/2019 year will be the Prix Prestige Awards Gala on May 15. This is always such a highlight for me, sharing in celebrating excellence within our Chapter and industry. Registration is open now at Prix Prestige Awards Gala for this don’t miss event.

Lastly, I want to remind everyone that MPI’s World Education Congress 2019 is being held in our own country – a “short” trip down the 401 in Toronto from June 15 – 18! This is a fantastic educational and networking experience and I sincerely hope you are able to take advantage and attend.

Spring is nearly here! Do not lose focus on all the beautiful signs that nature will give us as we thaw from a long cold winter.

Article Written By Greg Plazek, Marriott International

Article Edited By Cynthia Beaudin, Canada Foundation for Innovation



Greg Plazek

Load more comments
New code
Comment by from




Connect with Us

Chapter Advertisement

Job Postings





Chapter Advertisement