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Toronto Education Conference (TEC) Scholarship Recipients Experience

By: MPI Toronto Chapter Board of Directors | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | Sep 11, 2017

The MPI Toronto Chapter would like to thank Ottawa Tourism and the Shaw Centre for providing scholarships for our members to attend the Toronto Education Conference this year. Their support allowed an additional four members the opportunity to learn and connect.

One additional scholarship was provided to one member from the MPI Toronto Chapter’s Educational Reserve Fund.

Here are their stories:

Margaret Binns
Director of Administrative Services
Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association

Thankful!! On May 7-9, 2017, I had the immense privilege of attending the MPI Toronto Education Conference (TEC), which took place at the magnificent JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa.

I have attended several TEC conferences in the past, not only because of the great networking opportunities that it affords us all, but also because of the high-quality education content that is provided… content that meets my needs and is relevant to my role as an association leader and industry professional.  The TEC also provides an abundance of CEU credits for those that are working towards obtaining or renewing their CMP designation.

Funds for professional development are always scarce, especially for not-for-profit organizations.  I always make sure to save enough in the budget to attend this yearly and very worthwhile event.  This year, however, I decided to take the chance and apply for an MPI Toronto Chapter Scholarship, which if selected, would certainly help ease my department budget.

The application process was simple and straightforward.  Once submitted, I didn’t give it a second thought, figuring that there are so many more worthwhile applicants.  But, to my amazement, at the March 9th MPI Awards Gala, I was shocked and elated to learn that I was one of a fortune few that received a $500.00 Scholarship to attend this year’s TEC, provided by Ottawa Tourism and the Shaw Centre.

Wow!!! No one was more surprised than me.

Once I had time to reflect on my good fortune, I asked myself why I had never applied for an MPI Toronto Chapter Scholarship before.  After all, they are available to qualified members in good standing, who simply take the time to apply.

I was genuinely proud of myself for taking the time to pursue the application, and in turn, I was rewarded with a great gift that helped me achieve greater knowledge, while easing my association’s bottom line.

So, are you asking yourself the same question?  Why haven’t you applied for a Chapter Scholarship yet? Take it from me; it may just happen to you, too… really!

I urge you to regularly visit the MPI Toronto Chapter website at and click on “Member Benefits” and then on “Scholarships”.  You can apply for four different scholarships, such as:

  • World Education Congress
  • Toronto Education Conference
  • CMP Designation
  • CMM Designation 
These incredible benefits are available for you, as a valued MPI Toronto Chapter member.  So, don’t let the opportunity pass you by.  Believe that you can achieve!  I did…

Caitlin Burgess, CMP
Event Planner
Canada Health Infoway

In my fifth year as an MPI Toronto Chapter member, I was looking for new ways to be involved and I decided to take on the role of Marketing Lead for the TEC Committee. I wanted to challenge myself and get outside my comfort zone of logistical planning that I do in my 9 to 5 (or 6 to 10!) job. I put a marketing plan together for the first time and I wrote web copy, social media posts, and content for meeting Lite and the weekly eBlasts. I learned so much in this role, and was able to use my new skills and contribute even more to my team at Canada Health Infoway (Infoway).

JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa was an exceptional venue and host for TEC. The incredible food and attentive staff enhanced the amazing setting. The Monday night Reception & Dinner was out of this world – the venue literally moved the outside inside with live animals, beer and wine tasting, and amazing local music. 

One of my favourite sessions was Designing Meetings & Conference Experiences with Lasting Impact: The Cognitive Psychology of Planning by Sandeep Aujla, Multilevel Leadership Consulting. I learned so many take-aways to bring back to my own programs at Infoway, and I even put one idea immediately into practice onsite at TEC by “priming” attendees to enter the Learning with a View photo contest on Twitter (photos below). It was awesome to see the immediate increase in submissions and creativity of the photos! 

In the Strategic Meetings Management: Advancing from Event Planner to Manager of Event by Jessie States, CMM, Manager of Professional Development, MPI, I learned about MPI Academy, where there are so many on-demand education courses, webinars, and access to digital and live events. I am so glad to have discovered this resource to help me further my education, obtain CEU credits for my CMP renewal, and uncover an abundance of digital learning opportunities. 

My attendance at TEC was made possible by being the recipient of a scholarship. I came away from the conference with new ideas, new connections, and new skills to help me in my career moving forward. I cannot wait to see what next year has in store at the EVENT, April 12-14, 2018 in Ottawa!
Janet Green
Sections Coordinator
Ontario Bar Association

Our first day at the beautiful JW Marriott The Rousseau Muskoka Resort and Spa began with an awe-inspiring presentation by our opening session speaker Bruce Kirby. The topic was “Mastering Change & Clearing the Cluttered Mind”.  I truly enjoyed his lively presentation and left feeling inspired to incorporate his highlights towards mastering change. A couple of key points from his speech included: keep moving forward, face the fear of the change, and persevere (do not give up even when the obstacles may appear larger than life).  As busy meeting planners, our minds are often cluttered with the demands of our profession. To reduce the clutter, he emphasized the importance of reducing our digital consumption (yes turn off the cell phone/laptop/emails) in order to get the much-needed rest and rejuvenation we require to be more productive. 
The evening ended with fun-filled interactive games at the “MPI Foundation Chairman’s Challenge” fundraiser. This was an exceptional way to network and meet other attendees in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. We continued to “learn with a view” on Monday. There were nine different breakout sessions for both planners and suppliers with a wide variety of topics. Most of them qualified for clock hours towards the CMP certification.

Some of the topics were “Change Your Mindset from Sales to Strategic Partner”, “Leadership Communication”, “Flying by the Seat of Your Plans (Plan Z when A is not enough)”. I attended the “Designing Meeting & Conferences with Lasting Impact:  The Cognitive Psychology of Planning” session with Sandeep Aujla. Three key concepts are the pre-event; mid-event and post-event. Pre-event: set clear expectations and create a buzz about the event. Mid-event: use active learning triggers (video clips/pictures etc.) to create a learning experience. Post-event: create a buzz by using new approaches to learning such as peer-to-peer sharing about the key lessons that they learned on social media (e.g. a blog post). 

One of this year’s highlights was the last evening of the conference; we were awe-struck by what the JW Marriott The Rousseau Muskoka and PSAV teams accomplished by bringing the beautiful Muskoka scenery inside the ballroom for the dinner. As we walked in, we were greeted by a wide variety of local vendors (which even included life wildlife) and by local Native drumming. Being able to enjoy the evening celebration with industry colleagues was such a unique experience. The festivities left a lasting impression of “Learning with a View”. Overall, the value of the networking, the spectacular learning opportunities and the forging of new relationships with my industry peers has propelled me to already look forward to April 12-14th, 2018.  “the Event” is a collaboration of the MPI Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal & Quebec chapters.  I am positive that this will be an event that no MPI member will want to miss!

Jen Moir, CMP
Regional Director
Meeting Encore

What a privilege to be selected to receive one of the MPI Toronto Education Conference Scholarships this year. To our surprise, the other recipients and I were awarded the scholarships during the MPI Toronto Awards Gala. And while we had our fun fifteen minutes of fame on stage, the true value of this scholarship is of course attending the Conference itself; escaping the usual office routine to immerse in education and comradely with my MPI Toronto colleagues. 

As you may have guessed, the receipt of this scholarship allowed me to attend the TEC “Learning with a View “Conference this past May at the beautiful JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort and Spa. In its final year as we know it, this year’s Education Conference will be remembered as one of the best. The three-day conference featured engaging speakers, an intimate vendor show, early morning fitness activities, and plenty of evening entertainment. A few highlights include a games night, battle of the bands lip sync contest, a Muskoka-themed dinner, s’mores by the campfire, and a town hall to discuss our some of biggest pet peeves.

Education is of course the main focus of the TEC and it was also my biggest influence for wanting to attend. As a CMP, I am always looking for ways to earn continuing education credits to maintain my designation, and the Toronto Education Conference makes it easy to scoop up some of those much-needed hours while learning relevant industry-specific trends and hot topics. 

I am truly grateful to have been given this opportunity, thank you to the MPI Toronto Chapter and scholarship sponsors Ottawa Tourism and Shaw Centre.

Gabrielle Whittaker
Recent Grad
Humber College

I had the pleasure of attending the Toronto Education Conference held at the beautiful JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka from May 7-9th. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Learning with a View’ and this did not disappoint. The luxury resort is set on a granite bluff over-looking the lake The Rosseau. Surrounded by nature, it is hard to believe we are only a couple hours from Toronto. Having never been to “cottage country”, I was taken aback by the beauty of the property and made a mental note to return with my family in the near future. 

I was privileged to receive a scholarship to attend the TEC and am very grateful to the committee for awarding it to me. As a recent graduate, I highly benefited from attending the conference. The learning and networking were invaluable. Being with the same people over the span of a few days, allows members to build stronger connections and learn from one another. Together we experience the beauty that surrounds us, and learn from the multitude of speakers that speak at the conference. 

Bruce Kirkby kicked off the conference with an inspiring speech about taking control of your fears and allowing them to help you excel. Following him was Dan Berger, CEO of social tables, who spoke of future trends event professionals should expect to see in the next 10-15 years. The next day began with Stewart Hall and his team building activity, Rock the Stars. This event is one of the most memorable from the conference. Members joined together in teams, dressing up in costume and lip singing to popular music. It was a great bonding exercise among members, and one I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a fun team event. The rest of the day was broken into various sessions where members could choose which one to attend. I was very pleased with all the sessions I attended. As someone new to industry, it was interesting to learn which topics are currently relevant. 

As a new member to the industry and someone who was attending the conference alone, it was intimidating walking into a room full of professionals. Especially when after learning your name, the second question people ask is “who are you with?” For some, recent grad disinterests them, but for the majority they are very supportive and welcoming. Through the various events I’ve attended over the last year, the theme of peer support has shone through, and the conference was no different. One of the things I love most about this organization is how much members want to help one another. It is wonderful having a network of likeminded people, and makes attending the conference a very positive experience. 

During the closing remarks, it was announced that this was the last TEC. The Event, happening April 12-14, 2018, will combine the Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal & Quebec chapters, and will be the replacement learning conference for the TEC. The Event will take place in Ottawa at the Brookstreet Hotel. Being an Ottawa native, I definitely plan on attending, and highly encourage all members to take part and get the opportunity to visit Ottawa. 


MPI Toronto Chapter Board of Directors | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

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