MPI Virginia Annual Conference 2022

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Honorary Achievment Chapter Award





Are you new to the meetings industry and interested in strengthening your leadership skills?  Are you looking to climb up the professional ladder, but aren’t quite sure where to step?  Becoming an E.M.P. (Emerging Meeting Professional) provides you with the opportunity to learn, innovate, collaborate, and advocate with the best and brightest of MPI Virginia!  During this 8-month program, participants learn how to enhance their communication skills, hone their networking capabilities, improve their financial knowledge, and build their tools in advocacy, all while better developing their leadership skills.  You will also be connected with a mentor to help you better navigate the industry.


Fellow MPI-VA members, Past Presidents, planners, and facilitator-extraordinaire’ s Ann Buhl, Ariel Cole, and Jeff Schmid will lead each class on their emerging professional journey and connect each session with the pillars of MPI (Learn! Innovate! Collaborate! Advocate!). Full participation in this program provides up to an estimated 25 CEU clock hours.



1st Meeting: Networking & First Impressions
Thursday, October 8, 2020

10:00 am -1:00 pm
CEU Credit Hours:  CMP Domain G – Meeting or Event Design (3 Hours)

Speaker:  Liz Bryant, Liz Bryant Business Etiquette

This session will be led by the facilitators and a networking expert. The focus of this session is key communication techniques to help combat any business situation, especially in a crisis.

2nd Meeting: Annual Conference & Volunteerism

This session will take place throughout MPI-VA’s Annual Conference and include a breakout session on the importance of advocacy and volunteerism within the industry, as well as a mentor meet and greet and virtual happy hour. 

Date & Location:  December 16-18, 2020; TBD

CEU Credit Hours (various domains):  6 hours

3rd Meeting: Public Relations & Communications in the Events World

The EMP facilitators and a leading PR expert will teach participants the best ways to communicate in the hustling and bustling world of events.  This will be followed by a mentor check-in and monthly education meeting linking to the concepts taught in the preceding class.

Date & Location:  January 7, 2021; VIRTUAL
CEU Credit Hours (session and monthly meeting):  CMP Domain I – Marketing (4.5 Hours)

4th Meeting: Human Resources Do's and Dont's

Learn from experts the best way to treat others and be treated in the workplace.

Date & Location:  March 11, 2021; Richmond, VA or Virtual (TBD)
CEU Credit Hours:  CMP Domain E – HR (3 Hours)


5th Meeting: Leadership 101

Join fellow MPI-VA leaders and facilitators in a session featuring how to best succeed in service as a volunteer leader.  This session will be followed by a mentor check-in and monthly education meeting celebrating Global Meetings Industry Day. 

Date & Location:  April  8, 2021; Location TBD
CEU Credit Hours:  CMP Domain A – Strategic Planning (4.5 hours)

6th Meeting (Final Meeting): Importance of Professional Development & Industry Certification

The final session of the program will be taught by the program facilitators and focuses on the best ways to advance in your career.  The session will end in a celebratory mixer with the participants, mentors, facilitators.

Date & Location:  June 10, 2021; Location TBD
CEU Credit Hours:  CMP Domain F – Stakeholder Management (3 hours)


Program graduation will take place at the 2021 Annual Conference in August.



Ann Buhl, CMP, CMM

Ann Buhl, CMP, CMM, BRMP, has over 30 years’ experience in the Hospitality and Event Industry and has a passion for leadership development, strategic meetings management and facilitating organizational change management. Ann is a past president of MPI Virginia, has actively served on numerous committees and in various roles since 2009.  She has been a featured speaker at various MPI chapter meetings, annual conferences and CMP Conclave to discuss how to reach your professional, stakeholder and program goals, strategic meetings management and how to improve planner and supplier relationships. Ann currently teaches CMP certification education courses, serves as Director of Leadership Development for the Virginia Chapter, and a Facilitator for MPI.
During the day she works as, Senior Manager, Meeting and Event Planning for The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond where she has the opportunity to lead a diverse team of industry professionals and doesn’t believe successful careers just happen they have to be planned and executed like a successful program or event. 
Strengths: Leadership Development, Strategic Meetings Management and Organizational Change

Ariel Cole, CMP

Ariel Cole, CMP, is an enthusiastic meeting professional with over 13 years of experience in the events and hospitality industry.  Ariel is currently the Special Events Manager at Reynolds Community College – managing events on three campuses for the President’s Office and the Office of Institutional Advancement.  Previous to Reynolds, Ariel served as the Assistant Director of University Events at The College of William & Mary.  She brings hospitality perspective to meeting planning as she started her career in hotels in various catering and sales positions. 

A Past President of MPI, Ariel has been an active member her entire career and has a passion for the industry.  Her belief in continuing education is evident through her work with the chapter on the Education, Annual Conference, and Certification committees.  



Jeff Schmid

Jeff Schmid has held leadership positions in many community and industry organizations.  Most notably, he has spent the last nine years volunteering for the MPI Virginia earning the 2013-14 Chapter Planner of the Year and serving the chapter as a board member for the past five years including 2 years as Chapter President. He is very proud to be a part of the leadership team that brought a “Top Performance Chapter” by MPI Global award to the Virginia Chapter. Most recently, Jeff has completed his training to a MPI approved Chapter Facilitator where he will assist other chapters in defining and building processes to be great chapters for MPI.


In his day job, Jeff is the assistant director for the meetings & travel department at the United Network for Organ SharingUNOS is the private, non-profit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system under contract with the federal government.  Jeff loves working for an organization that has the ultimate goal of saving lives!  With over 20 years of management experience in both his career and multiple volunteer organizations, Jeff has developed a passion for leadership and for creating positive, upbeat environments that allow teams to excel, learn and grow. 


Jeff has been married for almost 20 years to his extremely patient wife Jennifer and has a beautiful and amazing daughter named Jillian, who is currently studying at Christopher Newport University to be an elementary school teacher. In his limited free time, Jeff enjoys playing drums in his church’s praise band and volunteering with a variety of youth and community organizations.


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