MPI sells out CMM program to GBTA

For ten years, I have held the elite, global Certificate in Meeting Management credential bestowed by Meeting Professionals International to less than 1% of its membership. The CMM was considered the “crème de la crème” of the meetings industry and required 10 years experience, a pre-residency, week-long residency, the successful completion of a business plan and a $6,000 investment. I was grateful to MPI for a scholarship from the Women’s Leadership Initiative to complete mine.

A week before Christmas, it was quietly announced by MPI CEO Paul Van Deventer that MPI formed an LLC with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and was making significant changes to the CMM program, including:

• The abolition of the Certificate in Meeting Management acronym - instead of "CMM" would be a "standalone trademark," standing for nothing

• Reduction of the residency to 3.5 days and the experiential requirement to five years

• The option to waive the business plan

• The program would welcome travel agents

    In frustration, I turned to my 400-member LinkedIn CMM Group and convened an international conference call with 51 participants on Wednesday, 15 January. I emailed the 15-point consensus from the call to Cindy D’Aoust, MPI’s COO, the next day. The resounding concerns were dilution of the credential through lowered standards and surprise that existing CMM’s weren’t consulted before such radical program changes were announced.

    In response, MPI published details for today’s call to discuss the changes with 21 hours notice. Despite that and the early hour (7:00 am PST), 56 CMM’s attended. Most of MPI’s contributions sounded like readings from their press release. Dr. Amanda Cecil, who chaired the CMM program task force, revealed that new CMM applicants would need to submit a resume and one reference. Gee. Further conversation was tightly controlled by the Operator/Moderator, who gave nine CMM’s the chance to speak one at a time. Afterwards, frustrations over the aforementioned concerns erupted via email and the LinkedIn CMM Group. 

    Cindy D’Aoust said the new CMM program was scheduled for a February launch and that our concerns would be taken into account beforehand. We trust that is the case.  

    Ann Rebentisch, CMP, CMM


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