Objectives: The purpose of The Society is to improve the quality and increase the cost effectiveness of government meetings by:
Improving communications, understanding and cooperation between meeting planners and suppliers through periodic meetings,
Expanding the knowledge and abilities of meeting planners and suppliers by conducting formal educational programs;
Aiding planners in locating and evaluating meeting facilities and support services;
Researching, analyzing and translating regulatory and legislative issues and policies which affect government meetings;
Influencing in decision-making areas that directly or indirectly impacts the scope of operations of the meeting planners;
Maintaining liaison activities with other professional meeting planner and supplier groups; and Providing guidance and advice to planners on all phases of planning, executing and evaluating government meetings.
In October 2000, Keith Hungerford, formerly with the Waterford Marriott, and Melinda Watkins, with the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, met to discuss the possibilities of forming an Oklahoma Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals, Inc. (SGMP). Since this is the state capitol, both decided the opportunity for formation was invaluable.
The National Conference Logistics Center at the University of Oklahoma offered a “Meeting Planning Made Easy” conference April 25–27, 2001, to get a jump-start on the interest of meeting planning. Quentin Roberts, Director of Sales, Waterford Marriott hosted the Awareness Meeting at an evening reception on April 25th.Forty people were in attendance to find out exactly what the acronym SGMP was all about.
Under the leadership of Formation Chair Melinda Watkins, sub–committees and chairpersons were established at the May 10, 2001, formation meeting. Chairs were Crystal Mappes, CMP—Steering Committee; Melinda Watkins, Membership; Vicky Baker, CMP—Program; and Mary Waggoner, CMP—Finance.
In the following months, sub-committee meetings were held and Oklahoma was at the beginning for improving the communications and cooperation between planners and suppliers through regular meetings. Each charter member continued to recruit new members until we could reach the requirements for charting. Our goal was to charter in the fall.
We reached that goal in October 2001 with 54 members and chartered November 8, 2001.The Wild West Chapter became the 27th chapter of the National Society of Government Meeting Professionals. Our goal is to promote the state’s economy by creating national awareness of Oklahoma’s resources and to continue networking with local suppliers and planners to increase our membership.