Message from the President:

Gulf Coast Express
Newsletter of the Houston Gulf Coast Chapter of SGMP
Winter 2013
Message from the President:
Inside this issue:
Linda J. Williams- CPM, ACG, CGMP,
City of Houston Public Works & Eng
“YOU”. We get asked
to work or participate in
endeavors. And when
we make the decision to
give of our very precious
time to that endeavor, it
is not a small dilemma.
I say this because an
organization like the
Houston Gulf Coast
Chapter (HGCC) needs
members like you who
Involvement can include
anything from attending
the monthly meetings,
hosting a meeting, being
a committee member,
participating in an officer
position on the board or
much more. Our lives
commitments and when
we make that decision to
commit ourselves freely,
we get much more given
back to us.
and more vibrant when
you get involved, “YOU”
take the burden off of a
shared when you get
involved. The easiest
way to burn anyone out
is to not have enough
people involved.
relaxing with them, so
even though I am
committed and working
with an organization, I
get so much more back
by getting to meet and
know some absolutely
wonderful people. So
for me, each and every
one of “You” by what
you do for HGCC makes
our organization a better
place for me and you.
I want to thank each of
you for all that you do for
chapter may be small
but it has a big heart. It
would not exist without
I have a love of people,
getting to know them,
Upcoming Events:
March 7: 5:30PM
Topic: Finding the
Appropriate Speaker
Host: Hilton Houston
NASA Clear Lake
Bring newspaper for
April 4: 11:30AM
Keeping Ethics a Priority
Host: Courtyard by Marriott
Houston NASA/ Nassau Bay
SGMP Region V
PIE Conference
March 1-3, 2013
Jan 2013 Event
2013 Region V PIE
Feb 2013 Event
Tips for Savvy Planners 3
Comm. Outreach
Fundraising Report
Financial Report
New Members
10 Tips for RFPs
Education Report
2012-2014 Board
January 2013: CYOA - Cover Your Own Assets
Tony Cross of the Division
Training/ Accreditation Manager at
the Houston Emergency Center
was the speaker at the Houston
Gulf Coast Chapter of SGMP
January meeting. This luncheon
was hosted January 10 at the
Marriott Houston Airport at George
Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Tony spoke the group with
information on how to protect
personal and professional assets in
the workplace.
He used his
extensive experience in the military
and security to explain his point.
HGCC looks forward to hearing
from Tony again in the future!
Thank you to our
January 2013 host!
Upcoming Region V Conference: Partners in Education
early bird registration prices for
Conference travel fees not in the
the Region V Partners in Education
Conference has been extended to
February 28! Join us on March 13, at the Sheraton Arlington Hotel.
Attend educational seminars, visit
the silent auction, enjoy the
information from suppliers at the
trade show and bring back a wealth
of information for yourself and
other planners in your office.
budget this year?
Chapter is offering a scholarship
for one planner’s registration and
hotel stay.
Watch HGCC’s
Facebook page for the winner to be
posted soon.
See page 3 for a sneak preview of
what you can expect from the
conference from Todd Hunt, the
PIE keynote speaker.
February 2013: How to Get the Most out of
Microsoft Office for Events
Carol Desai and Bonnie Sandberg
(pictured on left) with the City of
Houston E.B. Cape Center were
joint speakers for the HGCC
Monthly Meeting at the Hyatt
Regency Houston on Feb 6.
Bonnie and Carol covered uses for
PowerPoint specifically in regard to
events and planning. Thanks to
both ladies for a fun presentation!
This program qualified for the
technology core competency, which
can be used towards the GMS
program or renewing your CGMP.
For more information on either of
these programs, please email
[email protected]
Tips for savvy planners (and speakers)
By Todd Hunt, Business Humorist
SGMP 2013 PIE Keynote Speaker
Planning a tight meeting is one of the hardest things to do, because everyone wants “just a few
minutes” on the agenda. By the time the president delivers her welcome address, sponsors are
recognized, housekeeping announcements made, service awards given and everyone sings
Happy Birthday to the founding member...sometimes there’s no time left for the paid speaker!
So here's a suggestion for savvy meeting planners:
Separate your main speaker from other business if possible. One client had me speak from 5:30
to 6:15 pm, right before dinner. Perfect! Everyone came from the hors d’oeuvre reception (so
they weren’t starving), and were very attentive. Dinner was served promptly at 6:15. As dessert
came out, the president stood up, gave out awards and conducted other business. I wasn’t
competing for their time, nor they for mine.
Another client had me deliver the opening day keynote from 9 to 10 am. Nothing else -- not
even a presidential welcome. The second morning was devoted to association business
(president’s report, officer election, legislative update and so on).
Here are some more tips for a smooth meeting:
For Speakers...
1. If your presentation has nothing to do with the announced topic, at least be interesting.
2. Stop talking before the audience stops listening.
3. If you insist on speaking past your allotted time, you should at least be more entertaining than
the next scheduled event.
4. Your humor must be clean AND funny. Just one doesn’t cut it.
5. If you’re going to read PowerPoint slides, just mail printouts instead -- saving clients your
travel costs and speaking fee.
For Planners...
1. Skip the gift. It’s one fewer hassle for you, and speakers don’t need another clock or pen set.
If you do give a thank-you, how about a gift card? It's easy to carry home on the airplane.
2. Tell the speaker upfront if your group has any sensitivities (competitors referenced by name,
for example)
3. Keep announcements and other business separate from your paid speaker’s slot, if possible.
Audiences want to hear the big event, and you want to get the full value from your investment.
4. Most speakers keep it clean, but it never hurts to request a G-rated program...especially if
last year’s speaker was off-color, and you heard about it from members all year long.
5. If the meeting is running behind schedule and you need the presenter to shorten his talk, tell
him what time you want him to end. Professionals create their speeches in modules, so they
can accommodate such requests (but you must ask BEFORE they start their speech).
Todd Hunt is a business humorist who speaks to organizations that want to add fun to their meetings and
send members back to work smiling, with tips to improve communication and success. He will present
two programs for the PIE conference on March 2 – “What Time is the Noon Lunch? Maintaining Your
Sanity in the Wonderful World of Meetings” and “Finding, Hiring and Working with Professional
Speakers.” Visit him at
Community Outreach Report
Submitted by Sanaa’ Taylor, CGMP
Community Outreach Committee Chair
SGMP National is big on community service, and so is the Houston Gulf Coast Chapter. Unless
you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know SGMP HGCC is partnering with BARC Animal Shelter
and Adoptions for an ongoing community service project.
The animals are so appreciative of our newspaper donations that they asked the humans at BARC
to compose a letter from them.
Last quarter I asked you to stay
tuned for details about our critical
needs supply drive coming in June.
Well, here goes.
newspaper drive, we will have a
donation box for the following items
at the June 6 Awards Ceremony and
Silent Auction:
flea shampoo
Dawn dishwashing liquid
(brand-specific request)
small hand towels
natural rawhide chews
dryer sheets
tennis balls
new, unopened toothbrushes
unopened, unexpired peanut
Thank you for this quarter’s
newspaper donations. Keep ‘em
Sanaa’ and Patricia Swagerty will be coordinating a team on behalf of SGMP in
honor of HGCC member Lucy SanFilippo, who is currently battling breast cancer.
Would you like to donate time and/or money to HGCC’s team?
Email [email protected] for more information!
Fundraising Report
Submitted by Melinda Mintz, Houston Marriott South Hobby Airport
Thanks to all those who participated in the
fundraising conference call in January.
The Houston Gulf Coast Chapter 2013
Valentine’s Weekend Getaway Raffle.
The chapter raised over $350 through
selling raffle tickets for the package.
Congratulations to Veronica Montelongo,
who purchased the winning ticket and
thanks to all who supported the chapter by
purchasing tickets.
From Left to Right: Veronica Montelongo,
President Linda Williams, Treasurer Michele Moura
To join the fundraising committee or become more involved in the chapter, email
[email protected]
The chapter will be making an open call for volunteers for committees in March, so
watch your email and respond as soon as possible with your interest.
Thanks to our
Valentine’s Weekend Getaway Sponsors!
This fabulous prize was valued over $750 and included:
A champagne & deluxe chocolates gift basket, courtesy of the Hyatt Regency Houston
Overnight guestroom for two nights at the beautiful Hilton Houston NASA/Clear Lake
Two tickets on the Valentine's Dinner Cruise, courtesy of Star Fleet Yachts
Two passes to Space Center Houston and two All-Day Ride passes to Kemah Boardwalk,
courtesy of Bay Area Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau
Want to donate items for SGMP fundraisers? Email [email protected]
Financial Report
Submitted by Michele Moura, Treasurer
FINANCIAL REPORT – 2nd Qtr Fiscal Year 2012-2013
Michele Moura, Doubletree Hotel IAH, Treasurer
Starting Balance $5,320.61 (Oct 1)
Ending Balance $7,432.34 (Dec 31)
Meeting Registration (Oct-Dec). . . . . . .$625.00
No Shows Collected . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $00.00
Raffles, Silent Auction, Other . . . . . . $1,834.50
Revenue Share . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $832.00
Sponsorship Ad – Newsletter . . . . . . . . $00.00
Total Income: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,291.50
Bank Card/AMEX . .. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . $128.74
PO Box (annual Fee) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$139.00
Tax Preparation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $200.00
JLM Lodging Pres/2VP). . . . . . . . . . . . .$712.03
Total Expenses: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,179.77
Net Income for 1st Qtr . . . . . . . . . . . $2,111.73
Message from the Treasurer: On the “Income side”, the Silent Auction in December was
quite successful and rendered a significant amount of income, and revenue share was up.
Under “expenses”, the JLM (Joint Leadership Meeting), which is a required meeting for
chapter Presidents and 2nd VP’s was moved from January to October, and National no
longer pays for the (airfare or) accommodations. Our Bank Card/Amex fees will be
decreasing as we are now set up through Pay Pal for credit cards. There will only be a
couple more fees showing in the next quarter (3Q); the remaining fees/payments will be to
Pay Pal. At this time, it appears to be a considerable savings since we took in $400 in
February via Pay Pal, and the total fees assessed were only $16.46, when normally the
fees would have been $42.90.
In regards to Pay Pal, we hope to be able to accept credit cards at the door for future
meetings very soon. However, until further notice please pay your meeting registration online (preferred) or bring cash/check to the door. You can also purchase raffle tickets on
line, and for regular raffles you will receive one (1) extra ticket for the online purchase.
Note: $10 is the minimum online raffle ticket purchase for which you will receive 8 tickets
instead of 7. If you need to invoiced separately for the Raffle tickets, contact Melinda Mintz
and she will send you an invoice via Pay Pal.
We will invoice all No-Shows that do not cancel at least 24hrs prior to the meeting
(extenuating circumstances will be reviewed by the board). No Show invoice fees not paid
will be collected at the next meeting the planner/supplier attends. Please stay current!
Star Membership (our annual discount meetings fees) is available to everyone and will
save you the cost of a couple of meetings. Contact Melinda Mintz for more information
([email protected]) or pick up information at the registration table at your next
10 RFP Tips for Getting the Best Price
Submitted by Michele Moura, DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Intercontinental Airport
1. Get History from your previous venues, especially your guest room “pickup” day-by
day totals
2. Do not over-inflate your room block – attrition or room rental can be costly
3. State your preferred location – Downtown, Airport, Resort, etc
4. State your preferred dates; be flexible with dates as well as date patterns if possible
5. State the room rate or rate range you are seeking
6. Specify how many meeting rooms you need, the preferred set up, and how many
attendees per room
7. Be flexible with your set up style if possible (ex: crescent rounds instead of
8. Be flexible with your meeting space – if setting the General Session in rounds, hold
lunch in the same room
9. Utilize foyer space with 6’x30” table-tops instead of booths with pipe & drape for
exhibitors and vendors whenever possible. There is considerable cost savings
10. List your Concessions (value ads) in order of “Really Want or Need” to “Would be
Nice to Have”
Welcome New Members
Ernye Zawitkowski, Federal Bureau of Investigation (January 2013)
Robert Whitaker, ePro LLC (January 2013)
Congratulations to HGCC member Michele Moura,
who became a grandmother on February 13 at
11:16AM to Lillian Elizabeth, 6 pounds and 11 ounces.
Congratulations to both Gina Goosby-Harris, who was recently elected and Linda Williams,
who was re-elected to the Board of Directors of the Houston Metropolitan Federal Credit Union,
which is a 3-year term. The HGCC is lucky to have board members so active in the community!
Do you have an accomplishment to share?
[email protected]
Please email
Submit any announcements or newsletter articles by May 17 to be included in the spring
2013 newsletter, published by June 1.
Education Report
Submitted by Linda Williams, President
Education is our motto! I am very proud to say that we have now completed our 2013
calendar and if you have not taken a look at the speakers that we have, please do so. As show
business folks say, we have a really great line up. Please take advantage of some wonderful
speakers coming up. After the meetings, please let them know how much we appreciate their
presentations because ALL of the speakers have donated their time and are free of charge to
HGCC. If you have the opportunity, please try to attend the Partners In Education (PIE) 2013
March 1-3 or the National Education Conference (NEC) 2013 on May 22-25. These are great
learning opportunities! Please see our full 2013 calendar below (subject to change).
As a Rodeo committee member, I would like to put in a little plug
for the HLS&R. Whether you buy tickets, attend the BBQ, go to
the carnival or go to see the exhibits, all funds go for educational
opportunities for our children. So every time you are singing and
enjoying the concert, riding the roller coaster, biting into that tasty
turkey leg or taking pictures of those 18 little pigs that were just
born, you make a difference in the life of a Texas child. I
encourage you to put those boots and jeans on and become a
Cowboy or Cowgirl for a day at Reliant because you are educating
some really great kids and giving back to your community.
Society of Government
Meeting Professionals –
Houston Gulf Coast Chapter
PO Box 130746
Houston TX 77219
[email protected]
SGMP's Mission & Objectives have served the government
Our mission is to enhance the knowledge and expertise of
government meeting professionals. Our objectives are to improve the
quality of, and promote the cost-effectiveness of, government
meetings. SGMP is the only national organization in the U.S.
dedicated exclusively to government meetings. SGMP delivers our
membership value of education, resources and networking to our
3,800 members and through 32 chapters nationwide.
The Houston Gulf Coast Chapter invites you to join us during our
monthly meetings and become a member of our chapter. Meetings
are held the first Thursday of each month and include a variety of
professional development topics. Locations vary throughout the
Houston area allowing our supplier members to showcase their
properties and planner members to view different sites in a relaxed
social atmosphere. Check the “Monthly Meetings” section on our
website for the latest information regarding meeting locations and
educational topics.
2012-2014 Board Members:
President: Linda J. Williams
1 Vice President: [Vacant]
Vice President: Melinda Mintz
Treasurer: Michele Moura
Secretary: Gina Goosby-Harris
DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
• 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
• 1/2 cup rolled oats
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups semi-sweet, chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1.) Grind oats in a food processor or blender until fine. Combine the ground oats with the flour, baking
soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
2.) Cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice in another medium bowl with an electric
mixer. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and mix until just
blended. Add the chocolate chips and nuts to the dough and mix by hand until ingredients are well
NOTE: For the best results, chill the dough overnight in the refrigerator before baking the cookies.
3.) Spoon rounded 1/4 cup portions onto an ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Place the
scoops about 2 inches apart. (You will probably only fit 4-6 cookies per sheet at this size) Bake in a 350°F
oven for 16-18 minutes or until cookies are light brown around the edges and soft in the middle. Store
in a sealed container when cool to keep soft.