Having trouble viewing this email? Click here December 2020 Newsletter to view it on your browser.  
December 2020 Newsletter
Special Features in this Issue
  • President's Corner -
    Ainsley Onstott, CMP, DMCP
  • Than You to our Trusted Sponsors
  • Give a Litte, Get a Little with MPINE
  • How to Add Mind-blowing Holopresence Tech to Your Virtual Events
  • Keeping Safe During the Holidays
  • Community, Content and Porcupines
  • Meet Your Board Series:
    Membership Committee
  • Member Corner:
    Michelle Johnson
    New Members & Anniversaries
  • Upcoming Events
President's Corner
Happy Holidays MPI New England!  It is hard to believe that January 1st will mark the half way point of the MPI year. 
As we enter into the merriest time,
I think it is important to reflect on what we have accomplished together thus far this year and all that we have to be thankful for.
Faced with what is likely to be the biggest challenge in the history of our industry, the Coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted our community in both our personal and professional lives over the last nine months.
Ainsley Onstott, CMP  DMCP
  When we met in June, I vowed to devote myself to keeping the MPI New England Community alive and afloat, and to support our membership in whatever ways I could.
I am thankful for our dedicated Board of Directors, who have given their time and energy amidst their own challenges, to deliver complimentary virtual education and networking opportunities, strengthen new and existing partnerships, and keep our chapter financially stable. I am thankful for our membership and the honest feedback we have received on how we can help make the most of MPI for each of you.
I am thankful for the MPI Foundation and the IMEX Group for providing resources for financial assistance to our membership.  For more information on these renewal scholarships to members affected by the current pandemic, please reach out to MPI Member Services at or your local membership team at
I am thankful for the much deserved recognition of MPI New England in the global community.  For the first time in my almost seven years on the Board, our chapter was awarded a “Top Performing Chapter” designation by MPI Global.  In a year that took a tremendous turn, I want to congratulate Kristy Burns, Immediate Past President and the rest of the board for this accomplishment.
I am thankful for my family and friends, who continue to support me through the challenges of this year.  While it looks like we will continue to be virtual for the next few months, I know 2021 will bring opportunities for us all to help rebuild this industry and community to which we have dedicated our careers.  We will meet again!
 On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to wish you and your families a very safe and happy Holiday Season!
Thank You to our Trusted Sponsors
Give a Little, Get a Little with MPINE
Did you know that MPINE offers two different rates for our education events: a standard registration rate and a lower ‘Pandemic Relief Rate’?  The reduced Pandemic Relief registration fee was created for those of you who have been furloughed during the pandemic as well as those still working whose employers are no longer paying for education—or really, for anyone who is finding it a little too difficult to pay full price these days due to the varied ramifications of this pandemic.
In return for taking advantage of a reduced fee, MPINE asks you to assist the chapter in a small way, such as doing a quick write up of a session or providing a testimonial for our website or perhaps sharing a bit of your expertise.
This program, designed to benefit members and the chapter, allows us all to work together and help each other through this prolonged crisis. 
So, if you can pay the full rate, please do. Our chapter, like all businesses, needs funds to operate and this year has hit us hard, too.  But if you cannot, please do choose the Pandemic Relief option when you sign up! 
MPI NE wants everyone to attend our education sessions so we can all come back more connected, better educated and eager to share our journey back to live events!!
Look for info on this pricing option for the next Education event in January!  For additional questions, please contact Katie Butler, VP of the Membership Committee.
How to Add Mind-Blowing Holopresence Tech to Your Virtual Events
by Michael Cerbelli
Reprinted with permission from Meetings Today
TLC Creative Technology’s holopresence technology brings the Space Age to virtual events. Credit: TLC Creative Technology
Engaging. Captivating. Creative.
These are the requests I get daily from our clients.
Why? Because they need to step up their meetings and make sure virtual events feel live.
But creating captivating live virtual presentations requires visually stimulating productions using the most creative tools. Holopresence technology allows multiple presenters from remote locations to be blended on to one virtual stage, and its super low latency creates seamless audio and video, allowing real time conversations and presentations.
In the end, combining multiple presenters turns any virtual meeting into an amazing stage presentation!
Picture-in-picture can be used to add in any content or images that the presenters want. The images can be superimposed onto a virtual screen or added into the video in many creative ways.
By integrating live presenters with excellent content, TLC Creative Technology has been able to recreate the live experience using virtual technology! And adding in layers of visual excitement only adds to the presenters toolbox.
The Origins of Holographics
The technology was originally designed to “beam” someone from a remote location onto a stage as a holographic display. The hologram is then able to show the presenter on the stage by themselves or combined with a live person.
Photo: Here’s how TLC Creative Technology’s holopresence technology works. Credit: TLC Creative Technology 
Adapting this technology to the virtual environment, TLC has created the perfect way to enhance a virtual presentation, which creates a more memorable event. Having real-time interactions and the ability to feed off each other makes for the ability to do the spontaneous banter so often scripted out of a virtual event.
Check out my terrible acting in the attached video. But bad as that is, the holopresence technology is that great! I was seriously blown away by how easy it was to feel like I was in the same room while I was in a New York City studio and my other two presenters were in different cities: one in Toronto and one in Los Angeles.
This one gets a big #MCApproved!
Michael Cerbelli is the CEO & President of  Cerbelli Creative, a New York-based event production company that operates in the corporate, social, entertainment and wedding sectors of the industry.
Keeping Safe During The Holidays
By Greta Fox, FNP-BC
Let us be thankful that unlike the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we now have nearly a year’s worth of data about how the virus spreads, and that we know how to avoid an American replay of the Canadian post-holiday surge.
COVID-19 is an airborne virus, which as of this writing has caused close to 17 million infections and claimed over 305,000 lives in the U.S.  While contact with contaminated surfaces is a factor, it is primarily spread by respiratory transmission, from person to person, and through particles that linger in indoor air. Most people who are infected do develop symptoms, but they are contagious before symptoms appear, and an estimated 20 % remain asymptomatic, yet contagious, unknowingly spreading the virus in their communities. Mask wearing is proven to dramatically reduce transmission and deaths , but at this time it is not universally accepted by all communities, and mask mandates are inconsistent.
Most of us want to celebrate the holidays normally, with our families and friends, but cases are surginggatherings of different households, especially indoors, are proven spreaders of the virus. According to the CDC, the lowest risk holiday activities are small dinners limited to household members only, and virtual gatherings with others. As COVID pandemic fatigue sets in, the temptation to push boundaries and take chances can be strong. However, NYU epidemiologist Celine Gouder warns that “it’s really important to understand that the coronavirus hitches a ride on our trust and our love for our family and friends. It’s actually the people we trust most whom we’re most likely to infect and who are most likely to infect us, because we’re not going to take those same precautions.” And indeed, the post-Thanksgiving surge is here, with more than 200,000 new cases and 3,000 deaths per day in the US. That’s an American death every 48 seconds. Hospitals and health care workers are overwhelmed, with ICUs at and above 100% capacity in many areas. Many European countries are imposing strict restrictions or going into lockdown. Angela Merkel pleaded in Parliament that “If we have too many contacts now, in the run-up to Christmas, and it ends up being the last Christmas with our grandparents, then we will have done something wrong, we should not let this happen.”
Greta Fox
Family Nurse Practicioner
Board Certified
Let us be thankful for Georgia Institute of Technology professors Joshua Weitz and Clio Andris, who developed a risk assessment tool for gauging the odds, by county and by gathering size, of a COVID-infected person being present at a given event.
For example, in our county, there is an estimated 8% chance of someone having COVID at a gathering of ten people – that’s one out of every twelve to thirteen people - and going up to 20% for a gathering of 25 people, or one in five. These are not good odds.
In addition to factoring in the current rate of community spread, COVID PCR testing has the potential for helping to reduce the risk of disease transmission over the holidays, but only if used correctly, which can be challenging to accomplish, particularly for students returning home from college. The incubation period for COVID is up to 14 days, with an average of 4 – 5 days between exposure to the virus and the development of symptoms. The  probability of a false negative test the day after exposure is 100%, and there are many factors which affect the variable but significant false negative rates even several days after exposure in both symptomatic and asymptomatic people. It is important to understand that any given test is just a snapshot of the day that it was taken and doesn’t exclude an exposure that is too early to show up on a test, nor does it exclude exposure to infection after the test was taken- exposure can happen during travel, or at the destination if quarantine is not maintained.
The current recommendation is to fully quarantine for two weeks prior to travel, and to wait at least 4-5 days after the start of the quarantine before testing. Testing 72 hours prior to travel is required by some states, so planning ahead for a re-test at that time will reduce the odds of a missed asymptomatic infection. But this is still about risk reduction, not elimination. Precautions need to be taken during travel.  While I have not yet found this recommendation in the current posted guidelines, common sense suggests that host households should also quarantine and test, to protect their guests.  Precautions may still need to be taken during the visit, especially in the presence of particularly vulnerable household members, as the “six-foot rule” has been debunked as the gold standard for safe distancing, and gathering outdoors (safer than indoors, but still requiring masks and distancing), or ventilating indoor environments to reduce airborne/aerosol transmission can become more difficult as the weather gets colder. Even with distancing, the virus doesn’t care that you’re hungry - removing your mask indoors to eat is still removing your mask indoors. And clearly, a negative test result on its own is not a guarantee that one is not infected and is not reliable as an event screening tool, as evidenced by the (mainly outdoor) Rose Garden “superspreader” event of September 26, where negative rapid screening tests on site “cleared” guests to interact without PPE. The White House’s continued reliance on testing as a screening tool has resulted in ongoing outbreaks.  Let us be thankful that we have had the opportunity to witness these failures, which serve as cautionary tales.
At the end of the day, we need to keep current and informed, and communicate openly and frankly with our loved ones. We can mindfully decide together what level of risk is acceptable, and fully comply with the agreed-upon plans. We can also choose to play it as safe as possible, acknowledge the difficult reality that life and death are at stake, avoid the risk of making this holiday a loved one’s last, and follow the CDC’s recommendation this year to skip the trip this time to help get us all closer to the time when we don’t have to do this anymore. And while we’re at it, let’s be thankful to ZOOM for lifting its 40 minute time limit for free meetings on Thanksgiving, and hopefully for Christmas too. Have a happy, healthy, safe holiday!
Greta Fox is a women’s health nurse practitioner in the Boston area, with a background in urban family and community health. She is also involved in the meetings, events and hospitality community as manager of David Fox, Photographer, an MPI New England sponsor, giving her “dual citizenship” in both industries, and providing a unique perspective on the spread and mitigation of COVID-19. She is a blog contributor to as well as a member of the advisory board of the Covid Action Group.
Community, Content and Porcupines
A new member’s view from the 2020 Educational Institute
I arrived early and a bit uncertain…
feeling every bit the “new kid.”
New to MPI New England and a first timer at the Educational Institute.
It didn’t take long to realize that I’d come to the right place.  As members joined the online event and greeted one another like longtime friends, I was struck by the genuine sense of community.  I thought to myself, these are people that like, respect and help one another.
Thanks to pro-grade technology and stellar production from our friends at AVFX, the entire event ran seamlessly.  Which made it easy to focus on the great lineup of educational content curated by co-chairs Hollie Herrick and Michele Yebba.
But first, a quick break for a behind the scenes look at MPI partner the Museum of Science where we met two delightful porcupines.  I was working from home and soon found two of my younger “co-workers” (a.k.a. children) happily peering into the Zoom call over my shoulder.  Then it was back to business.
Author and advisor Jessica Pettit lead the opening session on an important and timely topic in today’s event marketplace: Inclusivity.  Jessica brings a perspective to event inclusivity that’s both mind-expanding and super pragmatic. Personally, it left me in a much better position to engage in these conversations with clients.  Her session alone was worth the price of admission.
And we were just getting started.  A midday break with Liz Padula, Founder of Artemis Yoga, proved a genuine treat.  I know, Zoom yoga…really?  Yeah, really.  We all spend too much time online and on computers.  I’m still using two of the techniques I learned.
The afternoon held a variety of interesting breakout sessions.  Too many to recount here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest checking out the two I attended. Steve Halling of AVFX shared expert advice on running a successful hybrid event.  And Buddy Miller of VectorFive brought an informed perspective on the safety resources we’ll need as we return to in-person events.
A short, but delightful presentation by John Wahko from Mohegan Sun (the location of the 2021 in-person Educational Institute) showcased the resort’s ability to host “bubble” events designed to keep both attendees and personnel safe.  But wait, there’s more.
If you’re the “give me one good reason to attend” type, here it is:  The afternoon session with attorney Tyra Warner provided an updated primer on contract negotiations in a post Covid-19 world.  I’ve seen Tyra speak before and appreciate her balanced perspective. Her presentation has evolved along with the pandemic and surfaces new topics that we should all be discussing with both our counterparties and attorneys.  This session is worth its weight in gold, literally.
The day concluded with some fast-paced destination updates delivered by Northeast CVB Reps from Bermuda, Montreal, Austin, Fort Lauderdale and Puerto Rico. And last, but not least, a behind the scenes tour of the AVFX studio where, as they say, "the magic happens."
And just like that, we were done.  I’d had an afternoon well-spent and have an eager eye to next year when we’ll be back, in-person at Mohegan Sun.  Hooray.
Meet the Education Committee
Katie Butler
Vice President, Membership
Joseph Souza
Director, Membership
The focus of the membership committee is two-fold: Member Care and Recruitment.  We focus on connecting with our current members to ensure they are maximizing their membership and achieving the return on time invested they expected.  We also develop and implement outreach efforts to recruit new members.  We consistently engage with members and potential members, sharing membership incentive information from MPI Global, and recognizing and rewarding active members (new and veteran alike) for their contributions to the success of our chapter. 
Membership committee requirements are:
  • We believe in and are an active advocate and ambassador for the values, mission and vision of the chapter
  • In an effort to communicate and update our team, we hold monthly committee calls where we discuss upcoming events, MPI Global initiatives, our current Membership numbers, and any other relevant topics for the upcoming month.
  • As a committee we run 2 Membership events a year and ask for co-chairs from our current volunteers to run the event together. We all work as a team to ensure the events are a success.
  • Volunteers assist with Welcome and Introduction phone calls and emails. We focus on our members journey through ambassador engagement. Our amazing committee volunteers are assigned to our new members as liaison’s and share the benefits of their membership via MPI 101 and MPI 102 website dissemination.  This 01process gives the new member the knowledge to keep them as engaged as they would like throughout the year and feel that their membership has value.
 Our committee is a great way for you to connect with fellow professionals and increase awareness of the many educational and business opportunities that MPI membership offers. 
Committee Volunteers: Elena Barbera, Aaron Cole, Linda Pond Rindos, Anita Rossi, Christine Sullivan, Johnice Veals, Serge Randolphe Jr., Kimberly Salvato, and Kay Ritter.
The Membership committee shares the value that you will never regret your involvement with MPI NE as it is great for your professional and personal brand and the more you put in, the more you will get out of it!!
Michelle Johnson
MPI: Can you tell us about The Anchor Group and what your job there entails?
Michelle: Anchor Group is an event agency specializing in both in-person and virtual events. We create experiences that drive customer value and objectives for them to really see purpose in doing events. In addition to events, I am also a Facilitator, Coach and Emcee for several associations and organizations in the hospitality industry.  I work with several MPI Chapters at the Board of Directors level to help them strategize their business focus for each of their terms. My job at Anchor Group is Boss Lady as my team would say. I am actually the owner and President of the company. 
MPI: What is your previous work experience?
Michelle: Before Anchor Group I was a part owner of C3, Creative Community Connections, also an event agency out of the Boston area. Before that I was the Director of GLobal Events at the Timberland Company (yes, the footwear peeps!) Also a fun tidbit to share, I am a Past President of MPI New England and served an 18-month term back in 2012-2014!
MPI: What was the catalyst for you to join MPI?
Michelle: I have been a member of MPI now for over 15 years! I was invited to attend a meeting many moons ago up at the Cliff House in Maine where I saw a presentation on event experiences and engagement
and while it was a firehose of information, I could not get enough of it and clearly have been “drinking the Kool-Aid” ever since!
MPI: What do you expect to gain/learn from your participation in MPI?
Michelle: Even though my experience with MPI has been for quite some time I can tell you that what I get out of it is solely driven by what I put into it. No matter the length of time or who you know, your engagement with the chapter and on a Global level comes back to you 10-fold if you partner with your experience and not just be an at-large member waiting for something to come to you.
MPI: Will you be volunteering on a committee and if so, why?
Michelle: I give of my time in many ways to MPI, but on a Global level and in International committees.
MPI: Can you tell us some of your personal interests outside of the industry?
Michelle: I am a Mom of two amazing boys Andrew and Ryan, both in college now, so adapting to the empty nest experience for sure with my husband Dave. I love to travel everywhere, and I am super lucky that my job gives me the ability to do that. I am a huge fan of connections, so no matter what I do or where I go I am always looking to meet new people and learn from them. I love anything on a lake or near a body of water. I could be there for days, a week or a lifetime!
Celebrating new members in November 2020
  • Adrian Aleckna, CMP
    American Translators Association
  • Maria Arita
    Fidelity Investments
  • Kerrie Furtado
    Providence Warwick CVB
  • Christina Healy
    Fidelity Investments
  • Alisha Martin
    Fidelity Investments
  • Meredith Miller, CMP
    Tyler Technologies
  • Bethany Roskin Murphy, CMP
    Akamai Technologies , Inc.
  • Samantha Stevens
    Fidelity Investments
Celebrating Member Anniversaries
  • Marie Sullivan-Elliott, CMP
    Eaton Vance Management, 21 years
  • Debbie Howarth, Ed.D., CHME, CHDM Johnson & Wales University, 11 years
  • Barbi Cramer, CMP,
    Staples, Inc.     7 years
  • Amy Turell, CMP
    Teradata, 7 years
  • Meredith Rusting
    Combined Jewish Philanthropies
    7 years
  • Suzanne Miraglia, Director of Sales, Mirbeau Inn and Spa, 6 years
  • Audrey Holsomback, CMP
    The Mirage Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, 5  years
  • Piers Dooley, CMP, CMM
    Boston College, 5 years
  • Deborah Stark
    Charles River Development, 5 years
  • Bryn Gagliardi
    Johnson & Johnson, 4 years
  • Matthew Danto
    Hyatt Regency Boston, 3 years
  • Heather Schell
    Boston Park Plaza/Highgate Hotels, 3 years
  • Heather Munnell
    VDA 3 years
  • Marcie Falconero
    XO The Girls - Felicia's Perfect Setting, 3 years
  • Melanie Smith, CMP
    Amadeus, 3 years
  • Sandra Lima
    Harvard University, 3 years
  • Arielle Williams
    Combined Jewish Philanthropies
    2 years
  • Emily Olson, CMP
    Arrow Event Management, 2 years
  • Lynn Hughes
    New England Aquarium, 2 years
  • Julie Bowerman, 1 year
  • Elena Barbera
    The Barbera Company, 1 year
  • Peter O'Malley
    Peter O'Malley is Magic, 1 year
  • Meridith Beird, 1 year
  • Leigh Sjogren
    Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    1 year
  • Chelsea Degree
    Marathon Health, 1 year
  • Bob Levine, 1 year
  • Emyline Lumasag
    Corinthian Events, 1 year
  • Aimee Freeman
    Ashworth College, 1 year
  • Serge Randolphe
    Catering Brand, 1 year
The Winter Auction
opens January 3, 2021
Keep It Social
MPI New England MarComm Team
Robert Rebholz
Vice President,
Marketing & Communications

Gayle Gilberto

If you no longer want to receive emails from MPI New England,
please Opt-Out.

Cvent - Web-based Software Solutions