NBTA Launches Certification Program for SMM

The National Business Travel Association's industry-first certification program in Strategic Meetings Management will be launching as a pilot program this summer before the NBTA convention, held August 23-26. An industry-first, the Strategic Meetings Management Certified (SMMC) program is intended to help those involved in SMM programs to learn the discipline's key tenants, unique competencies and best practices.

"Since forming the Groups & Meetings Committee in 2003, NBTA has proudly led the charge to help businesses develop strategic meetings management programs," said NBTA President & CEO, Kevin Maguire, CCTE, GLP, in a statement last year following the SMMC announcement. "The business community has enthusiastically adopted the practice, and now we will again advance strategic meetings management by developing a professional certification program to codify and teach its core competencies and best practices."

In an interview with Corporate Meetings & Incentives, Kari Kesler, NBTA board member and co-founder of NBTA's Groups and Meetings Committee, described the required coursework for the SMMC.

"Participants must complete Core Week 1 and Core Week 2, as well as five electives," she told the magazine. "Core Week 1 is about the 'business of SMMP'—the many basic business principles that you need to know, such as stakeholder management, policy, sourcing and data analysis. Core Week 2 is very specific SMMP knowledge, things like technology, risk management and trending."

Kesler said the rollout of the certification program comes at a very appropriate time.

"Because of the economic state we’re in, it’s the perfect time to have an SMMP in place," Kesler said. "All the questions senior execs are now asking about meeting spend and tracking spend cannot be answered without an SMMP."

After the pilot program for Core Week 1, NBTA hopes to hold revenue-producing classes in the fall.
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