Chances are you know of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), but have you heard of these other associations for meeting professionals?
National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP). According to the NCBMP web site, they have been around since 1983 and is "a non-profit organization dedicated primarily to the training needs of African American meeting planners. is committed to the improvement of the meetings, conferences, exhibitions, and convocations they manage. Members of NCBMP include meeting planners from numerous business, civil rights, church and fraternal organizations. Associate membership is available to individuals who represent hotels, convention bureaus, city government officers, airlines and other suppliers who offer services to the meeting and convention community."
The International Special Events Society (ISES). ISES is an organization dedicated to special events professionals and their mission is "to educate, advance and promote the special events industry and its network of professionals along with related industries."
International Association of Hispanic Meeting Professionals (IAHMP). This group was "organized in 1995 by a small group of Hispanic industry professionals, IAHMP's goal is to provide personal development and professional growth within the meetings, conventions, festival and special event community... Formed to assist the meetings and special event planner, the International Association of Hispanic Meeting Professionals is a global network of industry professionals."
Do an online search and you will find many other types of meeting planner groups, not only by type of planner, but by geographic location (such as New Zealand Association of Event Professionals) and by job classification (such as wedding and caterer associations). Check what's in your area. These associations are great ways to build up your network of colleagues, find educational opportunities and discover what's going on in your industry in your neighborhood.
What do you look for in an association?