JUNE E&A Print

Notes from the Chair

Thank You...

I wholeheartedly believe the sky is the limit for LGBT MPA and will always be deeply committed to the success of this organization. With that said, I formally tender my resignation as Executive Board Chair of the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association. While this decision is bittersweet and comes with a heavy heart, this is a pivotal time and one that I know requires new leadership for the continued advancement of our association.
I am deeply honored to hand over this position to my colleague, Derrick Johnson. This became effective on June 24, 2020. I am confident in Derrick’s leadership as we continue to grow and expand our impact on the meetings and events industry.
I look forward to serving as your Immediate Past Chair for the next year, working to advise and assist however needed.
With thanks and appreciation,
Jim Clapes
We Must Do Better.
The past month also stressed the importance of the fight for equal rights by all oppressed groups. For the meetings, events and travel business,, this is a difficult and important time to assess our progress with diversity and inclusion. Jim Clapes (now Immediate Past Chair) stresses the work we all can do to fight for inclusion and diversity in these two articles:

Town Hall Recap

As champions of equality, we understand the importance of addressing systemic racism in our own industry. In an effort to create an open and honest dialogue, we conducted our first ever town hall entitled, “Injustices and Racism in the Meetings Industry”. We successfully brought together thought leaders from various parts of the meetings community and discussed how the Black Lives Matter movement effects and informs the industry, the impact it has on other marginalized communities, and the importance of change.
For those who missed this crucial conversation, for our members we are offering a recorded version. Watch it now!

Pride Month with Your New Board Chair 

Smart Meetings checked in with our new Board Chair, Derrick Johnson and how he celebrates Pride virtually. Get a sneak peak of how his leadership and dedication has developed LGBT MPA in just a short amount of time.
Read about it here.

SPIN Episode 1: Have a Little Pride

Listen to the first episode of our new podcast series, SPIN! Derrick Johnson and Lars Henriksen, Chairperson of Copenhagen Pride, explore at how cancelations can present opportunities instead of obstacles. Listen now!

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In The News

Photo courtesy of San Francisco Travel
Earlier this month, Ray and Carina with heavy hearts announced the cancellation of this year’s IMEX America. We’re very sorry that we can’t offer our event for the LGBT MPA to hold the annual networking event in Las Vegas this year – it has become a tradition which many IMEX employees enjoy taking part in as well. To mark Pride month, we wanted to share these words by our resident poet and Database Manager, David Broadus:

‘And so, we march on. As we do so we take inspiration from the strength and courage of those who came before us: Harvey Milk and Rosa Parks, Edie Windsor and Martin Luther King, Jr. We again find ourselves at a crossroads, and the path we forge must lead us from where we are today’ 

Read the full blog here and the announcement about IMEX America’s cancellation here.

A Note From Visit Norfolk:
The city of Norfolk is proud of the inclusion and diversity displayed throughout our community as exhibited by Sunday’s Faith Leader’s March and similar recent peaceful protests. We stand against policies that suppress our African American community, and celebrate our creative and vibrant city for the endless contributions made from our leaders Mayor Alexander and Police Chief Boone, as well as from all of our extraordinary Black-owned businesses. They contribute to our city’s attraction as a destination to live, study, work and visit. We want to take this opportunity to lift them up and celebrate them. Please tag your favorite Black-owned business so we can continue to support them as a community. We have hope that we all will listen, learn and make the necessary changes to eliminate injustice. Together we are Norfolk. 
VisitNorfolk and Visit Virginia Beach have joined forces to launch “Together At Last,” a trailblazing co-operative marketing initiative that provides visitors with easy access to a wide variety of savings at more than 60 local businesses in both destinations, with more coming onboard. From cultural institutions to retailers, attractions, restaurants, breweries and everything in between, the new “At Last” pass will be available online at https://visitnorfolkvabeach.com/.
Ann Garvey, Board Member of LGBT MPA and Sales Manager of VisitNorfolk, was featured on th cover of The Meeting Professional.  Her contributions are in From Inclusion to Belonging, the narrative on how meeting professionals are ensuring that a great experience for LGBTQ+ event attendees is a growing priority. Check out the June Issue here.


This year, San Francisco’s 50th Pride Celebration was hosted virtually for the first time! Read about the online celebration and rally here


SF Travel is also hosting a Hotel Update Webinar for Meeting Planners. They have been keeping track of hotel openings with their Hotel Update Webinar Series. For anything and all San Francisco Bay Area Meetings, your San Francisco Travel Representative is Zeke Ramsell ([email protected]). Let him know if you have any questions about updates on the area! 
Join us this fall in Knoxville at World's Fair Park for the Knox Pride Fall Festival! Knox Pride Fall Festival is an open and free celebration of music, celebration and speakers focused on promoting Equality and Inclusion of ALL people. This event will be held at World's Fair Park on October 17th, 2020. This event will not be hosting a parade.


Visit Oakland’s LGBTQ community readies to welcome guests again. As Visit Oakland pivots to meet new health and safety guidelines, the destination maintains its most attractive draws for meeting planners: unique pre- and post-meeting activities in a diverse Bay Area city that continues to make history.

Until meeting planners are ready to visit Oakland once more, Visit Oakland has made its 2020 LGBTQ+ available for free both online, or travelers can order paper versions for free. The guide includes all the ways meeting planners can experience Oakland’s diversity and inclusivity complete with a welcome intro by CEO and co-founder of Oakland’s first all-inclusive @oaklandlgbtqcenter and @oaklandpride2020, Joe Hawkins (@joeluvscali) and a local spotlight on celebrity chef, @jenbiesty.

For more information please visit www.VisitOakland.com.
Hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants and businesses throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale (Broward County) are taking Visit Lauderdale’s Safe + Clean Pledge. The pledge provides a unified message that health and safety standards and protections against spread of COVID-19 are a top priority as visitors arrive for the summer staycation season.
Look for the Safe + Clean Pledge signs posted at area businesses and on listings for hotels, attractions and restaurants at tourism website sunny.org.
The Safe + Clean Pledge states: As Proud SOBs (Supporters of Broward), we PLEDGE to:
  • Follow CDC Cleaning Protocols
  • Wear Masks
  • Provide Hand Sanitizer
  • Practice Social Distancing
  • Train Staff How to Be Safe + Clean
  • Work Toward Contactless Payment

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