Cayce Brasel, Groups360 regional sales director, was recently elected to serve on the board of directors for the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Tennessee chapter as vice president of education for 2021 – 2022.
Brasel has been with Groups360 since May 2017 when she joined the sales team. She became a meeting advisor in July 2018, around the same time she first joined MPI — the largest international industry association for meeting and event professionals.
According to the MPI website, the organization has a global community of 60,000 professionals, including nearly 14,000 engaged members. In recent years, the Tennessee chapter has ranged from 250 to 400 members, prior to the pandemic.
“When you join MPI, they ask you to select a local chapter to facilitate closer involvement,” Brasel says. “I attended luncheons, mixers and educational programs hosted by the Tennessee chapter so I could get to know other local professionals in the industry.”
MPI special events
When she joined Groups360, Brasel brought years of experience in sales, entrepreneurship, business development and event production. Now a Groups360 regional sales director, she began volunteering on the MPI Tennessee chapter’s special events committee in February 2019.
“Not long after I joined, another member asked if I wanted to volunteer, and the first committee position I held was the silent auction chair of our annual awards gala in the spring,” she says. “It was a hefty obligation because the gala is the chapter’s largest fundraiser each year. My committee and I successfully met our goal of raising $20,000 to support membership scholarships, educational opportunities and chapter activities through the following year.”
The tornado that hit Nashville in March 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic following on its heels, waylaid the 2020 annual gala, as well as the numerous events and mixers the chapter would have otherwise hosted for local members.
“During that time, I stayed involved and in communication with different members,” says Brasel. “The director of special projects asked me if I would want to organize virtual mix events for the chapter to help foster engagement while we couldn’t meet in person.”
During the spring of 2020, Brasel organized a few virtual events for the MPI Tennessee chapter, including a mixology class and speed networking event.
A rising leader
Her ongoing leadership didn’t go unnoticed. When the director of member recruitment position became available mid-term, the chapter board of directors passed a vote to elect Brasel to fulfill the role on the board.
As director of member recruitment since August 2020, Brasel has spent her term following up on inquiries from prospective members and relating the benefits of joining MPI, which include educational events, professional development, invaluable relationships, and the ability to connect with MPI members around the globe. In addition to growing the membership base, she has worked to create value for current members, in collaboration with the director of member retention.
“One of the biggest projects we’ve implemented is a mentorship program,” she says. “We’ve paired existing experienced members with newer members so they can learn from each other, which has been really awesome for the chapter.”
When it came time to choose positions for the 2021 – 2022 board, Brasel applied for the position of vice president of membership, a natural transition in leadership growth, given the experience she had gained on that committee.
After the interview process, however, the selection committee slated her for vice president of education instead.
“I found out that their decision was based on my experience attending or being part of different professional development events,” Brasel explains. “I told them in the interview process that I’m passionate about leadership and personal growth, so they felt that this would be a really good role for me, to help educate and enrich our membership.”
As vice president of education, Brasel will lead a committee that includes a director of educational conferences and director of monthly meetings.
“For educational topics, I’m looking forward to getting ideas and feedback from the talented people on my committee,” she says. “Our industry is changing so much, and we all have to adapt to those changes. That’s why I also plan to look for ways that people can grow personally and mentally, as well as professionally and in leadership versus just in their specific career or role.”
A strong community
The past year has ripped the rug out from under countless meeting professionals across the world, as cherished careers have been put on hold or come to a halt entirely. Many meeting planners have found support for morale as well as ongoing professional development through membership in MPI.
“I’m thankful that Groups360 allows me to be engaged and to represent our company in an organization that has been essential to our industry,” says Brasel. “Both meeting planners and hoteliers benefit from MPI’s educational programs and professional networking. I appreciate being able to represent my company and this valuable organization, while growing professionally at the same time.”