I began my trading career in a rented room in Vacaville, California while I was still attending college. I had bought a book from an ex cab driver that told me I could make a fortune trading options. Anyone could get rich! I, of course, believed the book and proceeded to set up trading screens in my room. A postal worker who brought home a different ugly girl every night and a cool older black dude that loved to drink boxed wine into the wee hours occupied the other two bedrooms of an old dilapidated house we were renting from a strict old lady. In that time zone, I could start trading at 6:30 in the morning and would trade options till about 9:00 A.M. when I had to leave for work at the local Circuit City.

I was an over confident rookie options trader who had borrowed $2,000 off a credit card for investment capital. 


In search for the next destination…

The primary responsibility of professional meeting planners is to choose the perfect destination for a meeting, event, or exhibit.  Typical meeting planning used to center on choosing an appropriate venue in one of the main convention cities across the world. New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Dallas, Miami, London, Paris, and Rome were the A-list, and all the rest were secondary.

In the last twenty years, however, cities around the world have developed their own hunger for this lucrative convention and incentive trip business, and hotel rooms and convention centers are popping up in the most unlikely places. This explosion presents meeting planners with a wealth of quality, capacity, and budget options. It also presents them with the challenge of keeping their databases up-to-date.


At Microsoft’s 2016 Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Angela King, senior event marketing manager at Microsoft, rolled out a new program that all meeting planners should note.


Experienced delegates knew their way around and could attend break-outs and presentations without missing the networking opportunities that abound at the conference. Ms. King realized, however, that first-time attendees (who make up 40% of the delegates) were at a decided disadvantage. The vast conference offered so many learning opportunities that new attendees were often overwhelmed and unable to take advantage of all the conference had to offer. She decided to try to remedy that.

How Should Nonprofits Measure Performance?

Financial measurements are sufficient and appropriate in the for-profit corporate world, but strict financial measurements rarely reveal the strategic performance of the typical nonprofit. Financial performance measurement systems in the nonprofit world usually focus only on the measurement of donations, expenditures, and operating expense ratios. Success for nonprofits, however, should be measured by how effectively they meet the needs of their constituencies.



For the last six years, American Express has conducted a world-wide survey of meeting and event professionals in an attempt to uncover the trends that will characterize the meeting and event industry in the upcoming year. They survey thousands of event owners, meeting planners, corporate meeting producers, venue operators, airlines, meeting vendors, and travel professionals around the globe.

Premier Meeting Services studies the survey carefully and produces an extract of the findings. Here is what the industry is predicting for 2017.


  • The number of meetings will likely see a decline in 2017 and overall spending on meetings and events will remain flat. The uncertainty in the U.S. presidential election, the economic slowdown in Canada, Brexit, and world-wide terrorism will all serve to moderate meeting activity in North America and Europe. The collapse of the Brazilian economy and the outbreak of the Zika virus will depress meeting activity in Latin America.
  • Because of a world-wide increase in corporate M&A, internal meetings (trainings and sales meetings) will increase while other types of meetings will decline.
  • The Asia Pacific is the only region that will show an increase in all meeting activity.
  • Rising group air rates and hotel accommodations will serve to increase the cost per attendee in 2017 putting pressure on budgets.


A recent article in Barron’s said this:
Non-Profit accounting is arguably one of the last vast wastelands of corporate accountability; rules are lax, disclosure is minimal and available data are usually months, or even years, old.”

Robert Kesten, a consultant, policy advisor, and nonprofit executive added:
“A good accountant or bookkeeper working for a nonprofit can make it pretty hard for a donor to pick up on accounting issues.”

Recently, the FASB (Federal Accounting Standards Board) introduced new recommendations regarding: net-asset classification, improved disclosures of information useful in assessing liquidity, whether NFPs would be allowed to use either the direct method or indirect method of presenting operating cash flows, and whether unrestricted net assets should be renamed net assets without donor restrictions.  

Question - Do some nonprofits utilize poorly worded, but entirely legal and ethical, accounting rules to hide their true financial position?

Recruiting Volunteers for Your Next Event

How Important are Volunteers?

One of the most important steps in planning events for nonprofits is attracting, recruiting, and retaining volunteers. Our post-event feedback questionnaires ask the question: What was your event’s most critical element of success?  By far, the number one answer is – the volunteers.

It is surprising how many event planners come to us with no clear plan of how to attract, and hopefully retain, volunteers for future events. It’s not that it doesn’t occur to them that they will need volunteers, it’s just that they don’t seem to realize how important the volunteers are to their event’s success.

Meetings in Cuba?

On March 20, 2016, President Obama made history when he became the first American leader to visit Cuba in the post-Cold War era. Prior to his trip, the last American president to set foot in the country was Calvin Coolidge in 1928 – more than 88 years ago. Since the time of President Dwight D. Eisenhower the U.S. has placed an embargo on the communist nation of Fidel Castro. During his visit, President Obama declared the embargo will end when Congress approves the final legislation. Many restrictions are still in place, however.

American companies seeking to do business in Latin America have begun to contact Premiere Meeting Services about the meeting and event possibilities in Cuba. They see our pending new diplomatic relations with this communist country as an opportunity to educate their employees about the Cuban culture. They want to “immerse” employees in the still unspoiled local culture to help them develop a deeper understanding of Cuban and other Latin American markets. 

Attention Meeting Planner: What is Dynamic Meeting Planning?


A large pharmaceutical company asked their meeting planner to design an event around a new medical technology they were about to introduce to their sales force. They wanted the event to be a training in the new technology – a celebration of the product itself – a party that would motivate the sales force – and anintroduction of the technology to the medical community at large.


When the pharmaceutical company first contacted the meeting planner, they said they wanted to hold a national sales training for a new product introduction. The planner, of course, immediately started to scan