Successful Meetings - April 2008 - (Page 120)

Best Practices > MiGurus experts’ blogs from Words from the Wise WHEN WILL ASSOCIATIONS ADDRESS CODE OF CONDUCT ISSUES? We all have our core competencies. Mine is music, entertainment, and production. However, we in the meeting and event industry have a peripheral competency as well . . . to follow the legal law, the moral law, our own set of values, and the code of ethics put forth by the associations or societies of which we are members. Allow me to set a scene for you: A fellow meeting planning association member and person holding a “professional” designation and I created a company. I was funding By Mark Sonder, the company, with my partner putCSEP ting in the “sweat equity.” This partMark Sonder ner embezzled the monies sent for Productions, Inc. the company for his or her own personal use, opened up another bank account and incorporated the company with just his or her name—not including mine. This was, of course, all against our in-face meeting, during which minutes were taken. I brought this to the attention of the then president of the association to which we both belonged, as well as to the organization that accredited this person. I was told, quite understandably, that it is my word versus his or hers, and that when or if a court backed me up then, and only then, would any action be taken against this person. As I was damaged, I went to the Circuit Court in his or her jurisdiction and won a final judgment against this person. This judgment was of course signed by the judge. Armed with this final judgment, I went back to the headquarters of this meeting planning association as well as to their local chapter in this person’s metropolitan area, and as well as to the accreditation organization. The association’s response: “Sorry, we can’t help you as this person did nothing illegal in the chapter or headquarters.” The accreditation organization did not even respond. Karl Nybergh, meeting consultant at Conference Resources & Solutions, remarks, “Within the last two years, I have witnessed a member in good standing of many leading national industry associations bring formal complaints against another member. The outcome: no action was taken by any of the industry associations.” I ask, why?” Surprisingly, these associations all have criteria for a standard Code of Conduct for membership. They pride themselves on that standard, they recruit members based on that standard, and they groom members to become industry leaders on that standard. However, not one member association that I know of has yet to make the hard decision to review members’ behavior as it relates to their own association’s Code of Conduct. Then why even have the appearance of a Code or Ethics Statement? If the standard is not enforced; why have a standard? Fellow association members know we do not need them for the “good” people. Having stated some of the obvious, I feel that until our industry trade associations and societies and accrediting organizations develop and institute processes to enforce their respective Codes of Conduct, Ethics Statement, and Professional Decrees, I fear that this profession will always be recognized as only a “trade” rather than the “professional” designation that so many work towards and strive to achieve. We might feel a need to criticize, but a discussion of the possible solutions to problems, creating thought-provoking ideas, may ultimately be the best path to go down for us, both as individuals and as an industry community. It has been suggested to me that one solution might be the Better Business Bureau model. This is probably a good model to use in creating processes to place sanctions on a member. The goal is that these associations and organizations need to take a stand, if we ever want to be viewed as a professional entity. APRIL 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS 120

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - April 2008

Successful Meetings - April 2008
Editor's Note
Industry Trends
On the Record
Planner's Spotlight
Technology Talk
Personal Success
Websites of the Month
Food & Beverage
On Site
Professional Development
On Site
Professional Development
Miforum Q&A
Beyond the Flames
Reservation for—21,000
Casino Riches
Entertainment Jackpot
Who Needs a Passport?
The International Swing
Around the World in 18 Holes
Places & Spaces
Puerto Rico
Show Special: Washington DC / Frankfurt, Germany

Successful Meetings - April 2008