Professional Organizations


To join or not to join? To certify or not to certify? Maybe you’ve asked yourself these questions. Four panelists were on hand at the Event Coordinators’ Network’s workshop to provide answers. The organizations represented were the: Georgia Chapters of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI); Meeting Professionals International (MPI); National Association for Catering and Events (NACE); and International Special Events Society (ISES).

An overview of each organization generated many questions from the audience:

  • Why should I join a professional organization?
  • Which organization should I join?
  • Do I need certification?
  • How much does certification cost?
  • Are there other ways to get the education without being certified?

The benefits of joining a professional organization include:

  • Networking
  • Mentoring
  • Updates on current trends and developments
  • Consistent communication (email, newsletter, website, etc.)
  • Career development
  • Continuing education (conferences, webinars, local meetings)
  • Access to resources
  • Leadership training
  • Volunteer opportunities that help you build your personal brand (most professional organizations offer opportunities to non-members)

The benefits of certification include:

  • Career opportunities
  • Personal  and professional sense of accomplishment
  • Evidence of knowledge, skills, and abilities

Often, we feel we are too busy to join another group or attend another meeting; however, just like with anything else, you get out of it what you put into it. Don’t join just to have your name on a membership roster or to have another line on your resume. Don’t get certified just to have some letters after your name. Join (and get involved!) or certify because it will make a difference for you — personally and professionally.

Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

HSMAI is the hospitality industry's source for knowledge, community, and recognition for leaders committed to professional development, sales growth, revenue optimization, marketing, and branding.

Mission Statement: To be the leading source for sales and marketing information, knowledge, business development, and networking for professionals in tourism, travel, and hospitality.

HSMAI is a global organization of sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry while operating as a leading voice for both hospitality and sales and marketing management disciplines, as well as connecting members with customers. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising nearly 7,000 members from thirty-five countries and chapters worldwide.

HSMAI International -

HSMAI Georgia Chapter -

Meeting Professionals International (MPI)

Meeting Professionals International, the premier global association community for meeting and event professionals, believes in the unequalled power of events and human connections to advance organizational objectives.

MPI—founded in 1972—believes that meeting and event planners serve a critical role in the success of business and is committed to giving its members the very best in professional development, business opportunities, and a vibrant industry community.

MPI is celebrating forty years as a strong and diverse community of meeting and business event professionals. As the industry has grown and gained prominence, MPI has been at the forefront of providing content, research, and business connections enhancing the performance of its members. MPI celebrates its community of planners, suppliers, students, faculty, and various professionals whose leadership, camaraderie, and connections are the backbone of the organization.


MPI Georgia Chapter –

National Association for Catering and Events (NACE)

The National Association of Catering Executives, the oldest and largest catering association in the world, encompasses all aspects of the catering industry. Dedicated to promoting career success for its members and the professionalism of the industry, NACE offers educational programs, professional certification, chapter initiatives, networking opportunities, recognition and awards programs, a job bank, community service projects and the industry’s most prestigious annual conference. In helping its members enhance their business and careers, NACE helps the industry reach its highest potential.

The mission of NACE is “To provide catering and event professionals superior education, networking and resources to enhance career success and deliver excellence to clients.”


NACE Georgia Chapter –


International Special Events Society (ISES)

The Mission of ISES is to educate, advance, and promote the special events industry and its network of professionals along with related industries.

To that end, we strive to…

  • Uphold the integrity of the special events profession to the general public through our "Principles of Professional Conduct and Ethics"
  • Acquire and disseminate useful business information
  • Foster a spirit of cooperation among members and other special events professionals, and…
  • Cultivate high standards of business practices.

ISES International –

ISES Georgia Chapter –

Information regarding each professional organization, including membership qualification and fees, meeting schedule, continuing education, conferences, and certification process can be found at their respective website.