In the meetings industry, professional designations help set planners apart from their peers. While many Michigan planners are busy working on their next certification, Chris Rowley recently added a new one to her resume—Government Meeting Specialist (GMS).

The 10-year executive director of the Mount Pleasant Area Convention and Visitors Bureau was also voted Finest Sales Professional by the MPI Michigan Chapter in 2016.

Why did you decide to go after this designation?
It’s a designation that many of the members of the Michigan Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (MISGMP) have. I am an active member of the group and wanted to show my peers that I value the association and the designation.

How do you think it will benefit you in your CVB role?
I have gained a lot of knowledge for both my profession and for me personally by attending and being an active member in the MISGMP chapter. This certification shows my dedication and interest in the meetings market and events for government entities.

What was the most difficult part of the process?
The hardest part was finding the time to fill out the paperwork for the certification. Not that it was hard; I just finally made the time to complete the paperwork. I’m happy I did it.

Do you have other professional certifications?
I received my Certified Meeting Professional designation in 2013. I took the study course that Meeting Professionals International, Michigan Chapter was giving at the time. I am thankful to them and my fellow colleagues who were in the study group. Without that, I don’t know if I would have passed. I recommend doing a study group. The Michigan Society of Association Executives offers a great one and I served on the committee that helped write some of the questions for the online study course.

How’s life as the CVB director in Mount Pleasant?
I love the CVB world. Working in destination marketing is hard work, but also so much fun. I love my community and being able to talk about it, promote it, and market it for a living is what I love to do. Mount Pleasant is a small town with big city amenities. There is always something going on, but it’s still a small town. We have a little bit of everything here. 

What are you thoughts about being voted MPI’s finest sales professional?
I served on the MMPI board for six years, including the role of chapter president. I’ve been in charge of the MMPI Silent Auction for a couple years. I love giving back to the industry that has been so good to me. This is an award where I was nominated and voted for by my peers so I’m very honored and thankful for having been chosen.

Anything exciting happening your way?
There is always something going on in Mount Pleasant. Check us out. If you haven’t been to an outdoor concert at the Soaring Eagle Casino in the summer, for example, plan to have an event or meeting before the show. It’s a fun way to end a long day

MACVB Annual Educational Conference finally reaches the shores of Mackinac Island.

As I rode in the carriage from the Shepler’s Ferry terminal to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, my mind wandered to a scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” In said scene, King Arthur and his sidekick, Patsy, approach a castle while galloping and banging coconuts together. After a few moments passed and my mind wandered back to the tree-lined streets of the island, I realized it was the clippety-clop of the draft horses pulling our carriage that brought on my thoughts of Python.


First came COVID. Then came the tornado.

The northern Michigan community of Gaylord was just starting to rebound from the pandemic with its groups and events business as a new season was getting underway when a rare EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour struck May 20.

Two people were killed and at least 44 were injured, according to official reports at the time. West Michigan meteorologist Bill Steffen said it was the strongest tornado to strike in the U.S. that month. 


A conference or convention venue might be described by meeting planners as offering ease and convenience for multiple reasons. It may be because its address is easily accessible from numerous compass points. Or perhaps it’s the destination—with a variety of opportunities for activities and entertainment close-by. And of course, it could be that the venue itself offers a peaceful, easy setting with all the comforts you could want. 

Well, at Treetops Resort, it’s all of the above.