December 2017 Print

President's Report

Holiday Greetings Everyone! 

     The Holidays are my favorite time of year; bright lights, parades, shopping, wrapping presents, decorating, and spending time with family and friends. 
     However you celebrate this time of year, we can all relate to the effort that goes into preparing for it. And It can be a bit stressful juggling everything. But once the tree is up, the house is decorated, and presents are wrapped, it all starts coming together to create an environment to celebrate with loved ones.   

 Van Gogh said — 
great things are done by a series of small things brought together. 
And he was right. 

     Our Chapter goals are simple and ongoing. We want to create an environment for our members to build new relationships and maintain current ones, receive programming for personal and professional growth, and give back to the community by helping others less fortunate. I serve on the board because I want to help create an environment like that for myself and others.
     I want to acknowledge and thank those who have committed their time and effort for our membership since I became president in June. The effort of all creates a much bigger accomplishment than we could ever achieve individually. 

  •       All members and non-members who generously donated items for our Holiday Auction.
  •       Our suppliers who help create a networking session at our chapter luncheons by
          exhibiting and promoting your area to attendees.
  •       Visit Fayetteville, Great Wolf Lodge, Johnston County Visitors Bureau for being our
  •       Lori Schwarze — For her effort in producing our quarterly Newsletters, sponsor
          management, website maintenance and heading up the Communications Committee. 
  •       Sarah Campbell — For managing our membership committee, handling registration and
          all the other things that come with being the Membership Chair.
  •       Danielle Rivenbark — For organizing the Holiday Auction this year, and heading up the
          Honors, Awards and Nominations committee.
  •       Tarshi McCoy — For securing hosts and speakers for our programs as our Programs
  •       Nicole Keshler — For managing our chapter funds as Treasurer.
  •       Our Speakers — Who gave us their time and knowledge.
  •       Our Meeting Hosts – For providing their venues and lunch for our chapter meetings.
  •       The NCSGMP Board members — For the time and effort you put into our Chapter.
  •       Our New Members — We are so glad you have joined and we look forward to you being
          part of our Chapter.
  •       And all the others who, behind the scenes, help us achieve our goals, and you know
          who y
    ou are. You provide feedback, make suggestions, and jump in when needed.  

     Your contributions do not go unnoticed. And your efforts will lead us to our greater accomplishment; a chapter we can be proud to be part of. 

     I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and I look forward to working with you in the new year!



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Holiday Online Auction Summary
— Danielle Rivenbark, Chair

Over the past few years fundraising has been one of those things that is scary, but necessary. Personally, I am not someone who thrives on asking people to donate things, or bid on items, but alas, I volunteered to chair the auction. While it was an incredibly intimidating task, I made my best effort. And the results were worth it. We raised $1832 that will go towards programming and scholarships for our members.

Here are the numbers:
-        Number of items donated: 39
-        Amount Raised: $1,832
-        Number of Bids: 101
-        Items sold: 31
-        Top Items

o   Two nights in Atlantic Beach – 13 bids
o   Carolina Hurricanes Tickets – 7 bids
o   Great Wolf Lodge Stay – 7 bids
o   North Charleston Marriott – 6 bids

First, we could not have had such a successful auction without all those who donated and contributed.

Second, a big thank you goes to our dedicated suppliers and members, who donated some fabulous gift baskets, overnight stays, tours, art, and jewelry.

Finally, thank you to those that got the word out on social media, via email, and at their workplaces! Getting people outside our chapter to bid on items was one of our goals this year and 90% of the winning bids came from outside the chapter.

Without all of you, we could not have been successful. Thank you! 

Our auction donors: 

Dana Hrubrik 
Susan Jensen
Cindy Lee 
Durham CVB
Myrtle Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau
Danielle Rivenbark
Ramada Plaza Fayetteville
Twin Lakes Golf Course
Mid Pines/Pine Needles
BlueSky Oil and Vinegar 
Unscripted Hotel, Durham
Pour Taproom, Durham
Hampton Inn & Suites Jacksonville
Wilmington & Beaches CVB 

Moe's Southwest Patterson Place 
Carla Stowe
DoubleTree Atlantic Beach
DoubleTree New Bern 
Hampton Inn & Suites Carrboro  
Lisa Sheffield
Twin City Quarter
Visit Winston Salem
Hilton Durham Near Duke 
Marriott North Charleston
Great Wolf Lodge
Visit St. Petersburg
Visit Raleigh
Fayettevillle Area CVB





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Past meeting recognition

The Hilton Duke University was the host property for the November 15th meeting.  Attendees were treated to a tour of the property and shown the plans for the upcoming guestroom renovation which is scheduled to be completed in spring 2018. The lobby renovations will start shortly after.  Attendees enjoyed a buffet lunch including butternut squash soup with shaved cinnamon apples, blackened salmon with pumpkin cream, french cut chicken stuffed with boursin, spinach and cranberries, drizzled with frangelico toasted almond butter, smoked douda au gratin potatoes and more!  

The Hilton Durham hotel near Duke University is conveniently located within the Triangle region of North Carolina which is anchored by Duke University in Durham, the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University in Raleigh and is just a short drive from Research Triangle Park. We are 2 miles from Duke University and Duke Medical Center. Flexibility with 15,000 square feet of meeting and pre function space. 


  • Courtesy shuttle service within 5 mile radius
  • Complimentary wifi in guest rooms and meeting space
  • 24-Hour Fitness center
  • Full service restaurant & bar
  • Outdoor pool open seasonally



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Past Meeting Summary

Just When You Thought You Knew Everything About Audio – Ricardo Hicks, Corporate Sales Manager with AE Global Media, 

On November 15th, NC SGMP members and guests gathered at the Hilton Duke University.  There was lively supplier/planner interaction at the many vendor tables offered from Cabarras County CVB, Durham CVB, Embassy Suites Twin City Quarter, Great Wolf Lodge, Jacksonville Hampton Inn & Suites, Ramada Inn Fayetteville, Visit Greenville, and Visit Winston Salem.  The Hilton Duke University treated guests to a facility tour and buffet lunch.  As guests settled down to a tasty fall-themed buffet lunch, they were treated to a return visit from AV guru, Ricardo Hicks.  Ricardo provided hands-on examples of audio and video as well as how to troubleshoot common problems with AV.  Attendees gained a better understanding of:

  • The differences in wireless and wired microphones -  Wireless microphones systems convert audio signals into radio signals which is sent by a transmitter through the air to the receiver and then through the sound system.  Wireless mics are used widely in the entertainment industry and in public speaking and allow the speaker to move freely when presenting.  Wired microphones convert sound into electrical audio signal and send to the sound system through a cable.
  • The importance of wireless mic placement - Wireless mics should be one fist length between the mic and your chin to give optimal sound.  For wired mics,  keeping your arm bent at a 90 degree angle will provide optimal sound.  Users should be conscious of movement when holding a mic as "handling noise" can be a distraction.
  • Sound systems - House sound systems project downward to the audience.  For a clear, more crisp sound, using a stand speaker slightly behind the person speaking will provide ideal sound projection. 
  • Video aspect ratio - Screen resolution & aspect ratios go hand-in-hand. You should always use the ratio that corresponds with your computer, not your projector ("native resolutions").
  • Projector brightness and room lighting - Always communicate with your Audio Visual representative on the location of your presentation.  They would need to know details on the lighing within the room in order to gauge the audio visual needs.  Other things to keep in mind would be ceiling height, depth, screen size, and the size of the audience. 


There is a lot to learn about audio visual needs and why using a professional is very important. 


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Membership Report

As November came to an end, NC SGMP increased membership to 45 members - welcoming 4 new members! 


  • Erica Meyer, Hampton Inn and Suites, Jacksonville, NC
  • Jessica O'Sullivan, UNC School of Government
  • Julie Truluck, UNC School of Government
  • Garrett Wood, Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau



  • Debbie Wilborn, Meeting Services, Inc., 11/1/2004
  • Lisa Sheffield, UNC School of Government, 11/1/2004
  • Severine Bennett, International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP), 11/1/2007
  • Donna Riggs, NC Retired Governmental Employees' Association, 11/1/2010
  • James Williamson, NC State University Office of Professional Development, 11/1/2013
  • Greg Emma, North Carolina State University, 11/21/2014


  • Cindy Lee, UNC School of Government, 12/1/2009
  • Kerri Voelker, MDB, Inc., 12/1/2009
  • Julie Williams, Great Wolf Lodge, 12/17/2015


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Supplier Spotlight

Johnston County is conveniently located 30 minutes east of Raleigh, and offers a mix of conference space, unique meeting sites, and outdoor venues for meeting planners in the Research Triangle area.  Interstates I-95 and I-40 make our destinations very accessible for meeting attendees in a rural and relaxed setting.  Affordable prices for hotel accommodations, over 80 outlet shops at Carolina Premium Outlets, area attractions like the Ava Gardner Museum and the American Music Jubilee Theatre combine to create an attractive destination for small to mid-size meetings.

Escape the urban traffic and travel just minutes away to host your next successful meeting in Johnston County!  Our staff is here to assist you with site visits, bids for space and hotel accommodations…and we aim to earn your business with exceptional service!

To find out more about having your meeting in Johnston County, Contact:

Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, Sports & Leisure Sales Manager
Johnston County Visitors Bureau
234 Venture Drive, Smithfield, NC
(919) 989-8687, 1-800-441-7829

 Auditorium/Conference Space

The Johnston County communities of Benson, Clayton and Smithfield have made creative use of historic schoolhouses by converting them to auditorium and conference space.  These unique venues provide classroom space, reception areas for social functions, and auditorium seating from groups of 300 to 1000 people. 

The Clayton Center
A 600-seat performing arts center has superb acoustic quality and provides an intimate environment for conferences.  Additional classroom and lobby space equals 12,480 square feet of meeting and reception space for groups of 20 to 450.



W. J. Barefoot Auditorium

This historic auditorium has a seating capacity of 334 and the Benson Conference Center offers additional classroom space for up to 125 people.

Paul A. Johnston Auditorium

Auditorium has a 1,007 seat capacity conveniently located on the main campus of Johnston Community College at Exit 95 on I-95. In addition to the auditorium additional space for events includes the Grand Hall for breakout space, exhibits, and meals.

Free-Standing Conference Spaces

The Farm at 95

The Farm Banquet Center boasts 6,000 net space for banquets, conferences and meetings for 400 people.  This unique venue sits on ten acres of farm land and is suited for exhibit shows and outdoor events.

Opening in 2018, The Farm at 42 will provide the same top-quality meeting facility as its sister site, and is located just outside the Town of Clayton.

The Barn at Broadslab

New to the area, The Barn at Broadslab in Benson offers a unique meeting experience with 8,000 square feet and will accommodate up to 500 people reception style, 250 for banquets and classroom seating. Located on the Broadslab Distillery site, meeting goers may enjoy taking take a distillery tour and tastings of moonshine crafted by Master Distiller and Owner Jeremy Norris. 

Hotels with Meeting Space

Several hotels in Johnston County offer conference rooms for small meetings, training, interview rooms for groups up to 35-50 people.  Two hotels in the town of Smithfield, the Sleep Inn & Suites and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites may accommodate larger groups up to 70-90 people. The Preston Woodall House in Benson has built a 3,000-square foot ballroom for socials, weddings, and meetings in a beautiful Victorian Inn. In addition, Benson will soon be opening a Hampton Inn & Suites with 89 rooms.


Meet Along the Beer, Wine & Shine Trail

Located along the Beer, Wine & Shine Trail which offers its own source of fun for group outings, Double Barley has a meeting room for groups up to 50ppl and our wineries are set to host groups up to 300ppl.

Hinnant Family Vineyards

Located on the largest muscadine grape vineyard in North Carolina, Hinnant’s offers meeting planners the Barrel Room, which seats up to 165 people for banquets and holds up to 200 for receptions.

Gregory Vineyards

Meeting planners will love the quiet country setting and rolling hills of grapevines at Gregory Vineyards, as their backdrop for meetings and special events.  The vineyard has Lane's Seafood & Steak House restaurant on site as well as a meeting room for up to 300 people.


Restaurants with private rooms

For small meetings, several area restaurants have private rooms available.  If you consider yourself a "foodie" and want to support locally sourced foods from our area farmers -- you will find that in JoCo as well.  Several chef-owned eateries are available in Smithfield like Simple Twist and SoDoSoPa, in Clayton at Manning's and Clayton Steakhouse. Many area chefs also offer off-site catering for intimate gatherings and large groups.


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