December 2018 Print

President's Report

Thanksgiving was a wonderful time of sharing with family and friends including great food from recipes handed down from generation to generation.  For some it was busier than others as the burden of preparing those wonderful recipes fell on their shoulders.  The preparation, the cooking, and the many guests can lead to stressful times, but the reality is, we may complain but we would not change a thing.

 “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (and feel like it too!)”. It always amazes me how quickly December seems to get here each year.  I am not sure if it is because I am older and more aware of time passing or if time is passing at a quicker pace.  Whatever the case may be isn’t helped by retailers who are so quick to put out the Christmas decorations and sales flyers at the first hint of fall leaves in October. 

As 2018 is coming to a close and New Year’s Eve draws closer with the passing of each day, we take the time to reflect on this year.  Whether a planner or supplier we evaluate our goals for the year even as we have already set our goals and meeting plans for 2019.  For our chapter of SGMP, we have had a pretty good year.  Our board met earlier this summer to set the chapter goals for next year.  One such goal is member engagement and retention.  We sent a survey to each member asking for feedback on education topics and areas you think we need to improve.  Our social on December 13th is a direct result of the responses to the survey.  “It’s not education, but celebration!” is the theme for our social to celebrate the chapter’s 25 year anniversary.  This is an awesome achievement and one not every chapter of SGMP is able to attain.  I invite and encourage every member to attend and I really want to see you all there. 

Merry Christmas to each of you and your families,

Erica Quillet, President, NCSGMP

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Treasurer's Report

The current balance in our BB&T checking account is $5,704.97.   Where does this money come from and what does it cover?  Funds are generated from revenue shares split between our chapter and national's from membership dues.  Other income includes meeting registration, raffles, sponsorships and our largest fundraiser: the Silent Auction.

Chapter funds are used to cover costs of meeting space and lunches (if necessary), speaker fees and travel expenses.  Each chapter is responsible for covering the travel for both the President and the 2nd VP to NEC each year.  Due to NEC being in Detroit, MI this year, travel costs will be higher due to the addition of airfare.  Our fundraisers are what keeps the chapter operating.  See below for estimated travel costs to this year’s NEC for our officers:

President (Planner)        $   405.00   Registration Fee
2nd VP (Supplier)            $1,200.00   Registration Fee
Airfare                              $   800.00   Two people
Hotel costs                      $1,000.00* 

* Est. Cost -Planner rooms $126, Supplier $169 plus 16% per day)

As you can see the above number takes a big chunk of what is currently in our bank account and does not include food.  Our chapter board is very good at containing costs and being as frugal as possible, but we cannot operate without capital.  That is why fundraisers are so important. 

If you have any questions regarding the finances please contact our treasure, Nicole Keshler (

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NCSGMP Silent Auction Supports Scholarships

We all have so much to be thankful for this time of year. It’s a time where we get to reflect and give thanks. One thing I’m always thankful for is NCSGMP for providing quality education, leadership, and professional relationships that have turned into friendships over the years. One great way to continue to support NCSGMP on its mission for education, resources, and networking is to share the silent auction link with your friends and family.

We launched the silent auction on November 19 with 15 great items to bid on! We’d love to see 90% of the items go to people outside the chapter again. As of the writing of this article we’ve made $325 and are well on our way to our goal of $2,000!

Here’s the link:

Deadline to bid is December 13 at 5 p.m. (just in time for our 25th celebration!)

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Membership Report

We are in 1st place for National's Drive Momentum Campaign!  I want to take a minute to welcome our newest members:

Leslie Stobert, SC&A Inc., joined 10/31/19
Ashley Schwed, North Carolina State University, joined 10/31/19

We hope to see you at the networking social on 12/13 at the Residence Inn – Downtown Raleigh from 4-6pm.

As of November we have a total of 55 members:

Number of Planners - 30
Number of Suppliers - 22
Number of Retirees - 3

National has made some changes to the Supplier membership fees.  Visit to see if you are affected (positively).  Don’t forget to renew your membership.  If you have any questions regarding your membership or renewal, please contact our wonderful membership chair, Sarah Elizabeth Lagasse (

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Calendar of Events

25th Anniversary Networking Social
December 13, 2018 from 4-6pm
Residence Inn - Downtown Raleigh
10th &Terrace Lounge
616 S. Salisbury Street, Raleigh


Come share your memories as we make new ones!  Eat, drink and meet old and new members as we celebrate 25 years as a chapter.  You will also have a chance to bid on the silent auction before it closes!

January 9, 2019
Holiday Inn Crabtree
Topic: Working With VIPs

Ricky Parks, Chief Deputy Marshal for the North Carolina Court of Appeals will provide information on working with state government - specifically regarding the safety and security of VIP clients.  He will speak on what to look for and how the safety and security is a very important part of the negotiations.  

March 13, 2019
Hilton Duke University, Durham
Topic: Conflict of Interest

April 10, 2019
Hampton Inn Benson

May 16-17, 2019
Chapter Annual Conference, Great Wolf Lodge Charlotte/Concord

Remember to visit for meeting information and updates.

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Past Meeting Summary

Jill Denning gave us more than updates on federal travel regulations at our recent monthly meeting

We had the privilege of having Jill Denning come and speak to us about Federal Travel Regulations and Policies during our November meeting at the AC Hotel in Chapel Hill.

First of all, what a beautiful property with such an interesting construction story with pods coming pre-fab and transported all the way from Pittsburg to Chapel Hill. It’s incredible! But I digress…

Having Jill is always such a pleasure. She walked through the updated lodging and per diem rates. Did you know some locations have bed and breakfasts that are considered in the per diem rates? Who knew? She offered a great reminder about the process of how she and her team studies each of the hotel rates in major cities throughout the continental United States. There is so much data to aggregate in order to generate the average lodging rates within each city it takes months to collect and sort through. Not to mention the approval process to change the meal rates even a few dollars. It’s always best to give congress the heads up before making the switch! Jill and her team do just that.

Jill also answered some intricate questions for our fellow planners about how government contractors calculate reimbursement using the lodging and per diem rates. She also spoke on how complicated international travel can be using the federal regulations and tackled questions about tipping and baggage.

I know I’m biased, but my favorite part of the presentation is how Caitiejane Rivenbark (my now 2-year-old) has quietly changed federal policies. Previously, breastmilk storage, shipping, and additional assistance was not covered by federal dollars. So, if a new mom needed to ship breastmilk back to their child this fee wasn’t included in the list of special accommodations. When Jill previously spoke to us in 2016 at our annual conference in Pinehurst, she observed me with my then 6-week-old Caitiejane in tow and thought how wrong this was that if I were traveling a distance without my new bundle of joy, that I wouldn’t be able to ship milk back to feed her if I was gone for an extended period. After all, the government does pay for other special accommodation requests like, two seats on an airplane for someone that may require a larger seat. She took her observations back to her supervisor and pushed for a policy change and she won! That’s a win for the working mom.

Thanks again to Jill. I can confidently say I understand the rates and policies for travel reimbursement and even some extra nuggets too!

Submitted by Danielle Rivenbark

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2018-19 Newsletter Publication Dates

Issue 3: Winter December-February
Content due: February 22, 2019
Publication date: March 1, 2019

Issue 4: Spring March-May
Content due: May 24, 2019
Publication date: May 31, 2019

If you have content you would like to include in a newsletter please email it to 

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Johnston County

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Great Wolf Lodge

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Fayetteville CVB

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Just For Fun

Holiday Recipe – Chocolate Peppermint Brownies


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 candy canes, crushed (1/3 cup)


Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper; allow 2 inches of overhang on the long sides.

In a heatproof bowl, combine two-thirds of the chopped chocolate with the 2 sticks of butter. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir until melted. Scrape the chocolate into another bowl and let cool slightly. Add the remaining chopped chocolate and the peppermint extract to the heatproof bowl and melt over the simmering water; remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the brown sugar until combined. Whisk in the chocolate-butter mixture until glossy and thick. Sprinkle the flour and salt into the bowl and stir until jt incorporated.

Spread the brownie batter in the prepared baking pan. Dollop the peppermint chocolate onto the brownie batter and swirl in with a table knife.  

Bake the brownies in the center of the oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the edges are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let the brownies cool in the pan for at least 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

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