Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has announced the selection of industry veteran Michael Woody as its new chief operations officer (COO). In this role, Woody will lead the daily operations and marketing efforts of the association, ensuring the delivery of community-wide member value and brand consistency. He will officially begin the role on March 23, 2015, reporting to MPI president and CEO Paul Van Deventer.
Woody has more than 27 years of experience in the meeting and event, hospitality and tourism industries and is a current, active member of MPI. As COO, he will be responsible for the development and implementation of tactical business plans as well as management of MPI’s events, professional development, chapter business, marketing, communications, and European operations teams. In his current role, Woody serves as the assistant executive director for the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), the fourth largest budgeted bureau in the State of Texas with an annual operating budget of $24 million. He leads daily operations and oversees a team of more than 150 employees, providing direction, supervision and consultation for all CVB departments including comprehensive sales, marketing, sponsorships, public relations, advertising, festivals and events, convention center operations, and historic planning and preservation initiatives.
“We are very excited to have Michael join the MPI leadership team. He brings a unique blend of passion for MPI and our community, with broad experience across the hospitality and meeting and event industries, including hotels, F&B, publishing and DMOs,” said Van Deventer. “We believe Michael’s strategic planning experience with repositioning American Airlines’ publications and hands-on approach to promoting and differentiating the Grapevine CVB will be instrumental as we continue to grow our association.”
Over the course of his career, Woody has worked in sales, restaurant management, operations, marketing, communications and publishing. In addition to his role at the Grapevine CVB where he served from 1997-2005 and 2012-2015, he held senior leadership positions at American Airlines from 2005 to 2012 including director of art and editorial for the custom publishing and in-flight portfolios and ultimately as publisher of the in-flight portfolio of magazines which included American Way, Celebrated Living and American Airlines Nexos.
“It is indeed an honour to be joining Meeting Professionals International as the new COO. I have had the opportunity to gain tremendous insight over the recent months from many business unit leaders in the organization, the executive team and the board of directors as to where the opportunities are and how this position can help move the needle on so many fronts,” explains Woody. “My focus will be on the core strength of education and connecting planners and suppliers in unique and engaging ways that will increase membership, marketplace relevancy and the value proposition for all MPI members. The team is very passionate about their responsibilities, the organization and the future of MPI. This is an exciting opportunity and I am very anxious to get started!”
Woody is based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is an active alumnus of The University of North Texas (UNT). He has served as a member of the UNT College of Merchandising, Hospitality Management & Tourism Board of Governors since 2006 and is currently the board’s chairman. In addition, Woody has served as a guest lecturer for the university’s Hospitality Management & Tourism Department for the past 20 years. He also serves on the board of directors for both the Tarrant County Hotel Association and the Society of American Travel Writers, Central States Chapter.