Callyn’s Course for Hope: Raising Awareness and Funds for Pediatric Cancer Research

Callyns Course for Hope (1)

Callyns Course for Hope (4)

The first annual Callyn’s Course for Hope was held at Falcon Ridge Golf Club on Monday, September 18, 2017 as a charitable golf tournament to raise money for Braden’s Hope for Childhood Cancer.

Callyn is the 5-year-old daughter of Mike and Kim Stanley, who have been friends with Mic and I going back to our college years at KU. Callyn was diagnosed with a rare pediatric eye cancer, Rhetinoblastoma, a month before her 3rd birthday.

During her fight, Mike and Kim learned pediatric cancer is the #1 disease that takes lives of children in the United States and that pediatric cancer research is vastly underfunded.

This year, Callyn and her family stepped up to bring hope, awareness and to raise much-needed money through the launch of her annual fundraising golf tournament.

As this was the first year of the tournament and knowing that our friends Mike and Kim are not only busy working parents to two beautiful daughters (Callyn and her older sister Taylor), but also NOT experienced event professionals, I was eager and happy to offer to help them with the planning.

Callyns Course for Hope (5)

It was an honor for me to give of my time in such a fulfilling way and for such a deserving cause.

The event sold out early and was host to 144 total golfers. Because it was a fundraiser for pediatric childhood cancer research, the day incorporated many fun elements not seen at a typical golf tournament including:

  • Attendance by local young ‘heroes’ fighting cancer who mingled with the golfers pre-round wearing gold ‘hero’ capes. (Gold is the color for pediatric childhood cancer.)
  • A golf cart brightly decorated with colorful balloons for the kid ‘heroes’ to ride around in with parents.
  • In addition to the typical tournament contests and awards, there were some kid-friendly and fun contests like Best Selfie (which Mic won of course) shared on social media using #Hope and a prize to the golfer who hit their shot “Closest to Callyn” (instead of closest to the pin), where a specific hole displayed a large photo of Callyn.
  • Callyns Course for Hope (3)A visit by Slugger from the Kansas City Royals at the start of the event to delight kids and adults.
  • A fantastic silent auction which had items for adults and kids to enjoy.

It was a great day filled with joy, laughter and most of all, HOPE. It was my great pleasure to be able to help the Stanley family and I will happily offer my time and talents again next year!

And I’m happy to share that the event raised $51,715 for Braden’s Hope! WOW!

Want to help? Make a donation to Braden’s Hope.

Mic recorded a Facebook Live video where Mike Stanley spoke from the heart to everyone in attendance before the event kicked off. Check it out.

3 Key Takeaways from a Busy Spring Season of Standalone Events

I know, I know…I said I was going to be better about staying consistent with blogging this year and well, I haven’t been. So, it’s time to get real. I was REALLY busy in April and May with three fun events (two hosted receptions in April and a black-tie gala fundraiser in May) so my focus was really consumed by those events…but now I’m back!

As I reflect on these one-night-only events, I want to share some key takeaways that are important for any standalone event:

Dancing with a Mission1.Volunteers can be a big asset – IF they’re set up for success.
For the black-tie gala fundraiser, we had 20 volunteers who were available to assist with registration check-in/check-out, secure the silent auction tables/items and be spotters for the live auction.

Although this was my first time planning this event, I made sure that myself and our registration coordinator did a thorough training of our volunteers upon arrival to the venue.

They needed to know exactly what we wanted them to do and what we expected of them throughout the event. Having extra people just hang around without a purpose can be a distraction to event attendees, so I wanted to make sure we did everything we could to set our volunteers up for success.

Destination Celebration2.Proactive communication saves a LOT of time.
For the hosted receptions I planned in April, there were about 40 individuals who were acting as event hosts. They all have questions…and they all need answers.

In an effort to provide them all with the information that I knew they would need at some point in the planning process, I developed a series of email communications called “Host Updates”.

Think of these updates as a very detailed FAQ. By thinking proactively about all of the information I knew the hosts needed and wanted in order for them to feel prepared for the event…and then sending it out periodically with current information…it dramatically cut down on the amount of time I spent on emails to/from this host group.

3.Having reliable support staff is invaluable.
Missy and MelissaFor both events, I was fortunate to have my best support team backing me up onsite. My spouse, Mic Johnson, is a wiz at social media and his expertise was needed for the April event where posts and updates needed to be made in the days leading up to the event and onsite.

He also supported me for the May event when muscle was needed to move 16 cases of donated wine to the venue.

I also had my good friend and skilled Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) with me for both events too, Melissa Whitaker. She is thoughtful, logistically minded and asks all the right questions when we’re working together. I so appreciate her thoroughness and professionalism each time she helps support one of my client events.

I’m so very thankful to my clients and to the people who support MJMeetings and allow me to do the work I love to do. And I’m especially thankful for a busy Spring and looking forward to the rest of the year!

If you have any questions about meeting or event planning or would like to know more about how I help associations and businesses, email me at or call me at 913-645-6649. I’d love to hear from you!

MJMeetings Produces 2nd Annual Destination Celebration!

MMB2016-176On Thursday, April 14, 2016 MJMeetings produced the second annual Destination Celebration to help celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID).

GMID is an initiative of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition which draws attention to the importance of the meetings industry world-wide.

The event was held at Studio Dan Meiners and offered almost 100 meeting and event planners from around the KC metro a wonderful opportunity to network and do business with over 40 representatives from North American hotels and destination marketing organizations.

Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner and Sluggerrr

Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner and Sluggerrr

The evening featured a visit from Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner to give a Proclamation of “Meetings Mean Business Day in Kansas City” and was joined by surprise guest, Sluggerrr, of the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals.

Guests then posed with Sluggerrr for photos, dined on fantastic food from delish! catering and discussed future meeting and convention opportunities with industry colleagues. To commemorate the event, guests were given a custom-blended GMID16 candle, made by local candle maker, 5B&Co to take home.

“The energy of the event was amazing. It was really well attended and had outstanding support from community leaders as we all came together to celebrate an important day in the meetings industry”, said David Kinney, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Director of Midwest Sales, and founding co-host of the event.

Please take a look at all the great photos from this event which was truly a wonderful celebration of the many destinations all across North America those host meetings, events, conference and trade shows!

If you or someone you know is in need of education about how a meeting professional can help you and your next meeting or event, call or email me at 913-645-6649 or

5B&Co candle

MJMeetings To Celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day!

Missy Johnson, CMPPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

MJMeetings is participating in Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) on Thursday, April 14, 2016.

Along with many industry partners around the globe, we will be joining forces with the advocacy coalition Meetings Mean Business (MMB) to showcase the real impact that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions have on people, business and communities.

To celebrate GMID, MJMeetings is producing an event at Studio Dan Meiners called “Destination Celebration.”

Nearly 50 destination representatives from Convention and Visitors Bureaus and Destination Marketing Organizations across North America will host approximately 100 meeting and event planners from around the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan area for a reception and trade show. The Mayor Pro Tem, Scott Wagner, will be making a special proclamation that April 14, 2016 is “Meetings Mean Business Day” in Kansas City, MO.

Destination CelebrationThe meetings industry as a whole contributes more to the national GDP than the air transportation, motion picture and spectator sports industries.

And, according to studies by PwC, the Meetings Industry contributed more than $280 BILLION to the national economy and put another $88 billion back into the economy through federal, state and local taxes.

Impressive, isn’t it? Yes, but even more impressive is how live face-to-face meetings create personal connections, drive positive business outcomes and build strong communities. Everyone benefits.

I couldn’t be more proud to be the owner of a business in such an important and impactful industry doing what I love every single day. This is what “Meetings Mean” to me.


You Get Out Of It What You Put Into It

Missy Johnson, CMPPost written by Missy Johnson, Principal, MJMeetings, LLC | Meetings Consultant | Gourmet Food & Wine Enthusiast | Sports Fan

I’ve been a member of a professional association for 15 years and I believe the age-old saying is true:

“You get out of it what you put into it.”

Membership in the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has been extremely rewarding and it’s because I’ve always been highly involved at both the national level and locally with the Heartland Chapter.

As a Past-President of our chapter, I was recently asked by the current President and President-Elect to facilitate a strategic planning session for the current leadership group. I was humbled and nervous at first, but after giving it more thought I realized that I would be getting a lot more than I would be giving. Here’s why:

Rookies Need Vets

PCMA Heartland Chapter“Rookie” leaders look to “Veterans” to gain insight and grow more quickly.

In sharing my experiences, I’m able to help the new crop of leaders walk a little taller and feel more confident about the direction they’re heading.

At the same time, I’m getting more out of my membership by helping in a way that is unique to me and my past experience.

Strategy Requires History

It occurred to me that a strategic planning session wouldn’t be as productive without first giving a bit of a history lesson to everyone to help set the stage. Our chapter is only 21 years old, but many of the current leaders have only been involved for a few years.

I realized it was critical to walk them back through the history of what makes our chapter great – the active members, the organizations who sponsor us, and the unique culture that has developed over time.

Vision Doesn’t Occur In A Vacuum

From 30,000 feet you can see a lot more than when you’re standing on the ground. So with a good shared understanding of the history of past successes and failures, rookies and vets came together to create a vision for the future that was solid as a rock. It was clear to all of us: We will create a stronger future by working together as a team.

My experience that day as the strategic planning session facilitator was rewarding in many ways. Most of all, I was able to connect on a unique and more personal level with our current leadership group. The best ideas are formed when leaders come together, share experiences and learn from each other.

And in the end, it was a great reminder that…You get out of it what you put into it.


MJMeetings Plans “Destination Celebration” Event In Kansas City!

NAMI_logoLast Thursday, April 16, 2015, was North American Meetings Industry Day (NAMID) – an initiative by the Meetings Mean Business Coalition to raise awareness about the incredible value that meetings, travel and events bring to the U.S. economy.

I was fortunate to be the professional planner for the Greater Kansas City area’s NAMID event titled, “Destination Celebration” which brought together representatives from over 40 destinations across North America and nearly 100 meeting professionals from around the region.

KC Dest PlannersAttendees networked and engaged with the destination representatives to learn about their cities meeting offerings and network together for best practice sharing.

Working closely with co-chairs David Kinney, Director of Midwest Sales for the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau and Lisa Lopez, Director of Sales for NYC & Co, we set out to create an event that not only allowed for a great business exchange and rich networking, but also one that was fun.

We began with a goal to have 20 destination representatives and roughly 50 meeting professionals and, in just two months, grew it to double that size!

KC Dest HostsWe selected a wonderful venue, Studio Dan Meiners, in downtown Kansas City which offered a unique and eye-catching space.

We then filled it with excellent food by delish! catering, springy floral by Dan Meiners and fun enhancements like a photo booth from Photos Booths & More where attendees held up a blackboard proclaiming what “Meetings Mean” to them.

It was a wonderful way to celebrate the first annual NAMID. We already have plans in the works to make this an annual event in Kansas City each year and are excited to build on the success we had with this year’s event.

Thank you to everyone who attended and all the destinations who participated!

Oh, and you can see even more great pictures from the event here: Destination Celebration – April 2015 – Kansas City