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Mar172017
new board members

Introducing Two New RCMA Board Members

BY rcmaweb|RCMA News|Add a comment

Keith Kershaw, director, office of convention planning at the Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tenn., and Steve Biffle, pastor of Church of the Living Word in Columbus, Ohio, and the executive treasurer of The Fellowship Network in Dallas, have been named to RCMA’s Board.

As an introduction, we asked them a number of questions on their background and experience with RCMA.

Welcome to the team, Steve and Keith!

 

Keith Kershaw

1. Can you tell me about your experience in the meetings and events industry?
I started in the industry as a volunteer working with the logistics chair for one of the annual citywide events that COGIC has each year. One of our convention chairs told me that he thought I had the perfect temperament for it and wanted to know if I was interested. Having just concluded an assignment elsewhere, I accepted the invite and the meetings bug bit me—the rest is history! After a couple of years I was asked to assume more and more responsibilities until I was appointed as a vice chairman with the responsibility of coordinating the ground game of that meeting (CVBs, hotels, convention center and ancillary vendors and contracts). I was later asked to assume the same responsibility with the second of COGIC’s three annual citywide events and then asked to serve as COGIC director of the office of convention planning.  I now work coordinating the process and protocols for COGIC’S eight annual events. I also have/had the privilege of serving on CVB Client Advisory Boards for four different cities in the USA.

2. What has your experience been like as a member of RCMA?
RCMA was the first association in the religious market that I became a member of, and I have been attending RCMA events for approximately 15 years. I initially attended because I needed the benefits that their education opportunities provide. I subsequently learned the power of relationships/networking within the industry, and that has been by far one of the greatest joys and benefits over the years.

3. What inspired you to become a board member?
I was initially approached by some colleagues a few years ago who wanted to know if I was interested in serving on the board and if not, why I was not interested! LOL. I did not think much of it thinking they were just being nice and that there were a number of people interested and waiting to serve. However, my name came up again regarding this opportunity, and this time I did indicate a desire to serve because these were some of the best people we have serving in the industry. Though neither probably knows it, the leadership team of Harry Schmidt and Dean Jones was instrumental in my decision-making when faced with this opportunity to serve.

4. What do you like most about RCMA?
Without a doubt it is the power of networking. RCMA provides a great learning and sharing environment and the collaboration makes the business side of this so much easier and efficient. The opportunities for growth are increasing with regional events.

5. How has RCMA helped you grow in your career?
RCMA has helped make me a planner and then a better planner. RCMA has supported me in beginning the transformation of the cultural of convention planning within our organization. From the direct, indirect and secondary relationships, because of RCMA, I have learned to look outside of the box and be much more creative in approaching the planning of events. I have developed relationships with other planners outside the religious market and that has been tremendous in learning from other colleagues.

 

Steve Biffle

1. Can you tell me about your experience in the meetings and events industry?
I have been part of the conference planning for the Fellowship Network since the early ‘80s. (I started when I was very, very young!!) At the start, it was working on national youth conferences that were held annually throughout different parts of the country, thrown into the fire without knowing what I was getting into. Since we had a small staff, we all worked in every area planning the conferences, which was a great learning experience, sometimes learning the hard way. Over the past 15 years, I’ve been a part of the executive team that plans the national/international conference for our organization. You learn to appreciate the people that work so hard helping you put on events. I’ve also assisted smaller events for our regions and local churches. Whether large or small, they all give a unique experience and excitement to be a part of.

2. What has your experience been like as a member of RCMA?
RCMA has been a great experience. I have gained a vast amount of knowledge from the annual conferences. The speakers have not only been inspirational, but help to bring a different perspective to each one of our lives. I leave every conference having learned something from the educational sessions that I can apply in so many areas. Plus, the friendships I’ve made over the years are invaluable. Each year has been different and innovative. The regional meetings have been able to integrate and involve more planners and suppliers, which helps both sides!

3. What inspired you to become a board member?
I was asked! But seriously, the opportunity to be a part of an organization that touches so many people, organizations, suppliers and cities is exciting. I love the direction RCMA is heading and am willing to serve in any area that they need me to. I count it a great honor to become a part of the RCMA board.

4. What do you like most about RCMA?
The people—both planners and suppliers. You have an opportunity to meet people from many different areas of life, backgrounds and the country. You make friendships, that even though you just might see them only once a year, it’s like you always knew them. You’re excited to be able to catch up on their lives, organizations and what’s happened since you last saw them!

5. How has RCMA helped you grow in your career?
 It has greatly encouraged my professional development—being professional and doing things the right way, valuing those that assist you and those on the supplier side. But also helping to realize the conferences are more than meetings, events, food and schedule. It’s about people and making sure you give something of value to every one that comes to your conference or event, and that you value them. RCMA gives us the tools to be successful—not only in my event, but in my life!

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