Less than 50 percent of meeting planners have risk management plans in place for their events, said Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), in remarks given at WEC 2017 on Tuesday. This can range from contingency plans in the case of an active shooter or preparations in advance of extreme heat, such as the 117℉ weather attendees are experiencing at WEC in Las Vegas.

To help meeting planners handle risk and other issues that are trending in today’s climate, MPl is adding a slew of educational offerings on a wide variety of topics. The new courses are being introduced as a part of MPI Academy’s new Executive Education Series, which was created to provide more education for senior-level and executive meeting professionals, as well as mid-level professionals who are looking to move up in their careers.

Van Deventer also spoke with Smart Meetings TV about change coming to MPI.

“Our members tell us year after year that education is one of the most important benefits of their MPI membership so it is important we continue to strengthen our portfolio of offerings with fresh, relevant and timely courses,” said Van Deventer. “The average MPI member has between 10 to 20 years of experience and they have been seeking more immersive and insightful educational programs that are comparable to what they may experience in graduate school. We believe the MPI Executive Education Series will meet that need.”

The new courses are listed below:

1. MPI Women in Leadership: Executive Leadership Skills Certificate Course

This four-hour course was developed in partnership with Marriott and aims to help women advance their careers. It identifies the challenges women face in moving into leadership positions and helps participants create an action plan to overcome these obstacles. Attendees will receive peer mentoring and learn about career resources available to women looking for leadership roles in meetings and events. The course was first launched earlier this year and will be offered five more times in 2017, in New York, Florida, Nevada and Texas.

2. MPI Experiential Event Series and the Experiential Event Professional Designation

This program is a multi-day immersive experience which gives participants an inside look at putting on world-class events such as the Venice Film Festival, South by Southwest and the Indianapolis 500 race. After 15-25 hours of experiential education, students earn a certificate in one of four areas of event design: sports, culinary, entertainment or mega-event. Upon receipt of this certificate, they can apply for the new Experiential Event Professional (XEP) designation. The application process involves developing a business case and presenting it to a panel of industry representatives and peers.

3. Emergency Preparedness for Meetings and Events Certificate Course

This six-hour certificate course, developed in partnership with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at the University of Southern Mississippi, dives deep into one of the most concerning topics of our day: safety and security. Participants will learn incident management strategies needed to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergency incidents from terrorist attacks and natural disasters to everyday incidents such as fights or drunkenness. Planners will discover how to ensure the safety and security of attendees, limit loss and restore services. This course will be offered in January 2018 at the SITE MPI Global Forum in Rome. MPI plans to announce more program dates in the future.