The National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals is a non-profit organization that focuses on the training needs of African American meeting planners. Membership includes meeting planners across numerous businesses, such as civil rights organizations and religious and fraternal organizations. NCBMP holds an annual conference to assist with the educational advancement of its members, to enhance the professional status of association executives, stimulate managerial opportunities, develop a network for us in the hospitality industry, and to educate and assist youth interested in careers in the hospitality industry. The organization’s 40th Annual Conference was held December 6-9th in Atlanta, GA. There, A.M.E. Zion’s very own Rev. George E. McKain, Director of Public Affairs & Social Concerns, was recognized with the prestigious Chairman’s Award.
NCBMP board members identify an individual who is a trailblazer within the hospitality community. Rev. McKain has been blazing trails in Zion since 1978, when he was elected Eastern Region Youth President. It was the toss of a walkie-talkie in 1983 that opened up the world of planning for Rev. McKain. He was at a conference simply to give greetings as the National Youth President when a food allergy created an emergent situation that put him at the juncture of keeping it going or letting it fall apart. It was the beginning of an adventure with the church that has taken him literally around the world.
The recognition, though well deserved, took Rev. McKain totally by surprise.” It was the 40th year, and we knew that two founders would be honored.” Unbeknownst to him, all things were working together. One colleague ushered him to one of the sponsored tables. He didn’t really pay any attention to that because he does a lot of work with the sponsors. When it was time for the award, Rev McKain stated that he was not even paying attention as the presenter spoke so eloquently of how the recipient was able to get you straight both professionally and spiritually. He was just ready for the singer. When his name was called, he was in total shock. “I had to fight the tears. I am not one who is ever without words.”
When asked about the ways he has been able to blaze trails in the industry, this is what he said: “With our major meeting once every four years, the General Conference, I started an intern program where young people can be nominated, or they can apply to learn the industry. Some of those young people are leaders in the church today. Some have gone on to be DEI directors and presiding elders. These programs are designed to make leaders in the world and in the church.” Speaking to Rev. McKain was so inspiring. He continues to use his gifts and influence to create seamless experiences for us as we attend the myriad meetings, conferences, and conventions. His contributions to our beloved Zion make it possible for us to participate in two of the major activities involved in being a good Zionite: meeting and eating. May your work continue to bless our lives, and may God continue to bless you.
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