“I got into the hospitality industry because I could type,” says Jim Cacabelos, regional sales manager for the Staypineapple group of boutique hotels. He began his journey through the industry in 1984 as a clerk typist at the Seattle-King County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (now known as Visit Seattle).
Over the past three decades Cacabelos has been involved in many aspects of the meetings and events business. His career has included positions in the region’s Convention and Visitor Bureaus and also several major hotel properties. He even ventured into the high-tech side when he briefly worked for a computerized site-selection company. Positions with Doubletree, Embassy Suites and the Seattle’s Edgewater Hotel eventually led to this current position at Staypineapple.
It is clear Cacabelos enjoys working in the industry. “I love the hospitality business. The name says it all; our job is to be hospitable. It excites me to be able to make people happy and give them a good experience,” he says. “I have a cool position now because I can talk about our unique hotels. All our properties are indigenous to the area they are in,” he adds.
Since 1988, Cacabelos has been actively involved with the industry organization, Meeting Professionals International (MPI). A role that Jim loves is teaching meeting planners and suppliers at MPI events about the value of gaining Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP) certification. Cacabelos is a strong proponent of going through the process to gain certification. “For a professional organization, providing a pathway to professional certification is one of the most valuable things they can do.”
Cacabelos’ involvement with MPI has allowed him to give back to the community of planners. “I am a resource to folks because of my tenure in the industry,” he says. The classes he teaches are well-attended and receive high reviews. His style incorporates wit and humor, and he has developed a well-received presentation. There are many details to learn in order to gain certification, and Cacabelos presents the information in a way that engages his audience.
“As planners, CMP certification is the base certification for what we do. It gives direction, and it gives focus. It proves you are serious. To gain certification, you have to know how to be effective at planning an event,” says Cacabelos. “A planner with CMP certification has the knowledge and can prove it.”
Cacabelos says that if planners really want to be successful in the industry, CMP is not only nice to have but is almost mandatory. “This is the way planners can display a commitment, establish credibility and show continuity,” he explains.
For more information about the CMP, contact the Events Industry Council.
Jim Cacabelos, CMP, CGMP
Events Industry Council
Meeting Professionals International
Professional Convention Management Association
Pacific Northwest Chapter