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MPI rocks in Denver

Nearly 3,000 attendees kicked off the MPI World Education Congress yesterday in Denver.

New board chairman Hugh Lee, head of Fusion Productions, New York, told guests at the opening general session that in light of its strong member retention, "MPI is hot!" He also stressed the importance of committing to MPI's "pathways to excellence with a sense of urgency."

Entertainer Paula Abdul, of "American Idol" fame, joined MPI members to introduce award winners including Hattie Hill, named Supplier of the Year, and Elizabeth Zielinski, named Planner of the Year.

Grin and bear it: Starwood Hotels creates a hunting lodge event complete with a grizzly gatekeeper at a reception at the Westin Tabor Center in Denver.

Global Paragon Awards went to Altered Image and Navigant Performance Group for a product launch. Winner's Circle nabbed the honor in the category of meetings with a budget under $1,000 per attendee for "Be!," while Starbucks won for the category of meetings with a budget over $1,000 per attendee for "Plan Starbucks--Winning Together."

Conference attendees rode to Denver's dramatic Red Rocks amphitheater for al fresco buffets and a concert by former Doobie Brothers jazz rocker Michael McDonald.

WEC continues through Tuesday.

Heart of soul: Michael McDonald takes guests through a medley of his hits including 'What a Fool Believes' and 'Taking it to the Streets' at Red Rocks amphitheater last night during the opening night party at MPI WEC.

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