Longtime RCMA Leader Dr. Woodring Will Step Down

November 15, 2011

After 30 years serving as the head of the Religious Conference Management Association, Dr. DeWayne Woodring has announced his departure as the organization’s executive director, effective Dec. 31.

The RCMA board unanimously appointed its vice president of the board, Rev. Harry Schmidt, as the new executive director. Schmidt has served as president of Christian Life College, Mt. Prospect, Ill., for almost two decades.

Replacing Schmidt as RCMA board vice president is Melvin Tennant, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis, Official Convention and Visitors Association, marking the first time a supplier has held that position within the organization, according to RCMA officials.

Woodring started with RCMA in 1982 with a small group of mainly Protestant clergy working evenings out of closet office in his home.

"DeWayne has been a loyal servant of the organization and of the meetings industry,” RCMA Board President Melvin Worthington said. “He has nurtured the phenomenal growth the organization has achieved.”

During Woodring’s service as executive director, the number of RCMA members has grown from nearly 100 to more than 2,000.

Active within the meetings industry, Woodring was a delegate to the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism and chairman of the prestigious Convention Industry Council. Woodring also served on the International Curriculum Advisory Panel of George Washington University.

Schmidt has been an ordained minister since age 22 and serves as a member in the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies and as first vice president for the Full Gospel Fellowship in Dallas.

Schmidt is the founder of Ascension Convention and chairman of Mission Possible Foundation. He directed the formation of the International Education Fellowship, and he serves on the boards of Commonwealth Christian Ministries and WillGo Ministries.

“The foundation DeWayne built ensures this will be a smooth transition for RCMA,” Schmidt said. “My calling has always been unmistakably in organizational development, and I look forward to the opportunity to continue to grow RCMA and nurture these leaders of excellence.”

Under Schmidt’s leadership, the RCMA board will focus on the following tasks:

 - reaching out to planner and supplier members who have not been involved at all or in a long time with RCMA

- creating more engagement opportunities through new committees and councils

- embracing technological advances that will allow RCMA to reach a broader audience

- ensuring a culture of inclusion of all those involved in faith-based event management and sales

The 2012 RCMA World Conference and Exposition, themed “Dare to Dream,” will celebrate the organization’s 40th conference, Woodring’s 30 years with RCMA, his 80th birthday and his retirement, as well as the association’s new leadership.

The conference will take place Jan. 24-27 in Kansas City, Mo.

“This felt like the right time to pass on the mantle of leadership,” Woodring said. “And I know RCMA will continue to thrive under Harry’s leadership for years to come. I look forward to the celebration with all the RCMA members in January.”

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