Chicago’s Perspective on Global Meetings Industry Day
The need for the meetings and events industry to have a true presence on the hill was never more apparent than during the 2008 recession. A few associations had been working towards this in DC, but we (as an industry) were still caught on our heels. We hadn’t been talking enough about our importance to the world economy.
Enter Meetings Mean Business. This organization is comprised of professionals from all the event industry associations—50 member organizations in total. It’s about advocating for the importance of what we do, but it’s also about recognizing and celebrating it.
Global Meetings Industry Day
Last year, Meetings Mean Business launched the first annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). A day to toot our own horn! A day to celebrate what we do! Sort of like every day should be Valentine’s Day, it’s important to toot our horn more than once per year, but this day is still an awesome thing.
On April 6th, MPI, PCMA, ILEA, and other association chapters around the world got together to share the successes of our industry, discuss important issues, and celebrate what we do. Of course, meetings in Chicago were celebrated. As a mainstay of the Windy City, AV Chicago knows firsthand how amazing our community is. We also know that we make a difference in this fine city.
In support of GMID, Chicago had an event called Industry XChange, which was hosted at McCormick Place by a collaborative group of meeting and event professionals.
Industry Xchange included a panel of industry experts: David Whitaker, the new President and CEO of Choose Chicago, David Kennedy with the new Wintrust Arena and Arie Crown Theater, Jim Goodman with the American Dental Association, Lise Puckorius with the OCL, and Dave Peckinpaugh with Maritz Global Events. It’s important to discuss the challenges and key issues within the industry, in addition to the wins, and this panel did just that.
It was a pretty exciting year in Chicagoland with the Cubs winning the World Series. The Industry Xchange panel discussed how they approached the celebration in Grant Park. AV Chicago helped support the live video for the event, which was so exciting! The panel was asked how the city planned for the celebration. David Whitaker explained that the Cubs approached them early (not afraid of jinxing it, they really thought they would win it all). This enabled the celebration’s planners to properly arrange for everything, including safety and security.
On Safety and Security
David Kennedy discussed how the safety and security of the participants was the most important element of the event for the city. Jim Goodman shared that they always have a security plan for their events which does not use plain clothes security. He believes a show of force is important to prevent issues.
50% of the room indicated they have an emergency plan in place for their events. Lise Puckorius stated that it’s imperative, and that show managers owe it to their participants to have a plan, and to be educated, calm, and prepared.
David Kennedy said that events should provide an "authentic experience." He feels that technology can enhance the experience, but people should be careful that it doesn't take away from it.
David Whitaker said “We need to bring the humanity back to meetings.” He explained that people (even event veterans) should be taught not to let technology take over.
Share the Impact Meetings Have
The panel was in agreement that the events industry needs to do a better job of educating the public and newcomers to the industry.
Jim Goodman with ADA said that we need to teach people about the impact meetings have. Newspapers should indicate the economic value of meetings in their local area. When a new hotel or venue is voted on, it would be easier for voters to understand the importance.
David Whitaker believes it’s important to talk about all the jobs created because of meetings and events!
David Kennedy feels that we need to get young people to events like the GMID so they better understand the impact of the industry. Jim went on to say, “We are responsible for getting the next generation in.”
Meetings Mean Business has an app to spread all the latest resources, news, and info in the industry. Global Meetings Industry Day is important, but it’s even more important to share what we do on a regular basis.
Final thoughts from the panel...
Whitaker: “Our best days as an industry are ahead of us. Don't miss the opportunity to get involved.”
Jim: “We should be proud of what we do. Tell people what we do and how big we are. We work in the greatest industry.”
Lise: “Pass it forward. Take this back to the office. We are privileged to do this!”
Kennedy: “Experience design doesn't have to be expensive. Meetings mean business, and we have a huge impact around the globe. People say this is a low paying job, but there is room to grow in the industry. Celebrate our industry!”