Yesterday, MPI Smart Monday, the annual educational event of IMEX America that is open to IMEX America exhibitors, hosted buyers and event planner attendees, was back in full force.
Through Smart Monday, MPI models an interactive format with ample opportunity for networking, a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative and some longer breakout sessions. For those who were concerned it couldn't be done, they demonstrated that, even in a one day format, conferences don't have to consist of wall to wall plenary sessions.
This year, some of the experts participating in IMEX America's educational sessions joined in to create a fuller and richer agenda.
Debra Benton, an internationally respected coach and consultant, delivered Leaders Needed: Apply Within, the very entertaining and inspiring opening keynote focusing on how event industry professionals can differentiate themselves by building trust through authenticity. She encouraged delegates to use humor, touch and questions to deepen engagement with others.
This year's agenda was highly interactive. In the morning and afternoon, networking sessions were a full half hour, giving delegates an opportunity for deeper engagement. Three full blocks were reserved for breakout sessions. In fact, there were 13 educational sessions focusing on a range of topics of interest to event planners and hospitality industry professionals. Sessions included:
- Facing the European Negotiator in the MICE Business by Gundula Welti who has had a 21-year career with Walt Disney World,
- Tech Tools for Productive Meeting Pros delivered by Midori Connolly of Pulse Staging and Events and David Kliman
- Social Media for Attendees Who Don't Do Social Media delivered by Jenise Fryatt, Cvent blogger and Co-owner of Icon Presentations AV
- New Technologies applied to Sales by Olga Navaro, Executive Director, ITB DMC
- What CSR Really Means to You and Your Delegates was an interactive session in which participants had an opportunity to share some of their own CSR experiences and brainstorm for future initiatives, was presented by Dr. Alexandra Kenyon, Jackie Mulligan and Chantal Dickson.
After lunch, there was an opportunity to put Corporate Social Responsibility into action. The Green Meetings Industry Council teamed up with IMEX for a Sustainability Safari - Clean the World Activity Afternoon - Get Your Hands Dirty Cleaning Soap.13 Smart Monday attendees gave back to the community and had fun doing it by volunteering at Clean the World’s Las Vegas Recycling Operations Center. (We'll provide a complete report about this later this week.)
At 2:00, three interactive, 3-hour "deep dives" for 20 people each provided an opportunity for personal development:
- Assertive Communication by Diana Graling, Trainer, Sustainable Meeting Standards, GMIC
- Unleash Your Inner Leader by CEO & Chief Storyteller, Doug Keeley
- Leadership Track by Milena Santoro, President & CEO, MS Productions Inc
The day ended with a special reception for planner attendees and hosted buyers was sponsored by Tourism Toronto at the Venetian Hotel's Bellini Ballroom.
For IMEX America 2012 highlights, read IMEX America 2012: Attention Grabbing Exhibitors, IMEX America 2012: Tips on Going Global From Cvent and Meeting Focus Panel, IMEX America 2012 Highlights: Sustainability Safari and IMEX America 2012 Final Round-up #IMEX12 on the Cvent Blog.
Photo Credits: Executive Oasis International.