Overall, I enjoyed my first MPI meeting. Although I liked the design better than the content, I still came away with some good information to put into action back at the office. And that's a lot of what it's about.
The closing keynote session was a bit unconventional. Instead of a talking head a la Tony Robbins, it was performance expert (and entertaining), Joe Calloway, who facilitated Q&As with various industry personalities, starting with Michael Dominguez, VP of Global Sales with Loews Hotels, and Fiona Pelham, the Managing Director of Manchester, UK-based Sustainable Events, Ltd.
Michael and Fiona were asked about how to keep the industry moving forward and each had valuable input. Michael said ours is a "hugging and kissing" industry, where we rely strongly on relationships. This was a continuing theme at many WEC sessions.
Other golden nuggets included:
- Our greatest barrier to moving forward is ourselves.
- If we're afraid to fail, then we'll never do anything creative.
- Doing what we know we should do means taking risk.
- Taking action means change and we're afraid of change, so we don't take action.
Next on stage was Kelly Cutrone, a fashion PR icon of whom I'd never heard, but some in the audience seemed familiar with her. She also had a call to action, to keep things moving forward. She was fun in that she wasn't conventional either by starting with, "I'm not a good business person. I just do what I want." And it was that attitude she encourages in all of us when it comes to planning our meetings or working with our organizations.
Some of Kelly's takeaways included:
- Dare to speak up. Be the risk taker and the truth teller.
- We can only pull so many rabbits out of the same hat. We have to energize our creative juices.
- Business won't work if we are not honest with ourselves and our clients (both internal and external).
- It's not enough to be in business. It has to be what my business can do for my community.
WEC returns next year in St. Louis. Let's see if MPI takes into account the words of any of the keynote presentations from this year.