LAS VEGAS, Nevada – IMEX America’s preshow education day, Smart Monday – powered by MPI – started the week on a strong educational footing yesterday (Oct 13) when over a thousand meetings industry professionals took part in a choice of 39 professional development sessions delivering a potential 45 clock hours.
The learning-rich program combined an opening keynote, education seminars and workshops throughout the day, Association Focus & Association Evening (see separate release,) plus the first ever installment of PCMA Business School at IMEX America.
Topics spanned Strategic Planning, Project Management, Stakeholder Management, Implementation, Financial Management, Human Resources and more.
Playfulness is Serious Business
An electrifying keynote address by Steve Gross started the day. The first of four MPI keynotes this week, Gross talked passionately about “How Joy and Optimism Ignite the Best in Us.” Gross is the Executive Director and Chief Playmaker for consumer brand Life is Good’s Playmakers program, a non-profit organization that uses play to help children overcome life-threatening challenges such as violence, illness and severe poverty.
He skilfully applied his passion for the power of play with children to the meetings industry saying: “When people get together through meetings and events it is critical to deliver playfulness which helps them engage, connect and explore, to enjoy being there … in the now.” He stressed that being playful is not just achieved through a set of “fun activities,” but an innovative attitude and spirit.
Brimming with Learning
After his energetic kick-off, Smart Monday participants moved into a full roster of learning and networking led by leading industry associations including MPI, ECM, GBTA, GMIC, HSMAI, IAPCO, ISES & SITE.
Debra Zabloudil, President and CEO of Learning Studio, for example, led “Jagger, Madonna, Beyonce and Bieber: Setting the Stage for Generations to Shine”, discussing the dynamics between the four generations currently working alongside each other. Through on-the-spot brainstorming, Debra and members of the audience urged one another to get the youngest of their employees and association members involved and engaged quickly in “loving” the organization. She encouraged giving back and supporting good causes, developing training and mentoring services and cross-industry movement. Zabloudil explained that meaningful experiences hold much more clout for Generation Y than promises of “a career path” or compensation alone.
A large number of attendees were also drawn to “Come on Get ‘Appy’: Trends, Best Practices and the future of Event Apps,” headed by Jessie Sates, Manager of Professional Development, MPI and Christian Savelli, Senior Director of Business Intelligence, MPI. Sharing study data and case histories their session stressed that 85 percent of meeting planners are or will be using event apps in the future, and that voting and polling via event apps will become increasingly important.
Adding a completely new, afternoon-long element, PCMA Business School led a group of meetings industry professionals through a cost-benefit analysis of their business relationships and a discussion about the value of ‘true relationship equity’. The intensive session was headed by Jerry Jellison, Consultant for Activated Consulting, PH.D. and professor at the University of Southern California.
Also new to the Smart Monday program this year were MeetingCentric Tours which gave attendees a unique behind-the-scenes look at the award winning The Venetian®|The Palazzo® and the Sands Expo®’s operations. Tour attendees learned that the Sands frequently recycles 90 percent or more of its expo waste. Chef Scott Donely also explained how his team works closely with smaller food providers and gave the example of how they are currently developing a custom-made cheese with a company in Salt Lake City.