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Smart Monday produces powerful prelude to IMEX America through innovative learning and networking

Written by editor

IMEX America’s Smart Monday, powered by MPI, created a power-packed prelude to IMEX America in Las Vegas.

IMEX America’s Smart Monday, powered by MPI, created a power-packed prelude to IMEX America in Las Vegas.

The popular pre-show education program drew hundreds of participants to The Venetian®|The Palazzo® Congress Center on October 12. There they learned more about the latest meeting industry best practices in wellness, creativity, technology, sustainability, social media and trends while networking with peers and thought leaders. At the same time, they earned clock hours for CMP/CEU certification and recertification.

IMEX America’s strategic partner and premier education provider MPI, together with a range of additional association partners provided more than 30 concurrent professional development sessions on Smart Monday for the wide range of executives who arrived the day before the major three day show began.

Throughout the day there were educational sessions in various learning formats on a diverse range of key topics delivered by MPI, IAPCO, ICCA, ASAE, PCMA, HSMAI, DMAI, SITE, GBTA, GMIC and ECM. Additionally, the full-day IAEE CEM Floorplan Development Program, Site CIS Course, and MPI Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate were all certificated courses.

Demystifying Mindfulness

The Smart Monday line-up began with the first daily MPI keynote of the week, sponsored by New Orleans CVB and New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Inspiration was provided by wellness coach and speaker Lee Papa discussing “How to Live and Lead Mindfully”. The engaging talk featured practical tools for losing stress and gaining peace and creativity, and even included a real time guided meditation exercise for the large audience– all setting a positive tone for the “Be Well at IMEX” program running throughout the show week. Later in the day, Papa also led two introductory meditation sessions in the new IMEX America Meditation Room. This unique space, designed and produced by FabLab-the event laboratory at AWG Destination Management Services, offers a spa-level ambiance with zen music, fresh flowers, flowing draperies, comfortable mats and more where show goers can take a quiet break or participate in a class.

Among the many other sessions designed to meet the varied interests and needs of the audiences were:

– A Deep Dive provided by MPI called LinkedIn MBA (Meetings and Business Accelertor) School which took attendees through the details of leveraging the social media channel for better networking and business development.

– The Play Room – sponsored by Play with a Purpose – brought the business value of creativity and engagement to a higher level. Here participants took part in short, upbeat ‘quirkshops’, played an online game or dominos, brainstormed on a sticky note wall or make a friendship bracelet to be donated to the Nemours Childrens Hospital. In a prime example of the topics touched on in the colorful and dynamic space, Sharon Fisher, CEO & Chief IdeaSparker at Play with a Purpose, led a session called “Walk the Walls” exploring ways to get attendees talking, engaging and peer learning instead of being glued to their devices.

“This is my second time to Smart Monday and I am really happy again with the high level of education offered,” said Adrienne Tooley, Meeting & Event Manager, Koncept Events. “When you’ve been in the industry a few years you want something new and more advanced. Smart Monday offers very high caliber, high-level speakers that are in strong touch with what’s happening in the industry.”


– The second, annual PCMA Business School at IMEX America, sponsored by Synchronicities was presented and led by Bob Kulhan, a professor at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. In the lively, innovative session he majored on ways to leverage improv techniques in the office.
– Association Focus, the exclusive event presented by ASAE and ICCA was also attended by around 180 association executives, providing a broad range of valuable education and peer networking opportunities.
– As an alternative, some chose to use Smart Monday as an opportunity to network through sport and give back at the same time by teeing off at the CEIR Golf Classic where proceeds will go towards funding important industry research.
“ To have a whole day before the show to come in early and get education (here at Smart Monday) is great,” said Lanie Collins Marketing Association & Event Manager at Nicola Wealth Management. “Since I‘m the only one in my company that does meetings, it is so terrific to be surrounded by and talk to other people who just ‘get it’, and I also get credit for what I am learning towards my CMP.”

Networking Night

After a full day of learning, many delegates will be enjoying a night of networking. Association Evening, sponsored by SLS Las Vegas, at the stunning Foxtail Nightclub is set to cap the Association Focus program while 1,200 buyers and suppliers will head for Site Nite North America at the new Omnia nightclub, Caesars Palace.

Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group, said: “All the elements of Smart Monday have once again created an inspiring and exciting prelude to three days of business and more learning and networking at IMEX America.”