The Meeting Professionals International World Education Conference is the annual conference for education and networking for over 2,000 meeting and event professionals. This year exceeded my expectations and Visit Indy did a remarkable job showcasing their city. Hoosier Hospitality is definitely real. Here are some highlights.
The Education: This year we had so much great education planned at our pep rallies and throughout the day that I had a hard time choosing which session to go to. Some highlights for me were valuing diversity and beating bias by Hayley Barnard, Michael Cerbelli’s Hot List, Communication by Claudia Jean Virga, Creating better ideas by Duncan Wardle (Disney) and 5 second decisions and productivity secrets by Mel Robbins (#1 booked female speaker).
The Networking: With many networking opportunities I was able to network with a ton of new friends from Chicago and MPI members from around the world.
The Events: Indy has a lot to offer and they showcased it well with a party at White River State Park including flower crown making, a concert from Straight no Chaser and picnic style food and drinks. We had a block party at Monumental Circle with food trucks, games, a peddle pub and a Tom Petty Cover Band. The closing celebration allowed us to check items off of our bucket list by having a reception at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, meeting the Indy 500 drivers and taking a lap around the raceway.
The Theme: The theme this year was stop planning meetings and start designing experiences. This was done extremely well with a newly redesigned villages (social, leadership, experiential and innovation as well as the Georgia Street food truck experience and lunch in the Colts stadium instead of having a boring plated lunch.
The Green: Everywhere we went they had a green focus and even had people organizing the recycling out of the garbage. While meeting planners should know better and recycle, I loved this added touch.
The Health and Wellness: They had a focus on health and wellness from providing group 5Ks around the canal and having puppies to help with stress. The food could have been a lot healthier but it is challenging with 2,000 people.
The CSR: The Corporate Social Responsibility was remarkable with donations for the Julian Center, Dress for Success as well as donating the leftover food, flowers and conference supplies. There was also the ability to paint murals that will be displayed at local hospitals, create cheeriodical gift boxes for children at those hospitals. I have never seen so much CSR at an annual conference.
The App: It was so well done and kept me organized and connected and allowed for easy networking.
The Entertainment: Dena Blizzard, the comedian was our MC and provided a lot of entertainment in her morning and afternoon pep rallies. This included spoken cinema by Steve Connell, a visit from the Indiana Pacemates, many musicians and DJ’s and we also had DJ Warren Peace at the Rendezvous fundraiser.
Awards: Chicago won the Industry Advocate RISE award!!