Looking back on the EVENT
It’s all still a little surreal, that we pulled off the EVENT, which was held at the Brookstreet Hotel on April 12-14. The idea of a joint MPI Chapter event is by no means a new concept, nor do we claim to be pioneers on this, however we were the first to pull it off the way we did. The discussions of a joint event date back a few years (the actual date varies depending on which one of us you talk to), but for me the wheels started to take motion on the Jersey shore at WEC June 2016. I even mention moving our industry forward then in my very first President’s Message.
The goal was and remains clear, to put on an education event that makes participants rethink the way we, as an industry execute meetings and events. We do not want to simply duplicate something that’s already tried and true, that would be too easy. Now obviously we have stay within reason, money does not grow on trees (or could it… an idea for 2019!), however with the right Partners, we can pull off something special each and every year.
I never doubted that the EVENT would push people out of their comfort zones and fully utilize event design to raise the bar on experiential learning, but we weren’t 100% for certain that the attendees would buy in. 300+ attendees, 30+ Speakers, 25+ Partners, and 340+ braindate* connections, I think we have our verdict.
*Braindate technology by e180 (from Montreal) is an online platform that connects people to have meaningful conversations on pre-determined topics, all generated by the participants themselves. This was a perfect alignment with our belief that the experts (aka speakers) are not just on stage, they’re all around us at events.
Although there were many successes (and a few misses too which are part of the creative process), I think the one thing I am most proud of is the Partnerships that we created and the complete buy-in we got from Partners. Our Partners accepted the challenge to transform their space into an experience and try something fun and new. This included my very own Hotel, Brookstreet, stepping up as the first ever host and allowing the transformation to happen inside our brand new space. Then we had the jaw dropping mountain filled Banff & Lake Louise plenary (a collaboration in itself with our Visionary Partner, FMAV, and Mastermind Events), Winnipeg’s Journey to Churchill or Walk in the Park braindate lounges, or breakouts featuring Edmonton’s custom built escape room, Quebec’s wellness space, Red Deer’s hockey rink, a taste of Niagara Falls, Caesar’s Windsor speak easy…. not to mention Calgary’s terrarium experience, Fredericton’s how to tie a pashmina, or happy hour conversations in Saskatoon’s lobby bar. Talk about experience overload! Even one of our Experts who just happens to speak on Sponsorships, Krissy Murphy of T1 Agency, commented in her post EVENT article, Three Lessons on Sponsorship at Events, that “When I think back on the experience, I can remember myself saying repeatedly, let’s use this conference as an example. Without a doubt, sponsorship at the EVENT was done very well.”
Of course, I’m going be a big advocate of the EVENT, I was a co-Founder alongside two incredible MPI Chapter Leaders – Tim Whalen, Fallsview Casino and Marie-France Watson, Concordia University, however the feedback we’ve received from our peers is overwhelmingly positive and inspires us to go to even higher heights in 2019. Here’s from their mouths, not mine:
“It has been some time since I have taken part in any PD, and I totally walked away feeling a new sense of motivation and inspiration – just what I needed. Your team and all of the sponsors really pulled out all of the stops – well done!” Angèlie Gilchrist Blanchard, Canadian Bar Association
“You guys completely knocked it out of the park last week. Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto chapters should be extremely proud of what you accomplished! I am raving about it to whomever I can.” Meagan Rockett, Greenfield Marketing Services
“I was absolutely blown away by this conference and the hard work you put into everything to truly made it a unique and invigorating experience.” Candace Schierling, Tourism Saskatoon
“Not only did the EVENT bring us all out of the box, it kicked the box down the road and around the corner! The environment was conducive to the desired outcome: Collaborate, Cultivate and Elevate. I left with a renewed energy and ideas like never before. Congratulations!” Executive Director, Canadian Parking Association
I personally want to thank all those who participated in the inaugural EVENT, took a chance on us, trusted us, and kept an open mind. And of course then there’s our dedicated EVENT Designer team who made the dream a reality. Their work behind the scenes was impeccable and like many volunteer roles, went largely unseen. Thank you for all that you did!
If you missed the EVENT and want to know what you missed, take a peek at the amazing recap video put together by FMAV. We also have uploaded some incredible photos by MPI Ottawa’s Robin Andrew, Unposed Photography, on the EVENT website.
Pssssttt, the 2019 dates are set (April 4-6, 2019)… so we hope to see you in Montreal!
Stay creative everyone.
Article edited by Rozanne Lyons, CMP, Intertask Conferences