The second annual Beyond Borders Conference, sponsored by Adams Business Media/Meetings Group, publisher of, and by Production Group International (PGI), attracted 130 people to the New York Hilton in late March, double the number of registrants from last year. The one-and-a-half-day conference, which focuses solely on topics pertaining to taking a meeting outside of the U.S., is a spin-off of Adams Business Media's popular Beyond Borders supplement, which is sent to subscribers of AM with each year's June issue.
This year's registration list read like a "who's who" of associations, showing the interest of organizations in taking meetings and incentives overseas, many for the first time. Among the associations attending were International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association; International Sign Association; Society of Industrial/Applied Mathematics; Soroptimist International of America; American Academy of Pediatrics; and Orthopaedic Trauma Association. Independent meeting management companies also attended, including Welch International, Conference Connection, and Meeting Makers, Inc.
Margaret Moynihan, CMP, director of conferences & travel, Deloitte & Touche LLP; Rodney Abraham, president and CEO, Professional Meeting Planners Network, Inc.; Ulla Buchner-Howard, CMP, managing director, UBH International Services, Inc.; and Mark Barrett, director, USA & Canada, Hong Kong Tourist Association, kicked off the conference with a lively session on site selection.
Ann Boehme, president of Meetings & Management Techniques, Valley Stream, N.Y., and conference chairperson, lent her expertise in a "risk management" session, and used a personal case study to demonstrate how a site impacts the success of a meeting.
Other industry professionals included Jonathan Howe, Esq., principal, Howe & Hutton, Ltd., Chicago, who gave a presentation on international; Richard Werth, president, W.P. Werth & Associates, Nashville, who talked about security overseas; and Hugh K. Lee, president, Fusion Productions, Webster, N.Y., who gave an informative talk about using the Internet.
Joe Jeff Goldblatt, CSEP, professor in the Event Management Program, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., gave a presentation on best practices in event management and led an interactive case study approach to managing an overseas meeting. Jerry Kallman, Sr., Kallman Global Consulting, a veteran internationalexpert, talked about how to make exhibits and trade shows easier and more profitable.
Shangri-La Hotels, represented by Carolyn Blackburn, director of sales, eastern region, contributed the conference materials, which included a bound handbook of all seminar handouts and outlines.
Students from New York University, Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Travel Administration, which offers international meeting management courses and a concentration in meeting management within its bachelor's degree program, volunteered their time to work at the conference.
Production Group International, based in Arlington, Va., is a conglomerate of companies that handle meetings, exhibitions, and incentive travel programs worldwide, taking them from conception through production. PGI also provides on-site management of programs and incentives. --Betsy Bair