What do Swahili, chicken soup cans, and meeting planners have in common? They are all connected to the grand opening of Kalahari Resorts' NIA Center, a hotel and conference center in Sandusky, Ohio. The Africa-themed property, which includes 95,000 square feet of meeting space, 596 guest rooms, restaurants, a spa, and waterpark, is named for the Swahili word, nia, which means purpose. Resort officials say the name reflects their commitment to “purposeful events.”

The September 19 grand opening celebration might qualify as just that — purposeful. Keynote speaker Jack Canfield, a life coach and author who wrote the wildly popular book, Chicken Soup for the Soul, addressed the more than 100 meeting planners and business professionals in attendance, offering 10 tips for “Finding Your NIA.” To mark the occasion, NIA staff built a “Soup for Success” tower made out of 17,200 cans of soup, representative of the NIA Center's 17,200-square-foot ballroom. The cans of soup will be donated to area Second Harvest food banks. For more information, go to www.kalahariresorts.com.