Meeting Professional International’s 2013 World Education Congress focused on transforming individuals, organizations, and the meetings industry. Here are some of the highlights of this year's WEC, held in July in Las Vegas.
Do You See Me?
In a departure from the business-as-usual tone, WEC13 attempted to bring home another of its messages, about the power and challenge of diversity with emotionally charged sessions that often left attendees wiping tears and laughing out loud as they tapped notes on their tablets. One particularly moving general session ended with a group of MGM employees whose diversity message was spoken from their hearts, often through tears, as they explained who they really are, as opposed to who someone might think they are based on their race, age, gender, nationality, body size, or sexual identity. Each ended their presentation saying, “I see you. Do you see me?”
The corporate social responsibility, or Clean the World’s ONE Project, which provides the kits to those in need in the local community., events also turned out to be emotional endeavors. The day before the event officially kicked off, about 20 attendees stuffed toiletries into hygiene bags for the
But a much larger group—an estimated 1,000 or so of the approximately 2,000 WEC13 attendees—took over the main ballroom on the conference’s final day to build prosthetic hands for landmine victims around the world as part of the Helping Hands community service project offered by Odyssey Teams. Spurred on by Odyssey Teams Co-founder and COO Lain Hensley, who also gave a Flashpoint presentation that ended with, “See in someone what they don’t see in themselves, and believe what they see in you,” each member of the three-person teams assigned to build each hand also pulled a Koozie over one of their hands so they could build more empathy for those who ultimately would receive the hands. As they decorated bags to place the hands in and wrote notes to the recipients, many found themselves profoundly moved.
MPI’s new CEO Van Deventer also said that, by the meeting’s end, he too was moved both by the individual experiences being shared and by what people shared with him about their feelings for MPI. “When I was in the corporate world, I went to a lot of large meetings, but I have never before experienced the passion and love people can have for an organization that I have felt at this meeting.”