There is no doubt about who was the most well-received speaker at the 1999 World Education Congress of Meeting Professionals International, held in July at Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Convention Center. Eleven-year-old Christopher Simeone walked on stage during the first general session, faced thousands of attendees, and announced that he was taking a break from his paper route and golf practice to introduce his dad.
With hugs from his son and wife, Joy, and applause from the audience, tech planner Edward G. Simeone, CMP, manager ofevent management at EMC Corp., Hopkinton, Mass., took the mike and said that his goal as MPI's 1999-2000 chairman of the board was to help members find a balance between their personal and professional lives. "Some say [that balance] means a decline in productivity. This is a daring step for an association," he said. "But personal imbalance threatens contentment, happiness, and, ultimately, productivity. My commitment is [to have] MPI focus on nurturing the whole person." Attendees responded with a standing ovation.
MPI attracted a record crowd of about 3,100 attendees from 26 countries. More people saw the two general sessions, which were carried live over the Internet by MPI's partner, Broadcast.com.
Getting away from status quo meetings was also a topic addressed by Jim Gilmore, co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP and co-author of The Experience Economy. "It's a myth that people don't like change," said Gilmore. "They just don't always like your change." He went on to talk about ways that planners can customize meetings and turn them into multi-dimensional experiences.
Further demonstrating its commitment to education, technology, and globalization, MPI announced the September publication of two new books:
* Corbin Ball, a professional speaker and technology consultant for the meeting and hospitality industries has written The Ultimate Meeting Professional's Software Guide. Priced at $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers.
* MPI is also releasing Professional Meeting Management: A European Handbook, a collaborative effort of 35 writers from 13 countries. It will be priced at $30 for members, $42 for nonmembers.