In mid-March, 31 women in the meeting and hospitality industry gathered at the Chaminade Conference Resort in Santa Cruz, Calif., to participate in a pilot program designed to do no less than start a revolution in this industry. Dubbed the First Annual W2W Invitational, the idea for the meeting began with Joan Eisenstodt, chief strategist, Eisenstodt Associates LLC, Conference Consulting, Facilitation & Training, Washington, D.C., and Vanessa Vlay, chief marketing officer with San Francisco-based Certain Software. They decided it was time to stop talking about problems in the meeting industry and to start moving toward solutions.
Because the meeting industry is dominated by women, they reasoned that the time was right to get some women together to discuss ways to move forward personally and professionally, and to model some of today's best meeting practices. The organizers invited women who were passionate about the industry and diverse, both culturally and by age.
Each attendee walked away with several things she planned to implement to instigate change. They ranged from suggesting innovative formats to industry associations to adopting an online meeting component (similar to one used by W2W) to coalesce participants into a working group before meeting face to face. For more info, go to http://cmi.meetingsnet.com/ar/meetings_think_tank_women/index.htm.