Bruce MacMillan, CA, president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International, welcomed more than 3,700 attendees to MPI’s World Education Conference à la Montréal during Sunday’s opening general session. Dressed in a Canadiens hockey jersey, MacMillan introduced speakers--and fellow Canadians--Mark Andrew, outgoing chairman of the MPI board of directors; Gerald Tremblay, mayor of Montréal; Charles LaPointe, president and CEO of Tourism Montréal; and Angie Pfiefer, CMM, incoming chairwoman of the board of directors.
This year’s conference theme, “Connect Yourself,” was apparent in MPI’s announcement that it will sign the United Nations Global Compact on Corporate Social Responsibility, a voluntary initiative that asks participating companies to support and enact the principles of human rights, labor, environmental sustainability, and anti-corruption. The UN Compact is the world’s largestinitiative and includes more than 3,700 participants from more than 100 countries.
“This is the first step in making a commitment to this growingfocus,” said Pfeifer, assistant vice president, , travel and incentives, Investors Group Financial Services, Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba, in a statement. “By supporting the UN Compact, MPI continues to position itself as an industry leader and elevates the conversation for our members by informing them about corporate social responsibility and the role that meetings and events professionals can play in supporting those principles for employers and clients.”
In keeping with the Compact, many eco-conscious initiatives were apparent at the conference, including:
Incoming chairwoman Pfeifer also briefed the crowd on other new initiatives members can expect to see under her leadership, which include the expansion of MPI into Asia Pacific, with a new office in Singapore scheduled to open in October; the launch of an MPI chapter in Korea; and an April 2008 Professional Education Conference in Dubai.
Keynotefor the session, Don Tapscott, author of “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything,” spoke about the changing business climate and the need for co-creation and collaboration in both business and meetings. He commended MPI for incorporating wikis and blogs in its new Web site—both examples of Web 2.0 and critical technology for collaborating in business.
The general session concluded with an awards presentation including the announcement of MPI’s Global Paragon Award winners and an awe-inspiring performance by Cirque du Soleil. This year’s winners are: