It's easy to identify people who love their work: They are animated by enthusiasm and purpose. In our industry, these are the people who remain upbeat and positive throughout the insanely stressed-out world of planning meetings and events, when every day the dollar buys less, clients and bosses demand more, and the bottom line rules.

How do they do it? Among other things, they've found a philosophical fit with their company that touches a deeper need than the quest for profit. What motivates these top employees — and what motivates most of us, I believe — is making a difference. When I met MetLife meeting planner Stephanie Olivero this summer at FCIP's Northeast Chapter meeting, she was drinking her morning coffee from the travel mug she carries with her everywhere, because she knows that each small step to conserve resources can lead to a more sustainable future. Initially charged with launching community service initiatives at some MetLife sales conferences, Stephanie is excited about helping to create a buzz that has MetLife meeting sponsors throughout the company asking how they can pull off similar projects.

Then there's Barbara Moreland, director, internal communications, events, and recognition, at mortgage insurance provider PMI. The company has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility, but until she went out on a limb by including a community service teambuilding project in PMI's 2008 Sales Kickoff, its CSR mission was not part of company meetings. Selling PMI execs on the idea of their top salespeople giving up a traditional perk for a service initiative wasn't easy, but the event was so successful that the CEO called Barbara that very night to thank her.

Lesson learned: Doing good is smart business. Read more about how MetLife, PMI, and other financial services and insurance companies are giving back through meetings in our cover story by Alison Hall on page 28. It's a story that suggests teambuilding's new face may be more about reinforcing your corporate mission statement and less about climbing ropes.

The next big thing in fact, is a revolutionary idea coming from a new generation of industry speakers like Tim Sanders, author of Saving the World at Work, who says that only those companies who live the CSR mission will gain a competitive edge and thrive. And meetings are some of the most powerful ways to show your stakeholders that your company is a good corporate citizen, says Sanders. Get his thoughts on how a “responsibility revolution” will change your company — and your meetings — in our interview beginning on page 9.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me fess up that my husband's second cousin, baseball manager Leo Durocher, coined the oft-quoted phrase “nice guys finish last.” It's a big claim to fame in my family. But Leo's words no longer resonate. There's a new mantra for a new age: Nice companies (and nice people) finish first.

Join the conversation and let us know how you are giving back through your meetings. E-mail me at rbaraban@meetingsnet.com.