Saturday, October 24, 2015

People Make IMEX-Again

Building hygiene kits with support from Clean the World for Shade Tree - simple, fun and smile-creating!
IMEX has always impressed me because of its "people first" thinking. Yes they are producing arguably one of the largest trade shows for meeting professionals from around the world, but from the beginning they have considered their impact.  It began from the first show with a focus on sustainability, then CSR supporting Shade Tree and this year a focus on wellness was added, supported by thoughtful keynote presentations and a rather awesome meditation room and wellness was suggested as an inclusion on the floor and was brought to life through various booths with support from like-minded exhibitors.

IMEX has also always been technology forward thinking and this year the Pitch Presentations were a highlight, with Loopd taking the prize, awarded by judges who understand the industry.  Once again QuickMobile built the app, and this is a tool I simply cannot imagine being without.

Roger Haskett teaches education through play.
As always, IMEX over-delivered on education, making it simpler to find this year as it was located in one hub at the easy to find Inspiration centre. A highlight was a session on the Power of Play from Roger Haskett of Engagement Unlimited.  I have known Roger for many years, but didn't know his depth of knowledge and passion for this subject, and with a delightful presentation style, he had this audience truly engaged.  Dale Hudson and her team continue to rock it!
Thought leaders Corbin Ball and Martin Sirk

IMEX once again brought the world together, and for me, that means friends from around the world are all in one place and it is a time we can catch up on lives personal and professional as the conversations range from outfits to meeting design, the coolest new toys in tech to how play fits into and enhances learning. The ability to connect like-minded thinkers is always fun to watch.

Another at last IRL Cindy from @redvelvetevents

It was fabulous to follow along with the Event Technology awards, and to be present for the awarding of this prize to CrowdMics. There are so many ways technology is changing how we interact at meetings and it is important we understand the benefits to our participants with so many to choose from. To have time to talk with the creators of these technologies and to hear first hand how they see positive impacts and why they are excited about what they are doing is one of the best reasons to be here.  

On technology, I continue to be impressed with the IMEX Digital initiatives led by Miguel Neves. Supported by the IMEX Social Team with the constant of Gerrit Heijkoop, they have paid attention and evolved year over year to respond to the changing face of technology and how we - the participants - respond to various mediums. From production to curation, they find ways to continue to exceed expectations for how information is shared, and keep it fun, informative and relevant.  An execllent collaboration.

The CIC Hall of Leaders inducted many worthy recipients this year (see list in the link), and it was pure joy to see Amy Spatrisano inducted for her many contributions to the industry - this is a woman who deserves it all! Produced with the MGM Events team and hosted by Laura Schwarz, it sparkled.  

Meeting Speaker Sue at last IRL - while doing art
in the Play Room
I also had time to meet some great new friends and catch up with many others.  David Adler and Brandt Krueger were great GatherGeeks reporters collecting a heap of interviews for this great new podcast and Mike McAllen was holding his own with a ton of great IMEX focused interviews on the inimitable MeetingsPodcast

For sheer fun at an event, Donny Neufuss is always a joy to see with his effervescent personality keeping it real... Fremont Street may never be the same! Glenn Thayer is so fun to walk the floor with as his knowledge of truly improving general sessions and the discussion that ensue continues to inspire me. 

Padraic pre-suitcase catching up!
The next generation, these lovely, smart young women coming up who really get the business of meetings wow me - if these are "millenials" I can't wait to work with them! The short list includes Courtney the Lady Phenomona, Magadalina from Bulgaria, ElizabthB, Emma Parston, AmyfromBC  - all who are so committed to what we do as an industry.  Dan Berger moderated a fantastic panel on how meeting technology and hotels are rapidly adapting and he is always interesting to talk with as Social Tables  has a culture from both a technology and a people place to be is (award winning) incredible and always makes me think. Padraic and Patrick - these Irish meeting and incentive industry legends bring their wisdom, inherent sense of fun and true ability to connect people with them wherever they go - plus they are really smart marketers and event designers - how I enjoy seeing these two - and so fun to finally meet Aiofe Delaney who is a true (millenial) mover and shaker! 

One of the true joys was walking the floor with Janet Elkins of Eventworks - this woman and her passion for events knows no bounds!  A true surprise was @PenthouseLord Jason Scott who I met with Silvia Pellegrini - also IRL for the first time - her depth of curiosity about the industry is something I love. and what EventsUncovered is doing for sharing thought leadership is quite fabulous.

My perennial favorite selfie... with @IMEXRichard

Then they are the many great speakers - and surely I will miss many... Sam Smith is someone else who understands PLAY and interaction and seeing Play with a Purpose partner with Interactive Meeting Technology to bring the Play Room to life for MPI Smart Monday was a total blast.  

Jessie States not only shared great information on the future of the industry but walked miles on a recently broken leg - impressive.  Tyra Hilliard takes the dry and challenging topic of contracts and leaves people smiling and understanding more.  Tracy Stuckrath and her knowledge of all things Food and Beverage truly delights audiences - and they too learn a TON.  So from my perspective... if #IMEX16 is not on your radar - it should be!  It is a place where business is done, and where conversations that enhance your professional knowledge are around every corner.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Anvil Centre Celebrates One Year

The fabulous Mellomanic Band closed the night (the Quayside Singers opened it)
Vali shared stories including the missing kitchen, the 500,000 gallon flood and more 
I don't often write about venues, leaving that to others such as Padraic Gilligan and other well traveled #eventprofs. I have some favorites though, and the Anvil Centre is one of them. This boutique conference centre is in the heart of the Lower Mainland right at the New Westminster Skytrain stop, and includes a beautiful theatre (above), a ballroom and meeting space, shared community space full of learning, art, dance and music, a museum that groups can utilize and a very cool new media digital gallery! These last are open to anyone to visit - check them out if you are in the neighbourhood. 

I have been on multiple hardhat tours, celebrated at the industry opening night one year ago, and this week was honoured to be the MC for the First Anniversary celebration.  This was so fun for me because I really like the team, led by Vali Marling with Sales and Marketing led by the lovely and smart Heidi Hughes who I have known through all the evolutions of our careers, including teaching the same class (and others) at BCIT.  Diane and Colin who are key to the operations I have also worked with in other roles for demanding events in other venues, and even had Colin - keen to understand the meeting planner - take the event management class at BCIT several years ago. There is history here and I know how diligent this team is in ensuring excellent guest experiences.

Then there was the food.  At first, an antipasto platter... a good start. But then, the house-made tuna sushi cones, pulled pork sliders, duck confit on toast, and a delicious spoon of crispy potatoes with a mini poached quail egg and bacon that was rather spectacular began the evening, and to close the night, cake (of course) and gorgeous desserts created on site that day. 

The speeches, short and poignant and funny.  The music, first from Q5 the Quayside Singers, their acapella sound acoustically perfect in this theatre and then the Mellomanic Band fronted by Anvil Centre staff Josh with one of the most versatile bands (they kept changing instrumental places!) with a vocal range that not only astounded the audience, keeping them in the room even as we approached the end of the evening - and they soon had the group up dancing, an unexpected and rather perfect ending to the evening.
I could not resist - Diane all dressed up! I might be in trouble for sharing this but seriously... she is so funny!
Chief Constable Dave Jones spoke of the revitalization of the area, and the delish lemon squares
Hello dessert - thank you for coming!
Need a place to host your event (10 up to 450 ideal) that is easy to get to from across the Lower Mainland, has great food and even greater staff... check them out!

Thanks for including me - I had a blast!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Last Events of Summer 2015

The summer ended with three significant events for me.  After being home for a few days from MPI I headed to Toronto where I was one of the nominees for the Meetings Canada Hall of Fame in the Big Idea Category, and was honoured to join a fantastic group of nominees for a nail-biting (for me) ceremony during IncentiveWorks.  

What was this big idea?  With support from QuickMobile and Sonic Foundry / Mediasite we created a 10-hour Mobile App Certificate which is run as part of the Convention Industry Council's Preferred Partner program.  This program maps the use of mobile apps for meetings back to the CMP domains and shows planners how to truly integrate this now ubiquitous digital tool into the overall meeting design.  I was thrilled to win this category, and the recognition for this small and important program for our industry. In the next few weeks we will see the final results in the magazine.
Drury SummerMash awesomeness

Did I mention the very fabulous Drury SummerMash?   Once again - this was a highlight as they experiment with the latest in experiential awesomeness.

At the end of August I had the opportunity to take my first ever trip to Pittsburgh for the Collinson Media Connect event, and learning more about the Sports Event sector of the industry and delving into the Association mindset was really fun.  As always, a great event from this forward thinking team, a ton of great speakers and friends to see and a city that offered up delicious surprises.  
Fun at Collinson Media Connect

It was also around this time I made the difficult choice to leave the rather fabulous QuickMobile team and join the BC Innovation Council to produce the Inaugural #BCTECH Summit coming to Vancouver in January 2016. Learning more about the fantastic technology that is being developed by uber smart and thoughtful designers, businessmen, solution-seekers, engineers and developers throughout our province is literally blowing my mind.  From wearables designed to save lives, medical technology that allows doctors to get the information they need during surgery without de-gloving, to fantastic applications for forestry, mining, cool VR and AR and so much more is inspiring - and I can't wait to show it off!

Next up is IMEX15 - and I look forward to seeing many of you there!