Celebration was in the air at #WEC19 as some 2,600 attendees gathered in Toronto to share experiences and learn from each other.
MPI President Paul Van Deventer christened the event the largest in a decade and said the focus on sharing, inspiring and incorporating local elements built on last year’s event in Indianapolis.
MPI focused on involving volunteer leaders, chapter networks and the power of the MPI Academy to deliver value.
Incoming Chair Annette Greg, senior vice president with PRA Business Events, said she is eager to engage all the communities within MPI, including administrative planners, association planners and women.
MPI celebrated outstanding members with the RISE awards. Joe Marcy, regional sales executive with Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau in California, received the Member of the Year Award. Julia Spangler, founder of Sustainable Events Consultants, was honored with the Young Professional Achievement Award. Gary Murakami, director of global sales for MGM Resorts International, received the Meeting Industry Leadership Award.
On Monday night, members came together to celebrate Anne Hamilton, who received the Industry Leader Award at MPI President’s Dinner. Hamilton, a long-time Walt Disney Company veteran, started her hospitality career at the age of 10 in her family’s hotel before joining Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Between the dinner, Rendezvous and a silent auction, MPI Foundation raised more than $220,000 for research and scholarships.
Outside Metro Toronto Convention Center, 2 million people poured into the streets to celebrate the Toronto Raptors’ NBA Championship win. Just before 4 p.m., a shooting there left four injured and sent thousands running. Some streets and hotels were closed, interrupting transit to and from the convention center and associated events.
Van Deventer said his team was prepared, as they always have emergency protocols in place. They locked down the facility until they knew it was safe, then began communicating through the app and other means to let people know the best way to navigate the busy streets.