What does a healthy experience mean to you? For attendees of Smart Meetings Wellness Experience this week at The Wigwam Resort just outside of Phoenix, the program addressed physical and mental health along with the deeper need for human connection.

Healthy meeting strategies demonstrated included gifting, content, team building and F&B operations. For three days, attendees lived the creative strategies from Smart Meetings Magazine so they could take what fit their needs back to their own programs.

Following is a snapshot of ideas you might try at your next conference.

Green Gifting

Smart Meetings continued its Gifting Lounge Experience, allowing guests to choose items that spoke to their heart. They only packed personal treasures to take back to the office.

Choices included Citizen Watch America bamboo chargers, Halo Branded Solutions travel massagers, custom floral arrangements from Wondry and sports towels and custom-blended teas from Dawn of the Earth. A partnership with Fill It Forward water bottles ensured that every time attendees refilled at infused water stations, they could scan the code on the bottle and contribute to a worthy cause while saving CO2 emissions.

Stage Messages

two men talking in front of camera
Smart Meetings TV Correspondent Mike Lyons and Alex Weber

The message from on high was a consistent call for embracing all the parts of yourself, your mistakes, unspoken goals and strengths. Alex Weber, American Ninja host and competitor and the author of “Failproof: Be Unstoppable You,” shared his history of falling prey to self-doubt and his secrets for bouncing back when obstacles appeared in his path, including a challenge to become an elite athlete to keep his job.

When the game changes, people aren’t asked if it is a good time to take on a new goal, but they do have a choice. They can give in to self-doubt and quit with a flourish, disengage and quietly become a smaller version of themselves, or step up to be a better version of themselves.

The biggest commitment you must keep is your commitment to yourself—because you are always with you, Weber explained. You know if you gave it your all or backed away and quit. “If there was ever anything to go all in on, ignore the negative voice in your head and go all in on you,” he counseled.

Read More: How to Create a Positive and Mindful Workplace Culture

Identify what is really holding you back and connect with the abundant resources in the generous hospitality community that will allow you to overcome those hurdles. In the process of facing your fears, you can unlock gifts, opportunities to deepen relationships and discover new facets of yourself.

“The fullest expression of you is when you show up in a big, bold, beautiful way. Momentum is real. I promise life is going to keep throwing challenges our way, but you will keep overcoming and life will reward you with unexpected gifts,” he concluded. “You are unstoppable when you bravely choose to listen to the voice that loves you.”

woman wearing black top and yellow pants
Deborah G.

Similarly, Deborah G., Olympic swimming superstar, sports broadcaster and host of “Hospitality Today Live,” shared that in life’s journey, challenges often pave the road to success. “Embracing the struggle cultivates resilience, fortitude, character and strength,” she said.

Rather than fearing difficulties, she suggested embracing them as stepping stones toward goals. “Each hurdle you overcome brings you closer to realizing your dreams. Remember, the struggle is not a sign of weakness but a testament to your determination and capacity for triumph,” she said.

Movement Moments

people wearing headphones and dancing
Be You Disco

Since “healthy” means something different to every participant, attendees were given agency to choose their level of intensity during team-building activities.

Read More: Wellness on a Budget: Five Cost-Effective Ideas to Elevate Wellness in Your Meetings

Whether they joined a Be You Disco experience with a guided dancing exercise to release baggage and inspire trust or a #fit4events bodyweight wellness movement activity with Anca Trifan, the goal was to stimulate mind and muscle together. The shared experience of pushing boundaries brought people together and brought a sense of accomplishment.


In fact, movement was peppered throughout the agenda, including opportunities for yoga, barre and access to a world-class gym on-property.

The final day started with Somatic breathwork from Sepi Eivazi, a member of the Global Wellness Institute, so everyone could approach their one-on-one meetings focused and energized.

Healthy F&B

The catering team at The Wigwam Resort embraced the challenge of offering healthy, locally inspired options that satisfied all dietary requirements.

From barbecued lemon shrimp, buffalo steak tips and lamb chili with all the fixings to sweet endings (have you ever tried chocolate hummus?), the thoughtful presentations and live-action stations matched the luxury surroundings and the recently renovated historic property. Even the coffee service was deluxe with iced, turmeric and flavored options.