#TheEventProfessionalsJourney is a laudable one

GMID 2024 successfully closed out its eighth year as an international celebration. This year’s theme, #TheEventProfessionalsJourney, honored the resilience and innovation demonstrated on a daily basis by event professionals.

To drive home just how impactful the meetings and events industry is, in 2023 the industry generated $119 billion in travel spending and supported of nearly 600,000 American jobs. That’s worth a day of celebration.

MPI 12-Hour Marathon Celebration

MPI aired this year’s sixth-annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) 12-hour virtual experience.

An impressive array of event industry experts and keynote speakers spoke about the essential role of meetings and the “how to’s” of successful meeting planning.

Industry titans like MPI President and CEO Paul Van Deventer and IMEX CEO Carina Bauer (and 10 others) shared insights related to the state of the industry; Speaking Design Thinking CEO and Founder John K. Coyle talked about overcoming tests and obstacles, and how to navigate the event professional journey; and keynote speaker Brittany Hodak shared tips for creating an exceptional experience even before the event begins.

#TheEventProfessionalsJourney theme was woven throughout the virtual experience and influenced many of its discussions, from the keynote speakers to the format of the live stream, which portrayed several maps that marked 12 “journey moments” of the planner’s event creation journey.

And there was much more. With an MPI account, a free on-demand version of the 2024 GMID livestream is available here.

How Cities and Organizations Celebrated

screenshot of social media interface
MPI’s GMID Virtual interface

On MPI’s virtual experience Wall tab, attendees posted images and selfies of their watch party experiences. Outside of the virtual experiences, many cities and organizations around the globe celebrated in a similar fashion.

Las Vegas

aerial view of large street

To celebrate GMID, Las Vegas’ meetings community enacted a marquee takeover along The Strip with the campaign hashtag, #meetingsmatter. Las Vegas properties also featured blue lighting on their facades to recognize the initiative. As a display of just how much #meetingsmatter, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority shared that in 2022 convention visitor spending supported more than 38,000 jobs and $7.5 billion in spending.

Read MoreLas Vegas: A Place of Endless Reinvention


Visit Orlando collaborated with Orlando Poet Laureate Shawn Welcome to compose a poem about the value of in-person meetings and the positive impact meetings have on communities, local businesses and the economy.


As illustration of the impact one venue can have on a local community, Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center cites these data points:

Read MoreOrlando: Luxury Beyond Imagination

  • $1 million in donated home improvement products
  • 40,000 pounds of repurposed materials to build homes
  • 32,000 pounds of food donated to those in need
  • $114,000 in educational scholarships
  • $60,000 in bicycle donations for foster kids.

Join Us in Bringing the Industry Together

In understanding that meeting professionals play a key role in bringing international groups to the United States, we have compiled international stories in The Savvy Meeting Prof’s Toolkit for Bringing International Conferences Home, replete with international stories which will be refreshed and updated to reflect ongoing developments. We invite you to check back often for the latest!

If you want to contribute further, click here to add your name to the unified call for improving the tools we use to deliver world-changing events. Tell us your reality about how you bring the globe together and what you need to do it more effectively. We will share a summary with policy and decision-makers beyond our industry to advocate for the change we need.


PMCA Capital Chapter: PCMA’s Capital Chapter in Washington, D.C., held an in-person event at Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where the agenda included a keynote on the state of the U.S. Congress and the 2024 election and a panel discussion with Events DC Senior Vice President of Facility Operations and Services Hootan Kaboli, Fern Expo Vice President of Marketing and Industry Relations Jim Kelley and Projection National Product Manager Johnathan Wilbert.

The discussion, moderated by American Gear Manufacturers Association Meetings Director Leah Lewis, delved into workforce challenges, labor concerns and other issues impacting the meetings industry.

small group posing for picture

PCMA PHL: More than 150 event profs gather for PCMA Greater Philadelphia Chapter’s GMID celebration at CYTO | PHL. The chapter had an individual theme, Future @ Work—Bridging Gaps and Embracing Differences, which focused on growing the events industry by leveraging the power of the multiple generations that encompass it.

There were seven speakers in attendance who put forth their ideas about how to make this happen:

  • Bonnie Grant, PCMA PHL President and Executive Director, PHL Life Sciences
  • Joe Heller, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Tim Hines, FCMO, Keynote Speaker, Author, Podcast Show Host, and Consultant
  • Kyle Bixby, Meetings and Exhibits Coordinator, ASCRS
  • Theresa Barrett, Deputy Executive Vice President, New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians
  • Edward Baten, Complex General Manager, W Philadelphia and Element Hotel
  • Erica Rudy, University Programs Manager, Hyatt

The event also collected donations for Family Support Line, an organization that works to prevent and treatment victims of child sexual abuse. Attendees were expected to bring journals, coloring books, notebooks, crayons and more for its Room to Heal program.

Cabarrus County

Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority joined forces at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, to celebrate GMID. In a group that consisted of meeting and event planners, and hospitality and tourism professionals, participants came together to network and engage in educational opportunities. The day included a legislative briefing by North Carolina Travel Industry Association and a companion discussion about AI, airlines, the economic impact of travel and a panel about how to elevate in-person meetings.

“Hospitality is the fourth largest industry sector in the Charlotte region, employing one in nine residents and supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Steve Bagwell, CEO of Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. “Meetings and conventions are a vital part of our community’s economic health and vitality. We value the trusted relationships we’ve established with meeting and event planners who bring thousands of attendees to the Queen City, adding to our dynamic visitor economy. That spirit of partnership is a defining characteristic of our region and a major contributor to our success.”

Lessons from GMID 2024

 As GMID serves as the perfect opportunity to show appreciation for the events industry, it’s also a moment to reflect on lessons learned. At IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum and PCMA 2024 Foundation Visionary Awards, several presenters and industry executives shared lessons they’ve learned from their time in the industry.

Executive presence consultant Rich Bracken on Smart Meetings Knowledge Exchange Webinar “Be Unstoppable

  • Block time on your calendar for self-care and creativity.
  • Be relentless about lifting others up.
  • Use your passion and unique gifts to do things of significance.
  • Visualize the impact of your event on one person.
  • Be crystal clear about what success means to you.

IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum

Courtney Clark, “ReVisionary Thinking—The Science and Strategy of Adapting to Change” author and presenter: “Let go, think up and move on. Change may not be what trips us up. Resistance to change will hold us back.”

Dr. Jennifer Keitt, “Elevate, Transform and Thrive—The Executive Life Quest” presenter: “Wake up and get clear. You have little control over the world around you, but full control over the world within you. The path to new heights lies within, within your heart. Elevate by looking inside, for therein lies the key to a fulfilling life.”

Michelle Cederberg, “The Success-Energy Equation” presenter and author: “Success is available to anyone who can get over the idea that it isn’t, but we complicate it by not giving ourselves the time and space to really think about what’s important, and why it matters. Remember, success begins by setting clear, exciting goals, which are a function of the belief you have in yourself regarding those goals, and the discipline you have within you to do the freakin’ work.”

man and woman posing for picture
Shawn (Yih-Hsiang) Cheng and Anh Nguyen

PCMA 2024 Foundation Visionary Awards

  • Doug Bennett, executive vice president of Louisville Tourism and Supplier of the Year winner: “Mentoring is a contact sport. Go make contact. It is so important.”
  • Shawn (Yih-Hsiang) Cheng, co-founder, #EventProfsBreakShit and Digital Experience Strategist of the Year winner: “Meeting profs and technologists working together help move everyone forward.”
  • Beth Surmont, vice president of business event strategy and design, 360 Live Media and Groundbreaker Award Finalist for her work on social offset as an alternative to boycotting: “Do your best because your best is very good.”
  • Stuart Ruff-Lyon, chief events and sales officer, RIMS: “I wake up every day excited to go to work; it is a beautiful industry.”
  • Greg O’Dell, president, venue management, Oak View Group and Lifetime Achievement Honoree: “Grow by doing things that make you uncomfortable; that is how you become fearless.”
  • Butch Spyridon, retired CEO, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. and Lifetime Achievement Honoree: “We are so frickin’ lucky to have so many great supporters—DMO staff and community, customers and wife. Without that support, there is no lifetime and no award. PCMA, keep it up; let’s go party.”