M&IW’s Alexander deHilster Joins BizBash Hall of Fame

Written by: Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategy

Alexander deHilster is one of the most talented event designers in the industry. His list of accomplishments, customer accolades and awards spans more than 20 years. In 2011, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by Illinois Meetings & Events Magazine. And, fast forward to September 12, 2018 live at the BizBash Hall of Fame ceremony in Chicago, I was able to catch up with Alexander to ask him about his humble beginnings, favorites design projects, and how it feels to join an elite group of professionals.

In response to what contributed most to his success, he replied “thinking out of the box, coming up with crazy stuff and working with amazing vendors who help me bring my visions alive.” Read the full interview below.

Q. When did you first get started in the events industry? Was it a calling or did it happen by chance?

My first “event” was organizing a 5K run/walk at the age of 15 when I didn’t know that event planning existed. I worked as a volunteer at a youth organization who wanted to host an event to raise money and they needed someone to plan it. Event planning has been a natural fit for me. I’m sure I got it from my parents (well, not the cooking part as I can’t cook, but do love food) as they hosted large parties at our home for 50 or more guests. Each party had a different theme, my dad would cook for days a meal that fit the theme, my mom managed all the logistics, and guests would arrive dressed the part. But, the first real event I planned was 22 years ago when I moved to New Orleans and worked for a DMC, Travel New Orleans.

Q. Of all your events, which one was your favorite or stands out from the rest?

I’m always asked that question and it is hard. It’s like, who is your favorite child, or in my case, which one is your favorite dog. They are all my favorites for different reasons. However, there are three or four that do stand out the most in my long career. And, two were for the same client.

1. A fundraiser at Finkl Steel, a working steel factory. While trucks came through delivering steel and cranes and saws would move the steel and cut them in pieces, we were setting up our event. It took about a week. We built a 30’ volcano out of wood, with build-in screens for projectors and dancers behind them and fireworks coming out of the top. 40’ doors to separate one space from the next space. Hanging sushi buffet stations of ice for cocktails, a never-ending flow of entertainment on a multi-level stage, with a gospel choir, Dave Brubeck and others.

2. Same client, but now at Green Dolphin Street. The club is open each day till 2 am. On a Friday I had moving trucks ready outside till the last guests left. Our event was to be on Saturday night at 7 pm. All tables, chairs and banquets (yes, they needed be unscrewed from the walls), all existing light fixtures and chandeliers removed. The bar was covered with a stage for additional seating, custom chandeliers with florals hanging at the bottom of each chandelier strategically placed above each of the 6-tops and the existing stage covered in white vinyl. The Green Dolphin Street sign covered with a custom sign and the entire building covered in red silk – ala Christo.

3. The Library Club was transformed into a very elegant room with one long dining table seating 60 guests. Over a dozen projectors were used, evenly placed on the left and right side of the room, to project still and moving images onto the curved ceiling. Each projector only showed a portion of the image and all images had to blend together to make it look like one. It took forever to get them all focused correctly. The theme was a culinary journey through France with different imagery for each portion of the night and with each of the 7 courses being served. From full day time, to sun set, champagne cellars for the toast, a display of the windows of the Notre Dame in Paris, lavender fields for the dessert, ceiling covered in roses while “la vie en rose” was performed and a ‘fireworks’ display after the awards program was over.

4. My last one was at the Geraghty and the theme was “Under the Cosmic Sea.” It was a blend of “space” and the bottom of the “sea.” All very organic. Floor to ceiling projections surrounded the entire room, with constantly changing images, a 55’ round and 15’ tall aluminum structure placed in the middle of the room through which guests could walk through, covered in stretch fabric, underneath it hundreds of feet of ropes through which video imagery and lights were sent, over-sized sea anemones and a humongous octopus enveloping the aluminum structure. With the shiny floors and all the tables covered in mirrors, no matter where you were in the room, lights and images were constantly changing and reflected onto every surface. That’s probably my most favorite event.

Q. How does it feel to inducted into the BizBash Hall of Fame?

Amazing. I was speechless when BizBash called me. I don’t like being in the spotlight, unless I’m the one asking for it. I’m the behind the scenes person to make it all happen. Most of my very décor driven events, I’ll stay to the side at the entrance to a room and listen and look at how guests respond to see how well I did.

For more information about BizBash and the Hall of Fame inductees, CLICK HERE. Please join us in congratulating Alexander DeHilster, Event Design Manager with M&IW, and the other honorees for their contributions to our industry.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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Project Global Give Back, Ain’t No Stopping Us Now

Written by: Kristie Rogers | Manager, Recruiting & Training

If you asked me what M&IW’s biggest strength is, my answer would be simple – it’s the hearts of our employees. It is not uncommon for the M&IW family go above and beyond for our client, but they go above and beyond for our communities as well!

In the past, we have worked, as a company, for causes such as Make-A-Wish and Relay for Life. Together, we’ve granted two wishes for children in 2016 and have raised thousands of dollars towards cancer research since 2001.

As we celebrated our 50th anniversary, we brainstormed how we could push the envelope and make our 50th year Global Give Back program one to remember. We created the 50 Years/50 Charities initiative. The company was split into 50 teams based on their global location. Each team ranged from four to eight people and were given the opportunity to choose a charity that was close to their hearts. Some chose national charities, such a Big Brothers Big Sisters. Other teams chose local charities, such as the River Bend Nature Center in Racine, WI and the Chestnut Tree House in Sussex, UK. The teams had an entire year to give back to that charity.

Of course, there was also a bit of friendly competition. Teams were competing to raise the most money for their charity or contribute the most volunteer hours. Some teams raised money for their charity by selling bracelets, raffling off baskets of goodies, holding bake sales, and collecting in-kind donations such as school supplies. Others gave back by volunteering as a team, harvesting vegetables for a food pantry, spending time with underprivileged youth, and walking dogs at their local animal shelter.

When it came time to tally the funds raised and time spent volunteering, I was astonished at the results. Together as a company, M&IW volunteered 1,913 hours and raised $28,630 for charities all over the world! It gave me goosebumps to look at the numbers and think about the difference that our company made in just one year. I am so proud of the passion that M&IW has for giving back! The Fox Cities team, Big Hearts, Little Hands, selected Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley Region and were awarded the 2018 Community Partner Award. “The Meetings & Incentives Worldwide team has been a tremendous blessing throughout the past year. They have volunteered their time at BBBS events, organized a basic needs supply drive in 2017 and a school supply drive for 2018, helped to paint and organize the BBBS Appleton office, and adopted a family in need last holiday season. They barely finish completing one volunteer project before they ask for another. They are a model of philanthropic giving and we are thankful to have them as one of our key partners,” said Lindsay Felon, Executive Director, BBBS.

Our 50 Years/50 Charities drive may have come to an end, but there is no stopping us now! So how do we top that? This year, our focus is on WORLD HUNGER. More than 815 million people, or roughly 1 in 9, suffer from chronic hunger. Even in the United States, 41 million people struggle with hunger.

Our Community:
The first initiative was close to our Global Headquarters in Wisconsin. Our Co-CEO, Jean Johnson, CMP, is helping to start a food pantry in the heart of Racine, WI. At our M&IW Summit, employees were encouraged to donate hygiene items and non-perishable food which were delivered to the food pantry. The shelves will now be stocked when they open later this year. If you are interested in learning more about this give back initiative or supporting the cause, please email marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

The World:
The second initiative was global. We worked with Rise Against Hunger to pack 25,144 meals for children all over the world. That’s right, we put on some stylish hair nets and got to work! It was a really rewarding experience to work as a team to package these meals for those in need. To see our amazing team in action, check out our RISE AGAINST HUNGER video.

We invite you to join us in ending WORLD HUNGER by donating to your local food pantry, starting a food drive at work, volunteering to pack meal,s or make a donation to Rise Against Hunger at www.riseagainsthunger.org.

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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How to be Empowered for Global Travel Safety and Security

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

Sometimes empowerment is about feeling like you are in control in situations which are out of your control. When it comes to global travel safety and security, we all know there are many things that are out of our control. Security is perhaps not the most enjoyable event management topic. But, it is certainly the most important, and one that M&IW takes seriously.

So, what is the best way to take control of situations in which you have very little control over? With managing thousands of events in more than 75 countries, we have seen a fair share of undesirable situations. It is critical to have a plan and be prepared for the unexpected. Recently, we experienced natural disasters such as volcano eruptions in Hawaii to storms in Florida that displaced entire events. In one instance, we had an employee in Costa Rica when a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast, in which we were immediately notified and able to contact them to ensure their safety.

When I asked Samantha Gerke, Manager, Global Group Travel, what M&IW does to make sure our group travelers stay safe, she answered, “We partner with one of the best organizations in the world. M&IW is an expert in travel services and meeting management and versed in emergency preparedness and planning. However, we rely on a WorldAware (formerly known as iJet) to provide a single system of intelligence, communication and assistance services to help mitigate risk and respond when necessary. WorldAware is an excellent tool to have under our belt hear at M&IW. It empowers us to communicate with our employees around the world in a quick and efficient manner in times of threat exposure.”

Because we believe that this is not a topic to keep close to the chest, we thought it prudent to share this valuable information with our community. I had the opportunity to ask George Taylor, VP Global Operations, of WorldAware, a few questions and here is what he had to say:

Q. How do you feel that your service empowers employees and organizations?

A. WorldAware helps organizations operate with confidence by enabling them to protect their people, facilities and brand. The company provides a single ecosystem that unites intelligence, communications and assistance services, so organizations and their people can mitigate the risk posed by emerging threats. WorldAware provides expertise across intelligence categories such as terrorism, geopolitics, environment, transportation and health, along with geographic and regional analysis, providing clients with actionable insights that allow them to make fast, accurate risk mitigation decisions. WorldAware’s Worldcue® solutions deliver real-time dashboard views of threats and their intersect with people, along with two-way communications and location-based alerts. WorldAware’s assistance and response services are available 24/7, ready to answer travel-related questions, support business continuity efforts and coordinate response operations if the need arises. WorldAware’s experts review business continuity plans, conduct training, test crisis management plans, and more. By providing intelligence, communications and assistance within a single, unified ecosystem, WorldAware empowers organizations and their employees to make well-informed, critical decisions to mitigate risk and ensure safety.

Q. What trends are you seeing in the industry?

A. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that nowhere is safe. Enterprises are realizing that threats can occur to anyone at any time. In the past, risk management and security teams tended to focus on the traveler, particularly the traveler headed to a location typically considered high risk. However, recent events have shown us that threats occur even in locations typically thought of as low risk – New York, Las Vegas, London, Brussels, etc. This realization means that enterprises now must think about protecting all of their people, not just their travelers.

The vast majority of enterprises are up for this challenge, they just need expertise and guidance. In fact, some of the world’s largest organizations describe themselves as “paternal” – they want to do the right thing for their employees. Along these lines, the concept of “duty of care” resonates, but risk and security leadership is often quick to point out that it is not a duty or an obligation that drives them, it’s a commitment to doing the right thing. This trend continues to prioritize the need for an integrated risk management policy that covers not just business travel, but all personnel and facilities, both at home and abroad.

Q. We are intrigued by your business. Tell us about more about WorldAware. What is your history and where you are now and where you are going?

A. In 1999, WorldAware became one of the first companies to offer intelligence-driven risk management to the travel industry — a change that ultimately transformed travel and security departments worldwide. WorldAware’s Travel Intelligence® and Worldcue® risk-management software revolutionized corporate and government business travel with the promise of keeping employees safe — not just on time.

We understand that you are faced with many challenges and decisions every day. As the world evolves, we need to stay one step ahead to ensure you appropriate decision support. We subscribe to a process of continuous innovation to drive continuous improvement and value. Trust, speed, security, and innovation can’t happen independently. We are committed to creating value for all of our stakeholders, colleagues, clients, partners, suppliers, and the communities in which we serve.

Our team will be partaking in a mandatory three-hour training hosted by WorldAware at our annual M&IW Summit: Employee Exchange. M&IW puts our client attendees and associates at the center of what we do and WorldAware puts intelligence at the center of what they do. This makes the perfect partnership when it comes to risk mitigation because they prioritize the availability of fast, accurate threat intelligence, and combine that intelligence with state-of-the-art technology and assistance services. The result is that M&IW receives a single, integrated ecosystem from which we can protect our people, clients, passengers and business operations. And, this is more important to us than anything else that we do!

 

 

 

Posted in: Company News, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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How Great Gifting Experiences Elevate Incentives

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

One of the things we are so passionate about at M&IW is creating amazing experiences. We are always on the search for partners who bring the very best and help elevate programs and the incentive experience. Hence, when our Director of Incentives, Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS, thought of the idea of showcasing an incentive gifting experience at our annual M&IW summit, our team didn’t hesitate! M&IW Summit is now just over a week away and we are beyond excited that one of our valued gifting experience partners, Cultivate, is joining us and showcasing a fun, unique and custom gifting experience. We wish we could tell you what it is but it is a surprise! (Stay tuned for a post update after the event to find out or follow us at #miwsummit to see it revealed live next Wednesday, August 8th.)

What we can share with you is how adding a gifting experience to your program makes the program meaningful for guests and partnering with the right partner makes all the difference. We chose Cultivate because they shine at making the process easy for planners with a turnkey service and featuring brands that the attendees and guests love. To dig a bit deeper, we asked the President of Cultivate, Tom Romine, three simple questions to help us showcase how great gifting experiences elevate events and incentive programs.

Tell us about your mission and how your gifting service elevates events and incentive programs?

Our core purpose is to work together to appreciate and inspire amazing people. In other words, we want to make sure those attending an event or who earned that fantastic incentive trip truly feel appreciated. One way we believe this can be accomplished is through gifting. Here’s how. With the right amount of choice on-site (of course guests should be able to select their own gift), to brands guests aspire to own (but wouldn’t necessarily purchase for themselves), to an item(s) they will use frequently – these types of gifts will often remind guests of the program they attended or incentive trip they earned, long after the event concludes.

How do you feel that your gifting service adds value when motivating employees and creating amazing experiences?

When guests arrive at our gift experience, they instantly feel transported to a beautiful boutique where the level of service is top-notch and the atmosphere is fun and inviting. When it comes to gift programs, it’s as much about making memories as it is the gifts given. Yes, we have a second to none brand selection, bold and modern displays, but what we do best is create the experience for everyone in attendance.

How do you feel that your gifting experience empowers employees and organizations?

When the gift experience is memorable and guests return home, we’ve learned they’re often asked by their friends and family, “Hey, where did you get those new sunglasses?” It’s in this moment where they can talk about the hard work they do for a great company, the incentive trip they earned and why they earned it, and how proud they feel to belong to an organization that appreciates and inspires them. Appreciation and inspiration are the cornerstones of empowerment after all!

With the experience economy still in full effect and coupled with the fact that today’s consumer wants everything brought right to their fingertips instantly, either through online shopping, meal and grocery delivery services and the like, today’s incentive experiences need to bring all of these dynamics together to create a great experience. It is becoming more challenging to elevate and WOW the incentive attendee. However, that is where creativity, service and presentation come into play. These are factors that will never go out of style when creating the epic experience!

We are excited to bring our attendees and clients this experience at our M&IW Summit. Stay tuned for an update on the experience! We can’t wait to share it with all of you!

Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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Cvent CONNECT 2018 Recap and Highlights

Written by Dan Tarpey, HMCC | Vice President, Marketing & Sales

Our M&IW team just returned from Cvent CONNECT, one of the most well-attended conferences targeted to event professionals and geared toward user groups and system experts. We experienced essential face-to-face connections with our clients as well as potential clients, gained crucial industry knowledge, and of course, had some fun along the way!

Cvent CONNECT is an opportunity for users of any level to connect, collaborate and learn. Many of the sessions are focused on novices to provide a solid foundation for using the tool successfully. The advanced sessions, however, contain the juice! This is where our team discovers how to optimize, streamline and fine tune processes to get the most out of the platform.

As an organization, we are extremely excited to take all we gained from this event and put it back into the services we provide to our valued clients. Enjoy some of our team highlights.

What’s on the Cvent Horizon?

  • FLEX has a release date of October with full functionality slated for Q1 in 2019.
  • Direct Book Solution and Project Stargate (new Portals and MRF’s) coming in 2019.
  • Certain components of Lanyon will be integrated into Cvent for a better tool.
  • Lastly, 15 core languages are coming to an RFP near you soon!

What does it mean to be Cvent Certified?

M&IW is a Cvent Certified partner and proud to have several individuals with Cvent Event Management Professional Certifications. We are also extremely happy to share that Chip Begley, Sr. Manager, Event Technology, earned his Cvent Management Advanced Certification for Enterprise level users. The test includes everything from the admin functions, best practices for complex registration set ups, event budgets, multi-language events, advanced rules, managing speakers and sessions effectively, discounts, taxes and service fee configuration, travel/hotel modules, onsite features and more.

What is our team is most excited about?

When Kelly Moore, Meetings Management Consultant, was asked what she is most excited about, she replied “my biggest take away is the FLEX project and the general availability of the tool coming up in October. The training camp session allowed for hands-on practice with an excellent moderator/instructor. The tool itself will make things much easier for those people who need to make and manage attendee registration sites and is far less intimidating than the current tool.”

Chip agreed, “embracing the FLEX revolution, which is the latest and most modern version of the Cvent UX. FLEX is an intuitive drag and drop concept that allows you to manipulate and customize the registration experience which is fully responsive and operational on desktop, tablet or phone.  For my team, we’re excited for the opportunity to spend less time coding and more time designing.”

Marte Meighan, Meetings Management Consultant, chimed in “additionally, Cvent is making progress on adding new SMM functionality that will change the way our clients use their MRFs today. Some examples include decision tree logic, multiple levels of sub-questions and sections appearing based on previous questions/answers. This will allow companies who have existing MRFs to re-evaluate and refine their forms. New clients will now be able to create more streamlined and straight forward MRFs from the start.”

What advice would you give to a first-time attendee?

“Choose your sessions wisely, but don’t be overwhelmed by the number of them,” said Kelly. “Whatever you choose, you’ll learn something valuable. If attending with a coworker, divide and conquer to get the most out of the content being offered. And, make time for the Innovation Pavilion to get one on one time with product experts.”

What other trends emerged?

On the key components of the event is the Leadership Summit which was comprised of 285 industry leaders within the meetings and hospitality industry. Lisa Palmeri, our Vice President of Global Enterprise Solutions was in attendance and shared the following four key trends:

  • Personalization (the power of live in a digital world)
  • Experience (to be remembered)
  • Privacy (GDPR, it’s a human right in the EU!)
  • ROI (Cost per attendee going up, all the above costs more money)

From a sales and marketing perspective it is a great show to connect with many of our current clients and potential clients. We have been exhibiting at the event for the past five years and this was certainly the largest in terms of overall attendance. A big thanks to our M&IW team – Lisa, Chip, Marte and Kelly for sharing their expertise and experience.

All in all, the Cvent CONNECT provided a valuable networking opportunity with clients and potential clients as well as a good view into what is on the horizon with the Cvent platform.

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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M&IW’s 50/50 Spotlight – Knockin’ on Hope’s Front Door

Written by Christina Wicklund | Marketing Specialist

I would like to introduce you to one of our ROCKING Chicagoland-based 50 Years 50 Charities teams, Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Hope’s Front Door. The team members are Jess Baaske, Camila Guerrero, Jessica Menzer, Shauna McNaughton and Olivier Chevallier.

Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Hope’s Front Door selected an organization that offers hope to members of the community who are living in “crisis mode.” Hope’s Front Door provides an entry point to social services for members of the community who need immediate assistance and help in setting up continuing day-to-day support. Hope’s Front Door often acts as a “first responder” to people facing financial and/or medical crises. When clients walk through the doors they determine their immediate needs, and help with food, medical, dental and/or transportation vouchers. Hope’s Front Door then provides a clear pathway into a network of social agencies that can assist with the long-term restructuring of their lives.

When asked why Hope’s Front Door was chosen, Jessica Menzer replied “Hope’s Front Door is a small organization. They don’t have a lot of resources or donors, so everything we do makes a huge impact. A donation as small as $47.70 provides a week’s worth of healthy meals for one child!”

Last fall, Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Hope’s Front Door coordinated a football pool during a huge rival Bears vs. Packers game. The timing was planned in conjunction with Hope’s Front Door’s Giving Tuesday fundraiser which were both held in November. As anticipated, Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Hope’s Front Door had a lot of support from family, friends and the M&IW family. They raised $1020.10! The team’s donation was truly appreciated. Below is a message the team received from Janell Robinson, Executive Director of Hopes Front Door.

I wanted to follow-up with you about the Giving Tuesday campaign. With the help of M&IW, we were able to raise $4,568.30 to provide 96 weeks of meals to neighborhood children.  For the last four years, Hope’s Front Door has participated in Giving Tuesday and has not come close to raising the amount donated this year…and this increased funding means a lot to our community. Your support was especially vital in the 2017 as Hope’s Front Door strived to meet the increased community need. We saw a 24% rise in number of new clients needing assistance, especially families. In 2017, we assisted 200 more children than the previous year. Again, thank you for taking part in Giving Tuesday and giving area families a chance to access nutritional food. We hope you will continue to partner with us in our upcoming projects.

To learn more about Hope’s Front Door, or to donate, please visit http://www.hopesfrontdoor.com/.

 

Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications

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What’s Your WORD of Intent?

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Communications

The culture of M&IW is already unique and one to boast about. We are a family and truly act like one. While many of our employees work miles apart virtually we stay very close through our interactions and openness. It is one of the things that truly sets M&IW apart from other orgizations I have worked for. What’s more, our leaders just don’t talk the talk, they walk the walk – every day and out loud.

Hence, when we had the opportunity to all discover our WORD and wear it to share it, we jumped at the chance. What’s more, when we had the chance to extend meaningful interactions and sincerity to our clients we didn’t think twice.

MyIntent is a passion project from founder, Chris Pan. We will have the honor of hearing his whole story at our annual M&IW Summit where they will inspire us and our clients at our Client Connect and motivate and empower our employees at our Employee Exchange.

The project appears to be so simplistic in nature. Choose a word and have in imprinted on a bracelet and wear it every day as a reminder. What’s in a word, anyway? A LOT it turns out. It is about intention, your intention. It is amazing how one word or a simple phrase can have so much impact on you and the interactions you have. With that in mind, we wanted to learn more and share it with our community. I had the opportunity to interview Chris to learn more about his story and the impact of their project. Here’s what he had to say:

Q. What impact do you feel living more intentionally has overall?

A. Living intentionally is about finding your own answers – what important to you and what works for you.  It’s about doing what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. We’re bombarded by advertising and advice on how to be and what we need, leading to anxiety and depression.  It’s so empowering and refreshing to take time to reflect and set our own course.

Q. How it is possible that one word (or phrase) has such an impact on people?

A. Mark Twain famously said “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” The magic of the MyIntent process is that people distill what’s most important down to a single word.  This distillation process transforms their goal into a single WORD reminder. In addition, because “What’s Your WORD?” is open-ended, people get what they need.  Essentially, they are answering something along the lines of BE, HAVE, DO:

– What is a virtue you want more of? (e.g., BE kind)
– What is a challenge you want to overcome? (e.g., HAVE strength)
– What is a passion you want to spend time on? (e.g., DO sing)

Lastly, people’s WORD changes over time depending on what they are going through – it’s always relevant and impactful.  People sometimes set a “word of the year” or may change their word every season or monthly.

Q. What do you hope your project and peoples’ words achieve for them on a daily basis?

A. We often wear a watch on our left wrist to remind of our precious gift of TIME.  A MyIntent bracelet reminds us what to do with that TIME – how we want to grow and serve – which provides us fulfillment.

With so many “notifications” from our apps, the MyIntent bracelet is an “always on and no maintenance (never needs charging)” notification of what’s most important to us.

Q. How does the MyIntent Project help in the business community?

A. Inviting employees or clients to choose a WORD of intent shows that you care about their personal growth and well-being and are concerned with creating deep and meaningful interactions.  For employees, the process deepens interpersonal relationships and transforms the workplace from a sterile factory to an inviting and nurturing place to work.  For clients, it encourages collaboration through empathy and openness. The team building exercise is fun, accessible, affordable, and ultimately drives business results due to deeper connections.

MyIntent serves thousands of companies from yoga studios and youth groups to Fortune 100 as clients.  The group order form enables easy submission of each person’s WORD and they also offer maker kits if you want to make bracelets onsite.

Q. Can you share a story or two about how MyIntent has impacted people, society or organizations?

A. Our bracelet has been there when people are going through trials:

“This bracelet is the only piece of jewelry I begged them to let me wear into surgery. I was worried they would make me cut it off. It says courage and I know it won’t stay on forever. eventually the string will wear down and it will fall off. However, I believe it will fall off as soon as the world thinks I no longer need it. I believe life wanted me to have it for this big surgery and to carry courage into the operating room with me, which I did, like a boss. It was so nice to wake up and look down and see this word staring at me. Cancer requires a certain amount of faith, bravery, hope and courage.”

Our maker program is enabling individuals to bring the project to their local communities – schools, companies, churches, yoga studios, and non-profits!   We’ve also donated hundreds of kits and tens of thousands of bracelets to schools so teachers can share intentionality and mindfulness with students.  Imagine a generation where students are taught to be focused, kind, patient, and of service!

Q. What would you like everyone at M&IW to know about you or MyIntent?

A. MyIntent’s mission is to be a catalyst for meaningful conversation and positive action.  We believe there is purpose inside each of us and want our efforts to encourage people to share more truth and inspiration with each other.  We are not a jewelry company – we are a service project creating intentional wearables as a means to our mission.

Q. How do you feel that people’s words empower them? Do you have any examples?

A. The process of finding your WORD is empowering because you are creating your WORD.  It’s not assigned to you and you are not picking from a few. You decide what is most important to you, what you want to focus on, what you want to remind yourself.  It would be easier for us just to mass produce 10 popular words but it’s nowhere near as empowering as choosing your own.

Because we allow choice, we have had thousands of unique words and continue to get new ones.  Our top 10 popular words represent just a few percent of total!  Our core belief is that our answers lie within.  Some of our empowering words include “I GOT THIS”, “I AM ENOUGH”, “COURAGE” and “STRENGTH”.

 

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M&IW Destination Spotlight – Puglia, Italy

Written by Mary Enke | Creative Lead & Senior Buyer, Incentive Services

The M&IW Global Incentive Services Team recently completed an extremely well-received and successful sales incentive program for a large pharmaceutical company in Puglia, Italy. Our team was so impressed with this unique and emerging destination that we wanted to highlight it for our community.

About Puglia
Relatively untouched by tourism, the beautiful region of Puglia is located in southeastern Italy. This area, the “heel” of the peninsula, is known for its wealth of beaches, olive gardens, orchids, blue sea, friendly locals and long sunny days with an average of 300 sunny days per year.

Some notables about the area include:

  • The area combines culture, leisure, architecture and resort beaches
  • Situated between the Ionian and Adriatic Seas
  • Largely unexplored landscape of unique villages and undiscovered culture
  • Access via two airports: Bari and Brindisi with under an hour transfer via coach

Best Time to Visit: 
The best time to visit is between May and September when the average highs range from 71 – 78 degrees. The area experiences relatively low precipitation all year long with only 2-3 inches per month.

M&IW Recommended Property: 
The Borgo Egnazia which opened in May 2012 is modeled after a traditional Apulian village with its striking architecture and unique, contemporary style. Its central piazza, the Borgo, is the heart of the property. Onsite activities include golf, bicycles, horseback riding, tennis, yoga, spa, beach and water sports.

M&IW Recommended Off-site Activities: 

The area boosts a unique opportunity to experience the Italian way of life and culture. Some of our favorite activities to do just that include:

  • Castellana Grottos Cave Tour
  • Cooking classes with world renowned Italian Chefs
  • San Domenico Golf Club
  • Locorotondo with Olive Oil Tasting
  • Ostuni White City Adventure
  • Ancient Egnazia Ruins Excursion
  • Ancient Matera Adventure – “City of Stones”
  • Castel Del Monte Castle | Winery Lunch
  • Explore Roman Castles and Cathedrals

Looking to take it up a notch? Consider adding another destination to the program for an added experience! Options for Dual Destination Programs include the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Tuscany, and France. Our Global Incentive Services team is happy to assist you with your next destination search or answer any questions you may have about a location. To connect with one of our incentive team experts, please email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com. And, be sure to stay tuned for more Destination Spotlights!

Posted in: Company News, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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A Proven Strategy to Increase Meeting Engagement

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

We have all been there. Attending a daylong meeting or training event in which we know what to typically expect – hours of sitting and listening to presentations. Some may even joke at times that it is “death by PowerPoint.”

According to recent surveys, adult attention spans have shrunk by up to 50% in the last decade. There are varying statistics on the length – everything from 7 seconds to 10 minutes. Despite the actual figure, it is no wonder the meetings industry has been uber-focused on how to increase meeting engagement, especially when presenting from the stage. Couple that statistic with the fact that meeting engagement helps participants not only learn, but also retain the information. And, it is critical for fields such as healthcare or finance professionals that rely on continuing education (CE) credits for their professional licenses.

At M&IW, we are faced with the same opportunity every year at our annual event on ways to deliver an amazing event experience. What’s more, we also push to demonstrate industry-leading meeting engagement techniques with the use of unique presentation formats and cutting-edge technology for our clients throughout our very own and exclusive annual meeting. It is for that very reason, we design the agenda to include different presentation formats, TED-style talks of 20-minute presentations, panel discussions, storytelling and hands-on workshops. Additionally, as a technology-driven organization, we use some of the best event technologies that aid with presentation engagement.

For the past three years, we have used a live meeting engagement and analytics technology. It is an interactive tablet solution that is one of the best in the industry. What makes it so different from other event technologies such as audience polling or audience response systems, you ask? While ARS is great for engagement, and we use it on a regular basis, it is typically for just few minutes or sporadically polling the attendees during a presentation. ARS does increase engagement during that session, but not the entire program. Whereas, second screen technology, EM Array, provided by our partner, Educational Measures takes it to the next level. EM Array is proven to capture audience attention and increase meeting engagement through the entire day by allowing participants to directly interact with the content on the tablet in front of them.

The best part is that the EM-Array analytics that measure and improve the effectiveness of the meeting are top-notch. They illustrate how the technology increases audience engagement 10x more than traditional learning. Furthermore, the analytics can be utilized for continuing education, compliance and reporting. I have personally found this technology to amplify my own experience during our daylong meetings. The fun participant features that keep you engaged includes the ability to ask and answer questions; take notes directly on the presentation slides; participate in surveys, simulations and games; capture and save slides and resources; and rate slides, content and speakers. That is only the beginning, from a meeting stakeholder perspective the features become even more exciting with the ability to engage with surveys, simulations and games; dialogue with live and virtual audiences; capture every click and comment; and compare both live and remote meeting impact.

A while back, we caught up with Ryan Mazon, the Senior Vice President, Business Development at Educational Measures. We asked Ryan to give us a few tips on where to start when implementing a meeting improvement program. He replied, “before chasing meeting greatness, you must first define what exceptional meetings look like to your organization. Start with the end in mind; don’t hold back. What would the most amazing meeting look like? What would impress your audience? How should people feel when they arrive, participate and leave the meeting? What do you want people to say about your meetings and events? Having an end in mind will keep you on a track toward excellence.”

We also asked what types of meeting improvements are occurring because of data analytics? Ryan said, “data is the lifeblood of meeting improvement programs. It can guide to improvement and guard from unnecessary expenditure. To determine what to measure remember that every metric can be tied to a business process. Every business process can be measured. Every business process can be improved based on time savings, cost reduction, resource allocation and innovation acceleration. The values of each component of the meeting will lead to a set of key performance indicators that can be tracked over time.”

Since being introduced to EM-Array several years ago, we have not only incorporated it into our signature event, but also brought it forth to our clients. Many of these clients have said that the use of the technology has increased audience engagement, provided more business intelligence, and delivered ROI for their meetings.

All-in-all at M&IW, we are excited to finally see a technology come along that turned a second screen into an engagement-driving tool. Perhaps it will help audience participants to put away their own second screen and absorb the important messages coming from stage that are designed to help them grow in their professional careers.

For a closer look at the technology, consider joining us for our 2018 M&IW Summit: Client Connect taking place in August. We will once again be partnering with Educational Measures to assist with increasing audience participation and engagement. If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming event or Educational Measures, email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Program Management & Event Design

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M&IW’s 50/50 Spotlight – Red Hot Chili Preppers

Written by Christina Wicklund | Marketing Specialist

Over the past few months, I have had the privilege of covering our 50 Years 50 Charities teams. With each post, I am amazed at the amount of time and effort our teams put into their charities, but most of all, I am awestruck by their passion and empathy toward their causes.

This month we feature our headquarters-based team, the Red Hot Chili Preppers comprised of Kristina Delgado, Samantha Gehrke, Larre Haack, Nick Perez and team captain, Whitney Darling. Their charity of choice is the Hunger Task Force. The Hunger Task Force is Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s only food bank that does not charge for food, delivery or membership.

The Hunger Task Force operates a food bank that provides healthy and nutritious food to a local network of food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and deliver stock boxes to the elderly all free of charge. They also operate a 200+ acre farm that grows fruits and vegetables for the express purpose of feeding the hungry.

When asked why Hunger Task Force, Whitney Darling stated that the “We as a team believe that every person in this community should be able to have access to food especially fresh fruits and vegetables. The Hunger Task Force works to prevent hunger by providing food to people in need today and by promoting social policies to achieve a hunger free community tomorrow.” She continued to say, “the Hunger Task Force also provides education to low income families specifically children. Their Dietitian Educator teaches a unique nutrition education curriculum to 3rd and 4th grade students in local Milwaukee Public Schools. Kids learn about nutrition, healthy eating and how to make healthy recipes. They also teach the kids how to grow their own plants and teach them to cook using fresh ingredients.”

On one of the hottest days in May, the Red-Hot Chili Peppers headed to The Farm. The Farm is a convenient 15-minute drive from our headquarters office and grows more than 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables that support the Hunger Task Force. The team’s goal for that day was to plant seedlings of watermelon into pre-formed rows as a team. With temperatures soaring into the 90⁰ (f) and the sun beating down the Red Hot Chili Preppers grabbed their water bottles, gardening gloves and hit the fields. With a combination of determination and hydration breaks, they were able to accomplish their goal in less than 4 hours!

Since Meetings & Incentives Worldwide kicked off their 50 Years 50 Charities campaign the Red Hot Chili Preppers volunteered almost 100 hours of their time to the cause. Plus, the team also held fundraisers so they will be able to make a monetary donation of several hundred dollars. When I spoke to Whitney Darling about future projects in the works, she replied, “Yes, the Hunger Task Force has many ways to volunteer from building stock boxes, food sorting, working local events, and of course, working The Farm which the team is scheduled for later this month!”

To donate, volunteer or to learn more about the Hunger Task Force, please visit their website Hunger Task Force or call 414.777.0483.

Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications

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