Posts Tagged Benefits

Benefits of Attending IMEX America 2018

conferences, attending, benefits, IMEX, 2018

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

Offering dozens of brilliant speakers, days of fresh ideas and continuous inspiration at 180-plus educational and networking events over four days, IMEX America is a must attend event in the industry. M&IW had a large team of meeting industry professionals within various disciplines attend this year’s event. We couldn’t wait for their return to dive in to discuss their experience, biggest take-aways and how they can use their newfound knowledge to better serve our clients. And, of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t share it with our community.

Here is what our team had to say about IMEX America 2018:

Q. What were your biggest take-aways?

“Networking! It was so great to meet hoteliers that I book business with regularly and meet new friends at different properties/chains.” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“Face to face communication is still and always will be the best way to do business. In this time of increasing efficiencies, email and phone are going to be our primary modes of communication, but it is fundamental to build relationships and live meetings help us to better communicate the needs of our client, as well as sharing our issues, concerns and successes.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“It was amazing to see the respect our partners and colleagues have for our organization. I felt a lot of love for M&IW. It was priceless experiencing the interactions our entire team had with other attendees and suppliers.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. What were the newest trends or hot topics that were widely discussed?

“Busy, busy, busy. All hotels, especially US hotels, expressed that the industry is busier than ever and have very little availability for large programs through 2020. Some hotels could name only one or two weeks in the entire 2020 calendar year where they knew they had availability.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“It was apparent that wellness and self-care are definitely an emerging event trend. There was a dedicated meditation and self-care room that was available during the entire conference. There were two rooms with low lights, essential oils and sound-proofing. One room featured padded mats and pillows. The other room featured quiet stations that allowed for intimate discussions. An amazing moment of calm to escape the event chaos for a moment if needed.” – Sarah Piggott, CMP – Meeting & Tradeshow Specialist, Attendee Registration
“I loved the cool custom-made gifts. They displayed amazing samples at IMEX and were super impressive with the level of customization that we do for our clients.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. What was your favorite moment during the event?

“The concert put on by Marriott! All acts were amazing – but Journey was my favorite!” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“I greatly enjoyed having a special dinner with my host group and learning about hotels in special destinations in Asia and Europe. Several in which I will have a chance to visit in person over the next year.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“Being invited to toast the anniversaries and success with two of our valued partners. It was very cool to be considered a special partner and be valued to be present at those moments.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. How did the event help you grow in your area of expertise?

“This event helped me grow because it allowed me time face-to-face with hotels that I do not see on a regular basis. It gave me time to create a deeper partnership with that hotel/sales manager that will benefit both my client and the hotel. We also were able to brainstorm ways to make the small meetings fit within the hotel as well as work for my client.” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“Making face-to face connections and shaking hands really solidifies many of my partnerships. Now we are able to communicate and work together on a more personal level which makes business that much easier and more effective. We have a better sense of TEAM and partnership.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

“I came home with much more information than I had when I left. It helps to sit down with a hotel and see visuals of the property and how that property could be a potential good fit for my groups. Learning about location of the hotel and what is nearby for groups for offsite events, dinner, and shopping was an added bonus!” – Jennifer Kamps – Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“By meeting face-to-face with so many of our supplier partners and expanding my relationships and connections in the industry, I feel this will directly improve my ability to find good availability and negotiate on behalf of my clients. I also expanded my knowledge of legal issues on Smart Monday and learned about some new destinations.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

In Closing:

M&IW is committed to the professional development and personal enrichment of our team members. The focused nature of learning at a conference gives our team members tools and skills which cannot be taught in-house or online. The recurring theme we hear is the ability to network. There is no direct message, Skype, email or tweet that can rival a face to face meet up. Social media makes it easy for us to stay connected with our current network, but it also hinders branching out and expanding our networks.

As an innovative organization, it is imperative for us to stay on top of emerging trends and positive changes in our industry. So, keep an eye out for our team at other industry-leading events. Upcoming conferences are posted on our homepage. If you want to set up a time to connect with any of our team members attending, email us at

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Key Benefits of Women in Leadership

Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategic Development
Contributor Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications & Creative Services

America hit a milestone in 2016 with 27 women at the helm of the S&P 500 companies and now leading companies in just about all sectors. However, at a mere 5.4%, women still have a long way to go. The meetings and incentives industry is fortunate to have more women in C-level roles and outpaces the S&P 500 average. Annually MeetingsNet recognizes the largest and most influential event management companies in North America. M&IW has earned this designation for eight consecutive years and is one of five companies on the CMI 25 list that is women-owned.

As a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), we believe an organization that values a diverse workforce and makes a commitment to partner with diverse businesses achieves better outcomes. Our clients have told us that the strength, agility, and innovation they see in our products and services continues to draw them to do business with us. Diversity is a critical component in our ability to innovate and adapt in a fast-changing environment. This includes respecting the diversity of perspectives, expertise, experiences, cultures, sexual orientation, race, religion, age and gender. Since we are in a women-dominated field, Anne Zambrano, Manager of Communications and Creatives Services, interviewed our female executives at M&IW to uncover what it means for them to be a woman in leadership.

Jean Johnson, CMP, Chairman, President and CEO, said “I see being a woman in leadership as a responsibility to lead by example; always maintain the highest standards for your career as well as your family; and find the right balance to be successful at both.” It is viewpoints like Jean’s that support the Pew Research Center survey that an overwhelming 78% of women and 62% of men say having more women in top leadership positions in business would improve the quality of life for all women. This is just one of the many benefits, albeit an important one, with the ever-increasing pressure on employees to find the right mix of work/life balance.

But what about in the workplace? How do women leaders impact their company’s productivity and ability to develop employees? According to the same study, it found that most Americans find women to be more compassionate and organized leaders versus men. To that point, Tina Madden, CPA, Partner and CFO, feels it is a privilege to be in a position where she can help young leaders grow in their careers. “I have watched so many talented individuals find their niche and thrive. It is rewarding to see people truly come into their own and succeed,” said Tina.

Lisa Palmeri, VP of Global Enterprise Solutions, echoed Tina by saying, “I see it as my duty to guide and develop emerging leaders. It’s an investment in our industry’s future and advancing the professionalism of the field.” The research bears that women are better at being honest and ethical, providing fair pay and benefits, and mentoring employees. Lisa shares what she has learned and experienced with clients, who may be new to the meeting and event space or haven’t had the breadth of exposure, by showcasing strategies that have worked well in past situations. She feels it is equally important to spare others from the mistakes she has experienced along the way.

Let’s look at this point further. Kris McKinney, CMP, VP of Global Operations said she got her leadership playbook from her mom. “I would say that my mom is the one who blessed me with my planning traits as she had impeccable organizational skills and was a multi-tasking wizard. I often hone in on my nurturing and teaching skills to constantly move our people and processes forward. I can certainly thank her for those attributes, as well.”

But, how does having a women-owned company benefit a service dominated industry, like ours? Jean had some insightful thoughts on the matter and stated, “the service industry is based on intangibles and is emotionally driven. Women have a natural gift of listening and using our emotions as a strength to form meaningful relationships and understand the needs our team members, clients and peers. This is the backbone to any service-oriented company.”

While the pipeline for female leaders has widened, what advice would you give other women to better position themselves for career success? “Whilst leading others, an effective leader is continuously learning and applying new skills, ideas and perspectives themselves. My philosophy on professional development is that one innovates or dies. If I’m not learning something new or trying new things, I don’t feel fulfilled, and even worse, I won’t be equipped to provide continuous improvement opportunities to the teams I lead. Without this type of growth, you lose your competitive edge and risk becoming stale or irrelevant,” said Lisa.

Minority- and women-owned businesses are among the fastest growing sectors of the American economy. According to Glenn Llopis, contributor with Forbes, “diversity management is the key to growth in today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace. Organizations that seek global relevancy must embrace diversity — in how they think, act and innovate.” Tina agrees, “women place a higher emphasis on collaboration, empathy and empowerment. Being diverse and inclusive helps us the most with driving innovation, understanding both employee and customer needs, and casting a wider net to secure the best talent. It is our women-led leadership style at M&IW that will continue to propel our company and this industry forward.”

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