Posts Tagged culture

A Peek at 50 Years of M&IW

50 Year Anniversary for Meetings & Incentives Worldwide

Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications & Creative Services

To kick off the monumental milestone of M&IW’s 50th anniversary year, we thought where better to start than with our amazing and talented team of associates who have made us what we are today! So, we took to the streets (and by streets, we mean email) and asked our seasoned employees, the longest who has been with us just shy of 20 years, what it means to celebrate M&IW’s past? But we didn’t stop there. We also reached out to some of our newest associates regarding what it means for them to inspire M&IW’s future.

When you set off on an exercise such as this, you never know what you are going to learn and uncover. In this case, there were a few themes that became prevalent. First and foremost, was FAMILY. Every employee who reflected on M&IW’s past mentioned the word family. As a 3rd generation company that started 50 years ago and remains privately-owned and operated today, we are a family business. However, what rang out loud and clear is our employees sentiments and feelings for their M&IW family. This concept of family and inclusion is very important and reinforced through our core drivers, especially when it comes to maintaining our culture. “M&IW is a family, one that cares and always has each other’s back. We have empathy for one another. We lend a helping hand instead of pointing fingers. We are authentic, humble, and passionate about our company and our industry. We work hard while having fun.”

Another theme was the rate of GROWTH and EVOLUTION of M&IW over the decades. Our tenured folks reflected on our small and mighty team before the advent of technology. What we lacked in size in the early days, we certainly made up for in service. It always was and continues to be about dedication, integrity and an unwavering commitment to our customers. Our newer employees talked about how impressed they are with our FLEXIBLE and INNOVATIVE MINDSET. They believe they are able to perform at their best and see a bright future with M&IW.

We invite you to join us for our yearlong celebration! And to begin, it is an honor for us to open our doors so you can hear from our employees firsthand what it means for them to celebrate our past and inspire our future. We’d love for you to join in the conversation, visit us on Facebook, Twitter #M&IWis50 or email your thoughts to marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

Celebrate our Past

“Being part of the family here at M&IW for almost 20 years, it is with huge admiration that I look at how we have grown and continued to serve our clients to the same extreme level. Over these years, our leadership has kept focus on “their” core values. They show us every day, that passion and flexibility is what makes us great at what we do, for both our customer and employees. One of the many, many proud moments I have felt was when we opened our office overseas and filled those roles with talented individuals who still had the ‘Midwest’ hospitality in their blood.” – Shauna, Global Account Director

“When I think of the past I can’t help but be sentimental. When I first started working at M&IW, my daughters ages were 2 ½ and 5 years old. They’re now 17 & 20. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to work full-time as I had to leave early every day to drop off and pick up my daughter from Kindergarten. I’ll always be grateful for the way M&IW put family first – theirs and ours. That is the reason among many others for my longevity with M&IW. The company has evolved from having all staff meetings on the landing at the office to now having “Campus Week” that brings together employees for 3 days of offsite for training, collaboration and having fun with colleagues. I think it’s amazing and special that M&IW is truly a family business that still focuses on all our employees’ well-being. I am thankful for 15 years of warmth, friendship and support and proud to be celebrating M&IW’s 50th Anniversary.” – Susan, Sr. Coordinator, Group Travel

“Since starting here at M&IW in January 2000, I have had so many memories both personal and professional. I remember my first day here as a Data Service Agent, over at the old building, not having a desk “quite yet” and remembering that “Y2K” really wasn’t going to freak out the computer systems with the change to “2000”. We were a much smaller group then, about 40 or so employees. You certainly got to know everyone and worked in a family atmosphere with a building that looked like a house. It was then I knew I’d be here a while. It’s amazing to me as being the longest standing (and probably oldest) Coordinator in M&IW history that I have seen this evolution not only in one department, but company-wide. To see us grow and become paperless, virtual, more efficient, handle many more clients and be just smarter all around is what really makes me proud. I am so blessed to be a part of the M&IW family and working for Jean and Tina. They have supported my decision to remain a Coordinator while I raise my kids; to go from full-time to part-time back to full-time again; and even gave me their blessing to take a year off to care for my 18-month old daughter. I have counted my blessings every day for the past 17 years and hope that I have done as much good for them and the company as they have done for me.” – Beth, Meeting & Tradeshow Specialist, Attendee Registration

“It has been great to work for a company that started small and have been able to watch it grow to more than 250 associates today. The technology has changed so much!!! We went from sending paper tickets and itineraries to each attendee to nearly EVERYTHING being sent electronically. Huge time and money saver for both M&IW and clients. This company is a “family” and I am glad to be a part of it. I wish for another 50 years of success and growth!” – Jodi, Express Travel Manager, Global Travel

“There have been so many changes since I began at M&IW in June of 1998. I love the fact that when I started, right away I could feel that it was a fun and family atmosphere. I think celebrating the past is to remember where it all began. It’s nice having memories, such as the days before email where we pretty much did everything by fax and phone calls even receiving hundreds of registration forms that were handwritten on paper by the attendees. Almost half my life has been with M&IW. I got married and had my daughter, moved out of the area and all the while receiving great support from the M&IW family. I think M&IW really started to soar when Jean and Tina took over the reins and became a woman-owned company. They definitely had a vision!” – Denise, Express Travel Manager, Global Travel

“It’s been crazy to see the company grow and all of the new employees and business that we’ve taken on since 1999. I remember when the entire company was in one building, then expanded to both buildings on campus, then the Lincolnshire office, to virtual remote offices, and now all over the world. It’s surreal that I’ve been here that long to be able to have seen it all take place. The best was meeting my wife and being able to start a family together; but, also that I’ve made lifelong friends at M&IW. M&IW says it’s a family company and it really is – we been through tough times, great times, and just the everyday ins and outs – we are all family here. And, that is the best part of being at M&IW.”- Nick, Manager, Accounts Receivable & Payable

“There are 19 years of memories to reflect on which makes it tough to pick just one or two! I started here when it was just M&I (no W yet) and in the one building with maybe 25-30 employees in the whole company. What simply amazes me is that M&I was started 50 years ago with family and it continues to treat all of the employees as part of that family.” – Joan, Sr. Coordinator, Group Travel

Inspire our future

“As a new addition to the M&IW family, I must say this organization is a dream come true! I appreciate the fact that each person has their own unique skills and we all play a vital role in making each meeting or event, a memorable and special moment for all who attend. Needless to say, I am excited to continue on this adventure with my new family.” – Amanda, Registration Project Manager

“It is a rarity to be part of a company that has so much positive energy within its employees from upper management and throughout its workforce forming a cohesive bond for the greater good of those in the company who strive for excellence and the overall maintenance of our business. In only my first few months, I am excited about the potential of showcasing our talents, leadership skills and vast knowledge and resources to our clients, vendor partners and future business so that they can see and utilize new opportunities. I am intrigued with the possibilities and growth potential that there may be for my career at M&IW to learn, develop new skills and add value by helping to retain and grow our business.” – Eric, Sr. Program Manager

“It is so exciting to be a part of an organization with such rapid growth. Since I have been here, I have found that M&IW is very client focused and is willing to adapt however necessary to meet the needs of their clients. I believe being flexible and open to change is very important within an organization as this really allows everyone to be the best and clients can see this. When organizations host meetings, it is sometimes the only time that all employees are together. I believe when you get people together it gives the organization a chance to really innovate and grow. Being a part of this process for other companies is very exciting!” – Becky, Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“I hope to inspire M&IW’s future by growing and enhancing the incentive side of the business. I’m impressed by the processes that are in place and the onboarding has been first class. It really shows the company’s dedication to its employees and I’m excited to be a part of this great company.” – Jennifer, Incentive Marketing and Communications Specialist

“It’s a great feeling knowing that I can help inspire M&IW’s future. I’ve already seen the result of things that I’ve worked on come to fruition so it’s exciting to see my recommendations become implemented. I love how M&IW is truly a team atmosphere, everyone works together for a common goal and helps one another achieve success in whatever they do.” – Neema, Sr. Buyer, Incentive Services

“Putting people first and enabling others to be successful is inspiring to me. As I was considering M&IW for the next step in my career, I was told over and over how M&IW puts people first – clients, partners, suppliers, employees. In today’s day and age, so many companies promote they put people first, but few follow through. I keep waiting for the shoe to drop – for the harsh reality of the business world and self-preservation to take over – but I haven’t seen a crack in M&IW’s commitment to put people first. It’s easy to see that putting people first isn’t new to M&IW, it’s a culture that took root in the past and is the foundation of the future.” – Andi, Strategic Account Manager

“When I think of my career at M&IW, I think of a journey filled with constant innovation, and surrounded by great leadership and co-workers that feel like family. It’s exactly what motivated me to choose this company and I am so happy I did! It is incredibly empowering to work for an organization that focuses equally on their customers and the development of their employees. For me personally, inspiring M&IW’s future means that I will have the opportunity to be part of these revolutionary efforts through collaboration, teamwork, technology, and education. – Tamara, Coordinator, Attendee Registration

Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications

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Collaboration Rocks

Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications and Creative Services

So you think you know how to collaborate and “work well together”? Maybe.

Or maybe, you are all just cooperating…

You see, “If you aren’t aligned, you are not collaborating, you are simply cooperating.”

Take a rock band for instance. If the band is not in harmony playing as one, the music suffers and the entire experience is a flop. In fact, a lot more can be learned about collaboration from the rock star analogy because collaboration ROCKS, literally.

At our recent annual meeting, Campus Week 2016, our experience with Banding People Together made collaboration ROCK. These behaviorist rock stars truly understand how to immerse the participants in an experience that teaches them true collaboration and has them leaving the event with a better understanding of themselves, those around them and how to be a little less Gaga and a bit more Jimmy when needed.

Let me explain…

Banding People Together is out to change the way we conduct our events and they are doing so in a fun and unique way. Using their dynamic rock star personalities, musical talents and proven methodology on collaboration, they focus on organizational alignment and awareness. They are taking what they have learned from what is arguably the most volatile collaborative environment – rock bands and entertainment – and are bringing it to the corporate world through meetings and events. You see they believe, true collaboration is a skill that can be taught, developed, shared and measured. And after what we experienced, I believe they are spot on.

So, what are some of the great takeaways?

First, it’s all about the experience. Having a rock band on stage instead of a presenter flipping through presentation slides talking at the audience is way cooler to say the least. What’s more, it is more experiential, meaning the participants will retain the material and experience the content firsthand. Music affects us in ways our conscious mind can’t even begin to understand. Think of THAT song, the one that whenever you hear it, you are brought back to an EXACT moment in time instantly. Exactly.

Rock stars are cool. Strategist rock stars are cooler. I am likely speaking for everyone in the room when I say it was enthralling to be around such amazing talent on stage. The artists of Banding People Together were uber-talented, yet what was more impressive was their ability to use music and entertainment analogies in an intelligent way to create an awareness and understanding among the attendees. Breaking down the group by rock star personas based on several work styles was far more effective and easier to understand than any other personality assessment I have experienced. When I now tell my co-workers to please excuse my direct manner because I am a “Frank,” it makes a lot more sense to them versus explaining that my MBTI type is ENTP.

Easy to understand equals easy to use. It has been fascinating to me in the week following our experience with Banding People Together how many times I have heard the phrases, “It must be the Gaga in me” or “I am all Jimmy today.” This may seem silly, but in reality it is really changing our culture and collaborative efforts for the better by bringing awareness into the group with the use of these simple phrases. At M&IW, we already had an amazingly collaborative culture, but now, there is a level of understanding and alignment that was not present before. It is making conversations more fluid and productive and changing how everyone shows up to the task at hand.

Collaborative insanity hinders productivity. Simply telling people to work well together or simply uttering the words, “we work well together,” without practicing true collaboration is doing more harm than good. The five dysfunctions of a team, as defined by Patrick Lencioni, are the absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. You may think or want to believe your team “works well together,” but what dysfunctions are present and how are you addressing them? Teaching your team to be truly collaborative is a step in the right direction and doing so in a manner that is extremely effective is invaluable.

True collaboration can change the world. There is one thing Alan Schaefer, Founder/CEO of Banding People Together, said in my first encounter with him that really stands out in my mind. He said, “the work we do is our way of impacting humanity in a whole different way. If we can change the workplace for the better, then we can change the family dinner table for the better which impacts families, impacts communities and the world.” Wow! What an amazing thought. It is very true. We spend 90,000 hours at work on average over our lifetime, and a large percentage of workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. More than 13 million working days are lost every year because of stress-related illnesses. Imagine the impact this is having on our families and our communities. What if we all liked our jobs just a bit more and found a little less stress in them every day if we simply learned how to truly collaborate with each other. Maybe it is time to learn how to show up to the table aligned and aware? It really could change the world.

All in all, our experience with Banding People Together rocked. We look forward to partnering with them to change the world…or at least meetings as we know them today.

As Banding People Together would say…

ROCK ON!

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Program Management & Event Design

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