I have many, many things to say about MPI’s World Education Congress, held July 23-27 in sunny (and really hot) Orlando, FL. The good, the bad and the so-so, but I have been struggling to get the message down. I did take lots of notes, with my trusty notebook and gel roller pen as well as on my laptop. I daresay to the disgruntlement of some session attendees, who did not appreciate my fingers clicking away on the keys. It’s nearly impossible to be a quiet typist with these nails! I even participated in an #Eventprofs Chat about #WEC11. But still I struggle to get it all down in some coherent order. I’m going to start with a run down of the events I attended (two parts) and take it one day at a time.
Good grief, could they pack any more sessions, meetings, events, downloads, uploads, networking, etc, into my day? Hardly had time to make a wardrobe change at the end of the day! You know you HAVE to make a wardrobe change prior to the evening festivities. Or is that just me? Well, that’s what I pack a 50 pound bag for! And not to mention the shoes…
At least this year my flight showed up and I made it to town in time for the opening reception.
Oh, opening reception…you let me down. We are herded onto a bus, then herded through Epcot, then herded into a building called the Seas. Everything is fine at first, but then more and more people come into the room. I start to get claustrophobic (I’m short, I can’t see my way thru the crowd) – panic sets in. Little did I know, and I’m not the only one, there were two other buildings for us to explore. I’m not sure how I missed this…I wasn’t told, it wasn’t in my paperwork, there wasn’t a sign that I could see. My Thought: I think as Shuttles are arriving, drop offs (and herding) should have been divided into threes. So that an even number of people were led into each location. Did MPI attempt to do this, and fail? Unknown.
I escape the madness of the Sea to find a friend of mine who was in “The Land” – which upon arriving, was filled with about 20 people. Where was everyone? Then we traveled to another, Imagination – with even less. Okay, grab a drink and off to the fireworks. That was so-so, I mean fireworks, you’ve seen one – you’ve seen them all. I must have heard “Not up to Disney Standards” at least dozen times.
Oh, by the way, did anyone else feel odd about eating fish, in front of the fish?
Day 2 – Sunday
It’s Sunday (at least I think it is, it’s hard to know sometimes).
Best part of the day, General Session with Simon – and understanding the “Why”. You can read about my thoughts on this HERE. I enjoyed Simon’s insights, although he WAS wearing jeans, which I guess are frowned upon when attendees wear them. But, okay – I wore flip flops. So there.
Off to the Rise Awards Luncheon – Boy do I feel inadequate. I love to volunteer, but wow, this year’s winners really showed me what it means to VOLUNTEER! I was especially impressed with Courtney Stanley, who won the award for Young Professional Achievement. In all seriousness, congratulations to her. I wish I knew exactly what I wanted in college and had been that driven. I’m always impressed by students who just know themselves so well, and find that one thing that really motivates them; drives them to a goal. It’s amazing. She will make a GREAT leader in the MPI community! And after closing her “thank you” speech stating she needs a job, she’ll now be hard pressed to decide which company to work for – I can only imagine the number of offers that will come her way now!
Blitz – This was a great way to showcase the “exhibitors”. I loved the set up! Walking up and down the convention center with suppliers along the perimeter – perfect for me. Fun food, fun drinks, fun people. Even penguins, an alligator, and a sloth? Although, it did get a little tight and I had to escape the crowd of people around the Keno game.
The Big Deal – Let’s play some poker! Caesars Entertainment, Hilton Worldwide and Encore Productions did a great job setting this event up. Loved the Hilton VIP Tent, the live music, and oh yeah – the poker tournament!
Poker isn’t my thing, for some reason I’m just not good at adding up to 21 under pressure. Okay, correction. Just realized how little I know about cards, Blackjack is about counting to 21!
What was this tournament all about? The MPI Foundation of course!
The odds are stacked in favor of the meetings and events industry since all proceeds from The Big Deal go to fund scholarships and grants. Even our very own MPI NENY Past President, Doug McPhee, CMP, CMM got in on the action!
The winner? Congratulations to Eli Gorin, CMP, (pictured center) vice president of global client relations for ABTS Convention Services, for winning The Big Deal at the Hilton Orlando, presented by the MPI Foundation. Gorin earned a $10,000 seat at the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2012. Greg VanDyke of PSAV finished second in the tournament, with Nick Topitzes of PC Nametag finishing third. (Source: WEC Onsite Magazine)