MPI’s World Education Congress 2019 (#wec19) recently wrapped up in Toronto, Canada (home of the NBA Champions, Toronto Raptors #WeTheNorth). While I have not been to WEC in a few years, I felt it was time to go back given it was in my home country. When I went a few years back, I came home from that event disappointed. We all go into these events with expectations, and frankly my expectations were not met or exceeded the last time I set foot at WEC.
Well folks, I’m thrilled to say that #WEC19 FAR EXCEEDED my expectations and goals! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE CONFERENCE!! It was a fantastic show and I experienced some things I’ve never seen at an event. As MPI’s hallmark event, they have a lot to deliver on. Planning a conference for conference planners and suppliers cannot be an easy feat, but the team at MPI did a fantastic job in both impressing its delegates, and imparting ideas that the attendees can use back in the office.
Here are my 7 highlights from #WEC19
- Rendezvous, MPI Foundation Event – So confession time, I do not typically enjoy Rendezvous parties. They are typically held at dark crowded, bars with loud music. Well not this year! I reluctantly went given most of my friends were going, and it was such an unexpected and pleasant surprise! Held at the Toronto Event Centre, the space was decked out TONS of white lounge seating, bright white drapes and chandeliers, and a dance floor. What made this venue so different and special than events past – lots of ROOM! It was one of the most well-attended Rendezvous events, but you had lots of space to sit with friends and not feel crowded. With the white décor, it felt more like a huge bright mansion party than a bar. I loved the décor, it immediately brightened my mood 😊
- The activations – all the receptions and events had incredible activations for us to try and experience. My favourite had to be the dessert presentation at the closing party (held at the incredibly spacious and beautiful Rebel Toronto). Men on bicycles pedalled around ice cream, Drake cookie and maple donut plates were set up under acrobats. Models on rollerskates brought around cotton candy fashioned to their umbrellas. Visually brilliant (and the donuts were to die for!) If you don’t check out the video for anything, watch the video to see this incredible dessert station.
- Vinh Giang – in one word, ENGAGING. A magician by trade, now a master at communication, Vinh had me at “hello” at his keynote address. Now while there are lots of great keynote speakers out there, it was his communication breakout session that really had me. I learned so much about a seemingly fluffy topic!! He received a standing ovation…. At his breakout session! I don’t think I could ever bore of seeing Vinh and I hope to see him again someday (info on how to book Vinh is here).
- The Event Story – here is a uniquely Canadian story about how three MPI chapters came together to reinvent and redesign our notion of an MPI conference. While I had attended The Event in 2018 in Ottawa (my former blog post here), I never heard the “behind the scenes” story. These Rise Award winners were given the stage to share how they brought their vision to life. It was a true celebration of Canadian achievement, and designed shared experiences.
- The Village – The Village was introduced to the MPI WEC format last year, so this was my first time to experience it. Sponsored breakout spaces were set up in the corners of the room, and the rest of the room included not only information from our treasured meeting partners, but also other services including Brand You (help with your social media branding and headshots), information about MPAHT and more.
- The Education – Its been quite some time since I took copious notes and got so much ROI out of almost every session I went to. Some sessions I attended in trepidation thinking “how much can I learn here?” including sessions on social media and contract negotiations (two wheelhouses I like to think I do pretty well at!). Boy was I wrong, and I’m so glad I went!!! Alex Plaxen (Little Bird Told Media) and Heather Reid (Planner Protect), both of you blew me away and my pen and notebook are still warm from all the feverish scribbling. Rock on my friends and keep delivering your messages!
- Inclusivity at meals – In years past, WEC encouraged chapters to sit together at meals with chapter leaders holding big signs up so you can find your tribe when you entered the room. While there are some merits to this format, it can seem somewhat exclusive to those who want to meet new people or not necessarily align themselves with a particular chapter. Now living in a city with no MPI chapter, I was one of these people, and I longed to meet people from any chapter, members and non-members. So this year at #WEC19 – no chapter signs. And guess what? I sat at a new table at each meal and keynote, and met SO MANY INCREDIBLE PEOPLE. People I would not normally have met if I stuck with what I knew. Thank you MPI for making this format the new normal 😊
If you missed #wec19 this year, they have launched registration for next year’s event heading to Grapevine Texas and the beautiful Gaylord Texan. – you can find the registration here.
Leanne’s Note – If you attended the show, you likely have your OWN list of top experiences, and I would like this post to become a discussion board to share YOUR experiences as well, so please comment on this post below to share YOUR experiences.
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