I’m just back from The Event, a succinctly named initiative of the Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal chapters of MPI (Meeting Professionals International). The conference was held in conjunction with GMID (Global Meetings Industry Day) so was also supported by other meetings industry associations including, CSAE, PCMA and CANSPEP.
The theme was: Collaborate with Industry Peers, Cultivate New Ideas and Elevate Your Expertise. To use the words of Montreal Conference Chair Marie-France Watson, “it was represented in a very meta way throughout The Event.” Many of the break-out sessions were creative experiences branded by different destinations and the peer-to-peer “brain dates” offered a cool new way to network with purpose.
Our collaboration was on the main stage. On day one, for GMID, we helped punch up the serious topic of cyber security with the larger-than-life stories and intel from security expert and veteran crime-stopper Chris Mathers. Chris learned about crime working as an undercover operative for the RCMP for 20 years. He then went on to become President of KPMG Corporate Intelligence Inc. and today runs his own consulting firm—investigating and preventing criminal activity (which these days is almost all web-based). Seems the internet is providing the same convenience to criminals and as it does to you and me! Chris Mathers served as keynote and panel moderator, which he can do in both languages.
On day two, we had the opportunity to showcase Sebastien Sasseville and the unique and engaging way he approaches his conference emcee duties. Sebastien is an endurance athlete who, despite living with type 1 diabetes and having always “sucked at sports”, managed to run across Canada as a fundraiser for diabetes; summited Mount Everest and completed a race across the Sahara Desert. He is a gifted storyteller and what is unique about his style is that he really listens and becomes a part of the conference team, using his experiences and adventures to tell your stories, to support the theme, and to drive home key messages.
On day three, we provided another highly energetic presenter and “all in” speaker for the closing keynote. Shawn Kanungo took it upon himself to attend the whole conference so he could adjust his comments according to the content of other speakers and really connect with attendees. He even included photos from the event in his presentation! Shawn offers an exploration of technology-driven innovation and disruption that is fast paced and engaging. Using family anecdotes in addition to many different business examples, he addresses the audience in an authentic way: as professionals navigating our careers and leading our teams, but also as individuals living a life and navigating all the aspects of that in the midst of exponential change.
So, wow—bravo, and thank you to everyone involved in The Event.