Incoming MPI Chairman of the Board Kevin Kirby, principal, Kirby Consulting Group LLC, exhorted the crowd at the opening general session to really own their experience at WEC14.
Physician and author Deepak Chopra got a standing ovation for his opening-day keynote on how the environment is an extension of the human body. Both, he said, are processes that are continuously undergoing change. He also introduced the audience to the new Stay Well Meetings concept that is scheduled to debut at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on August 18. The conference space at the hotel, an extension of wellness real estate company Delos' Stay Well hotel rooms, and corporate and residential spaces, is designed to "create internal and external environments that help us self-regulate," Chopra told the crowd. The Stay Well Meetings area will feature elements including air purification, circadian lighting, chromatherapy, aromatherapy, ergonomic furniture, hydration stations, and healthy menus. Chopra is on the Delos Advisory Board.
MPI President and CEO Paul Van Deventer (right) thanked Immediate Past Chairman Michael Dominguez, senior vice president of sales with MGM Resorts International, for all his hard work over the past year.
The puppy-cuddling area in the MarketSquare was one of the more popular stops, as attendees socialized with therapy dogs who specialized in looking adorable and snuggling.
Among those unable to resist the therapy dogs' charms was Richard Allchild, sales executive, Regent Exhibitions Ltd.—IMEX Group
Catherine DosSantos, CMP, CMM, senior director, account management, with Maritz Travel Co., speaking up at the Chapter Leaders Forum on Saturday.
Miguel Neves, senior online community manager with Regent Exhibitions Ltd.—IMEX Group, leading the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum day-long workshop, part of a year-round program for students studying meetings and conventions, tourism, or hospitality.
E. Antwone Stigall, senior event manager, events with EAS, was among the students soaking up learning at the Future Leaders Forum.
This year's IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leader Forum participants
MPI's WEC officially kicked off with an outdoor reception by the banks of the Mississippi at the Mill City Museum. Attendees enjoyed all sorts of unusual taste treats (think chocolate-covered bacon) as well as more down-to-earth fare, along with eclectic entertainment and beautiful views of the river.
Crystal Butter (left) and Saronna Maldonado, both with Sport Clips Inc., enjoying the view at the opening evening reception.
Tech expert Corbin Ball, Corbin Ball Associates, getting into the game of group Pong. For the activity, everyone used a small device, provided by SwarmWorks, to send optical signals to a screen on stage. The crowd was divided in two, with each side of the room competing in a game of soccer Pong.
During the SwarmWorks game of Pong, the winning side was the one that could flip their sensors quickly enough to move their paddle to where the ball would be, a feat of group coordination that worked amazingly well.
Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, who actually hired Steve Jobs of Apple fame, led a Campfire session called "Finding the Next Steve Jobs," where he explained how participants could translate his signature corporate culture to their organizations.
The Big Deal fundraiser was popular with attendees who wanted to have some fun while raising money for fellow MPI members and the event industry as a whole.
Lyndi Smith, CMP, senior account executive, BBC Destination Management, getting in on a good deal at The Big Deal fundraiser in the Hilton Minneapolis Grand Ballroom.
Shawna Suckow, CMP, founder and president of the Senior Planners Industry Network, was the big winner at The Big Deal, a fundraiser for the MPI Foundation. With her is the Foundation's Chairman of the Board Gus Vonderheide, vice president of global sales-Americas, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
MPI's COO Cindy D'Aoust (center, wearing tan slacks) posing with some of the 2014 MPI hosted buyers. At a press conference that kicked off the meeting, MPI announced that there were a total of 270 hosted buyers who met with 150 suppliers over the course of the congress.
The MPI Foundation's signature event, Rendezvous, was filled with live music, dancing, nibbles, and networking. The funds raised from Rendezvous ticket sales are used to provide grants and scholarships for MPI members.
Warren Berger, author of "A More Beautiful Question" (left), and Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple Computer, took to the stage to discuss innovation, creativity, and being on "Dancing with the Stars," during the WEC 2015 San Francisco Preview Luncheon.
GIlbert VIllard, convention sales manager, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (left), with Richard Allchild, sales executive, Regent Exhibitions Ltd.—IMEX Group, at the European reception.
Julie Nack Locke, CMP, associate New England regional vice president, HelmsBriscoe (left), with Lindsey Scenti, sales manager, Starwood Hotels Boston metro market, at the "Great Outdoors, Minneapolis Style" final evening reception. On the agenda were baseball, brew pubs, lawn games, rooftop and sidewalk dining, and classical and rock music.
Enjoying the closing night celebration: Jaime Theresa Smith, CMP, national business development, Bartha (left), and Natalie Ennis, senior sales manager, The Kalahari Resorts and Conventions