When Meetings Mean Business first postponed Global Meetings Industry Day, a time for advocacy and celebration of the meetings industry, due to COVID-19, Anh Nguyen, CMP, the founder and principal of Spark Event Management Inc., was depressed. She says, “As a small business owner, I’ve had my company for 10 years, and in the space of 10 days, it has been decimated.”
She knew other meeting and event professionals were going through the same thing and wanted to reach out to them after the Alberta government banned all gatherings over 250 people on March 12. “It’s depressing to spend my time on calls about cancellations, and I tweeted out a crazy idea about having the world’s largest online event.” Nguyen, who sits on the board of the Professional Convention Management Association Canada West chapter, hit a nerve with lots of other planners. Within a few days she had received support from several industry associations around the world and even a planner in Africa, so she bought the domain GMIDGoesVirtual and started planning.
The goal of the event is to break the record for the world’s largest video conference, which would require 12,000 people logging in for at least half an hour. The event is tentatively scheduled for April 14, the original GMID date, but since cancelling the event, many organizations including Meetings Mean Business Canada have arranged other events. In the U.S., Meeting Professionals International Academy is hosting 12 hours of online sessions that day. Nguyen says the group has no intention of competing with the U.S. and are in talks to make the events complementary, but she hopes that everyone in the meetings industry can participate. “It’s an idea that resonates with people because I think we all need something positive to focus on right now and it’s as grassroots as it comes; it came from one tweet that people bought into,” she says.
The MPI virtual summit is being produced in partnership with the Events Industry Council and Meeting Professionals International and will be free to everyone, members and nonmembers alike. It runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT on April 14.
More information and updates on the time and date for the record attempt can be found at GMIDGoesVirtual.