A Shot in the Arm

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A Shot in the Arm

By Paul Van Deventer | Feb 1, 2021

As we put 2020 behind us and optimistically look to the future, it is important to reflect on what we accomplished as a community—including the essential work to support our members, our association and our industry.

When the impact of the pandemic permeated our personal and professional lives in March, MPI made two foundational commitments to our community.

1.    Ensure MPI successfully navigates our association through this crisis so we will be here to serve future generations of meeting professionals.

2.    Immediately provide critical resources to our entire business events community—regardless of membership status—to support everyone through this crisis.

To that end, in collaboration with our courageous volunteer leaders, the adoption and execution of a focused crisis-management strategy and the agile and relentless efforts of our staff and partners, I remain humbled that not only did MPI deliver, but we also asserted our compassion and confidence to improve our industry.

We have become our own antidote—we stood each other up and provided an essential “shot in the arm” for all that ailed us.

The following highlights represent countless hours done to support our community and enable MPI to position for recovery.

·      More than 2,200 membership scholarships and grants through the MPI Foundation and our generous partners at IMEX Group.

·      Resources to 40,000 professionals that included reskilling education, career development and mental wellness support.

·      Ninety days of free access to all MPI on-demand webinars and 180 days of free access to MPI Academy live webinars.

·      Four new community websites providing resources for: COVID response, Equality & Justice, Anti-Human Trafficking and personal wellness.

·      Lobbied and advocated for the business events industry, aligning our efforts with industry organizations such as Meetings Mean Business, the U.S. Travel Association and the Events Industry Council to amplify our voice.

·      Worked closely with industry partners to create, standardize and communicate Duty of Care protocols focused on in-person attendee wellness. Then demonstrated the application of those protocols during WEC Grapevine in November, safely hosting more than 600 in-person attendees for four days, with no incidents of COVID traceable back to the event.

We all know that we are not out of the woods yet. We need to remain focused on driving forward our strategic and operational plans, with our top priorities in 2021 remaining the long-term sustainability of MPI and the delivery of the following resources to our community that will support them through this transitional period.

·      Continuing financial support through the MPI Foundation for members facing distress.

·      Expanding the professional development and reskilling resources offered through the MPI Academy.

·      Increasing opportunities to personalize and enrichen your MPI experience by enabling the growth of new MPI Communities and special interest groups.

·      Ensuring an enhanced, more personalized experience for every member and customer by becoming a more data-driven organization.

While, like most of you, I am elated to put 2020 in the rear-view mirror, I also recognize that many positives came out of the crisis. One of the key lessons I learned is the importance of belonging to a community like MPI. In so many ways, we stood tall together while apart, demonstrating the courage, innovation and resilience that are intrinsic to our industry.

We have become our own antidote—we stood each other up and provided an essential “shot in the arm” for all that ailed us.

Stay well—and see you soon!

Paul Van Deventer
MPI President and CEO 
Follow me on Twitter @MPICEOPaul



Paul Van Deventer
Paul Van Deventer
President & Chief Executive Officer at Meeting Professionals International

Paul Van Deventer joined the MPI Global Team in April 2013 as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In this role, he leads the strategic direction of both MPI’s global association and the MPI Foundation, with responsibility for managing its global staff, operating budget, membership programs and community services.