Embrace, engage, thrive: The in-person return of the EVENT in Canada

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Embrace, engage, thrive: The in-person return of the EVENT in Canada

By Blair Potter | May 16, 2022

The EVENT debuted in 2018. The goal of the hosts—the MPI Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal/Québec chapters—was to challenge the traditional conference format. Following successful in-person gatherings in 2018 and 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic led to cancellation of the EVENT in 2020 and a virtual iteration in 2021.

But last month, nearly 250 meeting professionals convened at the Pan Pacific Toronto Hotel for the triumphant return of an in-person the EVENT, which featured 35 speakers, attendees from nine of the 10 Canadian provinces (as well as the U.S. and U.K.), 24 sessions, eight clock hours and an opening reception.

“The overall feeling was that the timing was right for a much-needed and anticipated in-person event,” says Marie-Chantal Thibault (MPI Montréal/Québec Chapter), who co-chaired the EVENT alongside Angelita Aboukassam (MPI Ottawa Chapter) and Geoff Mak (MPI Toronto Chapter).

the-event-pic2Thibault says the three-chapter reach offers an opportunity to network and connect with industry partners that would otherwise not be possible for all.

“The unique learning experiences the EVENT aims at creating every year incorporate the perfect balance of professional education and interactive learning,” she says. “Creative activations from sponsors such as a wellness lounge, salsa dancing, culinary experiences in foodery and a light-show interactive photo booth ensure participants are enthusiastic and engaged throughout the entire event.”

Thibault says new this year at the EVENT were social networking experiences such as the Un-lobby free night gathering and interactive life-size technology games. The planners also went away from a traditional master of ceremonies.

“[This was] a wanted change from this year’s co-chairs, who had a shared vision to co-emcee alongside the EVENT co-creators Marie-France Watson, Tim Whalen and Ryan Young by carrying out the 2022 theme, ‘Embrace - Engage - Thrive,’ throughout the event with some reflections on how the EVENT came to be,” she says.

The EVENT. Watch a video recap, courtesy AV-Canada.

Highlights from the EVENT 2022, according to Thibault, included the following.

·      “The three main keynotes were strategically selected to each talk of this year’s theme: ‘Embrace - Engage - Thrive.’”

·      “Health breaks throughout the event, including a PUIMP IT UP SESH before the last keynote—the entire room was on their feet!”

·      “The removal of the word ‘panel’ and introducing new discussion titles like ‘Campfire Side Chat,’ ‘Fishbowl,’ ‘Solution Room’ and ‘Two Topic Talk.’”

·      “DEI topics such as an Indigenous medicine bag workshop with focused education on reconciliation and considerations on gender inclusion/diversity at events.

“As we prepare to crunch out the ‘factual’ measure of success, we are currently proud of the record [amount] of bilingual engagement on our four social media platforms leading up to the EVENT and onsite,” Thibault says. “The enthusiastic feedback onsite and continuous messages we are still receiving have been outstanding.”

What people are saying about the EVENT:

“Amazing education, content and speakers were well thought out and I really enjoyed the sessions I attended”

“I absolutely LOVED being in the foodery and the exposure and traffic I got was outstanding....you can count on our attendance next year!"

“It was so great to see everyone. The sessions were amazing, and I loved the ‘vibe’ of the past three days! Such an inspiring time and I am so happy I went”

“The whole event was engaging and impactful.”

Photos courtesy Pinpoint National Photography.



Blair Potter
Blair Potter

Blair Potter is managing editor for The Meeting Professional. He likes toys and collects cats (or is it the other way around?).