MPI’s WEC Honored as One of the Best Association Meetings by Eventex

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MPI’s WEC Honored as One of the Best Association Meetings by Eventex

By Rich Luna | May 13, 2020

The World Education Congress (WEC), Meeting Professionals International’s signature education event, has been honored as one of the best association meetings in the world for the second year in a row by Eventex.

WEC 2019, which took place in Toronto, received a bronze award in the 10th anniversary edition of the Global Eventex Awards, which celebrate creativity, innovation and effectiveness in events and experiential marketing. The global competition included 444 entries from 39 countries.

This marked the second consecutive year that WEC was recognized by the Eventex awards, and it’s the third major award for an MPI education event.

WEC 2018, which took place in Indianapolis, received a gold award in last year’s Eventex judging, while MPI’s The Netherlands Chapter was awarded Best Conference by Best Events Award (BEA) World for the innovative European Meetings and Events Conference (EMEC) 2019 in The Hague. EMEC is MPI’s signature European event. 

“When we design our conferences, it’s an opportunity to challenge traditional approaches and reinvent ourselves every time.”

“When we design our conferences, it’s an opportunity to challenge traditional approaches and reinvent ourselves every time,” said Annette Gregg, MPI’s senior vice president, experience. “We approach each program with new eyes each year and this pushes us to think differently.

“It is our responsibility to take live engagement to the next level. As the association for meeting and event professionals, we need to test concepts and be transparent about our design choices with our audience. Our goal is to continue to position live events as a powerful business driver leveraging our knowledge of how people learn and engage.”

WEC 2019, which featured the theme “Stop Planning Meetings, Start Designing Shared Experiences,” attracted more than 2,550 attendees to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for a shared experience centered on thought-provoking education from the main stage and intimate breakouts throughout the Social, Leadership, Experiential and Innovation villages located on a massive show floor of innovative open areas.

There was an energy in the conference, partly fueled by a city celebrating the hometown Toronto Raptors, who had won the National Basketball Association championship, but infused by the emotion-charged moments in the general sessions, from Vinh Giang and Jade Simmons to the powerful, personal themes delivered in the Dear World session led by Robert X. Fogarty and Lynetria “Fresh” Johnson. The setting was ideal for education, networking and business exchanges.

WEC Grapevine, Nov. 3-6, 2020: Reunite for Recovery

The MPI team and the host committee and sponsors partnered with other Canadian provinces for the Opening Party to bring a Canadian feel to the event, said Melinda Burdette, director of events for MPI. The Idea Hunter, a corporate entertainment agency, brought additional unique experiences to the conference.

“WEC was an extraordinary time for Toronto and for our hospitality community,” said Andrew Weir, executive vice president of Tourism Toronto and chair of the MPI WEC Host Committee. “The energy generated by the delegates and the strong content, combined with the energy outside with some 2 million people gathered to celebrate the Raptors’ championship, elevated the WEC moment and put real proof to MPI’s focus on ‘creating shared experiences.’

“As chair of the host committee, it was a proud moment to stand on that stage and welcome our friends and peers to Toronto, knowing I represented such a passionate and innovative community.”

As COVID-19 has upended the global economy, Weir said the acknowledgement of WEC’s success aligns with the meeting and event industry’s road to recovery.

“Viewed through the lens of where we are today, our collective experience at WEC last June is even more striking,” he said. “Our industry has rallied and responded, collaborated and coalesced in ways that are truly inspiring. Those shared experiences suddenly seem more valued than ever and it is through the continued collaboration across our industry, the kind that happens at WEC every year, that we will transform and recover.”

“We will continue to push our boundaries and strive to continue to produce award-winning experiences.”

Those sentiments align with the theme, “Reunite for Recovery,” for this year’s WEC Grapevine, which has been moved to Nov. 3-6, in Grapevine, Texas.

MPI, the world’s largest association for event and conference planners, will strive to share what works and what doesn’t with members “so they can leverage our learnings for their own programs,” Gregg said. “Our design teams build in a lot of collaboration opportunities during WEC for participants to come together and solve problems, find new resources and partnerships.”

This year’s event format will combine a robust live experience with a fully virtual conference component. The redesigned onsite experience will feature a unique behind-the-scenes look at producing a large-scale hybrid event. Everyone will be an audience member and gain unique insight into staging, broadcast and messaging elements.

“This will be an immersive experience for the live audience, a completely different approach for WEC,” Gregg said.

Both onsite and virtual participants will have a full educational offering, including shared mainstage presentations, their own concurrent sessions and exclusive interviews. Content will focus on industry insights post-COVID, planning for risk and future business disruptions, business agility and acumen and personal wellness. A global audience will be able to take advantage of translation services to hear the content in their own language.

Gregg added that sponsors and partners will have expanded ways to connect live and online with an expanded audience base and MPI’s signature Hosted Buyer program expanding to include live and online appointments.

The live and virtual components will also apply to entertainment, including offsite opening and closing events throughout the region.

The goal, Gregg emphasized, is to continue to build on the success of previous awarding-winning WEC events.

“The recognition spotlights our overall team effort at providing world-class events for our attendees,” Burdette said. “To be honored two years running is something that we are very proud of, and we look forward to further enhancing the yearly experiences during WEC. The entire city of Toronto really embraced hosting WEC and together we were able to showcase their beautiful city with our events. 

“It is definitely satisfying to be acknowledged with awards for events that I lead. However, it is truly a full MPI team effort and I couldn’t be prouder of leading this team. Thank you to Eventex. We will continue to push our boundaries and strive to continue to produce award-winning experiences.”

Learn more about WEC Grapevine.



Rich Luna

Rich Luna is Director of Publishing for MPI and Editor-in-chief of The Meeting Professional.