Plotting a course for success

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Plotting a course for success

By Paul Van Deventer | Oct 18, 2021

Last month, during its annual strategic planning retreat, MPI’s International Board of Directors (IBOD) addressed, among many other important topics, what, if any, re-envisioning your association’s mission needs in order to lead the industry and meeting professionals into the future. The discussions during that gathering in San Francisco re-affirmed MPI’s mission and direction, and we’re excited to continue our ambitions in the year ahead.

Serving the current and future needs of our community and the global meeting and event industry remains MPI’s key focus, as we ensure we remain viable as a professional association and achieve our core mission: connect the global meeting and event community to learn, innovate, collaborate and advocate. (In our next issue, you’ll hear from Bonnie Carlson, 2022 MPI IBOD chair, and learn more about her).

Although our community is made up of numerous at-large and niche groups, MPI is not a special interest group—we’re a professional organization here to support the development of individuals in the business events industry. Over the years, people have asked me why MPI doesn’t enlist lobbyists in Washington, D.C., to promote the industry. Short answer: As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we’re not permitted to lobby. However, we can and absolutely do strongly advocate for the value of in-person meetings and events—and we passionately spread awareness about the impact our industry has on society and economics.

Consider for a moment that the global meeting and event industry is a catalyst for innovation, social change and economic development, while contributing more than US$620 billion to GDP and directly employing more than 10 million. We help grow awareness about this and many other facets of our industry. And if there has been one positive side effect of the pandemic, it is the greater appreciation for the human need of gathering face to face, including at meetings and events.

“If there has been one positive side effect of the pandemic, it is the greater appreciation for the human need of gathering face to face, including at meetings and events.”

As we emerge from this most difficult period, it’s more important than ever for us to continue with our mission. We educate inside and outside of the industry, we provide data and resources and we empower the voices of those who advocate and those allowed to lobby.

I’m hesitant to say we’re rounding the COVID-19 corner only because there have been so many surprising developments over the past 18+ months. However, IMEX America, one of our industry’s biggest shows, happening in Las Vegas Nov. 9-11, may act as a proud declaration that the rumors of the death of live events are greatly exaggerated.

On Nov. 8, during Smart Monday—the day before IMEX America officially kicks off—MPI will be on the ground and online doing what we do best: providing industry-leading education for all of those interested in meeting and changing the world. I look forward to seeing many of you there, in-person.

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.