Q&A: Cannabis to GO WEST with Andrea Cliff of MPI's Greater Edmonton Chapter

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Q&A: Cannabis to GO WEST with Andrea Cliff of MPI's Greater Edmonton Chapter

By Johnalee Johnston | Dec 2, 2019

We spoke with MPI's Greater Edmonton Chapter President Andrea Cliff about the meetings trends in her region—cannabis to event tech. Here's what she had to say.

What new developments are you most excited about for 2020 and why?

The quickening pace of the adoption of facial recognition technologies and how they are being integrated into events. I'm excited to see this utilized and demonstrated here in Edmonton at GO WEST 2020 in January. I can't wait to see what this technology is capable of and how it will be used in events. 

What do you feel was your chapter's biggest accomplishment this year? 

We've had some excellent leadership over the past few years and this is reflected in us winning best performing chapter for two years. But this past year we received an Overall Excellence Award (Overall outstanding performance for chapters who have exceeded performance in all key metrics consistently and shown measurable positive impact on their membership). It's much easier to walk into a leadership position when you've been set up for success by your IPP. (shout out to Arlene Schilke!)

What meetings trends emerged in your neck of the woods this year and what do you think next year's biggest trends will be?

In 2018, recreational cannabis became legal in Canada. This is having an impact on events that I'm not sure we're prepared for. There are a lot of unanswered questions, but I believe we'll see more and more events centered around cannabis and edibles in 2020.

What did you learn or perhaps unlearn this year in terms of professional development that you think would be beneficial to those who are just entering the events industry?

I think if I could only pick one thing I learned that new industry peers should know, it would be from a session at GO WEST in January 2019 presented by Heather Reid. Founder and CEO of Planner Protect. Heather, gave us practical information about contracts that we could take away and use in the office on Monday morning. New and non-titled planners often have no idea what they're signing when they sign on the dotted line. I've seen people out tens of thousands of dollars because of a contract they didn't understand...and they didn't realize it at the time. It's quite scary.

What New Year's resolution should the events industry make for 2020?

Although things like facial recognition excite me, I wouldn't want to lose the human component of meetings and events. We are in an industry that thrives on face-to-face meetings so it's even more important for us to set the example. There's just so much value in being in the same room with industry colleagues. I have met so many MPI members over the years that I only get to see once a year, so I don't want to lose that. The human connection is so important. So I think our resolution should be: To plan and attend more meaningful face-to-face meetings and events in 2020.



Johnalee Johnston
Johnalee Johnston

Johnalee Johnston is a wildly creative and curious disruptor of the status quo and the former digital editor for MPI.