Q&A: Redefining F&B Expectations with MPI's Washington State Chapter

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Q&A: Redefining F&B Expectations with MPI's Washington State Chapter

By Johnalee Johnston | Jan 24, 2020

We spoke with Darcy Gabriele of MPI's Washington State Chapter about the biggest event trend her region is seeing, the biggest social issue and the event she is hoping will make the biggest splash. Here's what she had to say.

What current social issue is most relevant or of concern to your chapter or destination and why?

The Washington State Chapter is particularly passionate about fighting and ending human trafficking. We were the 1st MPI Chapter to sign the Trafficking Child Protection Code of conduct (The Code), and the 3rd to sign from the city of Seattle. 

Is your chapter actively involved in helping to solve or bring awareness to this issue or activism in general? Any local partnerships to this regard?

In the Summer of 2019, we dedicated an entire program to the topic of how people in the meetings and hospitality industry can do their part to end human trafficking, led by Diane Hawkins, SPHR, SHRM-SCP. As part of that program, learner outcomes included how to recognize the signs for human trafficking; what steps to take if you see something unusual; and how your company and community help.

One member of our board, PK Keiran, is in the process of taking various human trafficking-related training programs through Stanford University, WA State Task Forces, and National human rights associations. PK was also selected to serve on the new MPI Anti-Human Trafficking Committee.  

What is the biggest event trend you are seeing this year?

A big trend affecting the events industry is people electing not to drink alcohol. In the past, it's been an easy default to provide alcoholic beverages at events, but we're hearing from an increasing number of people wanting better non-alcoholic options. As a result, our events have incorporated fancy mocktails, to still show off the creativity of the caterer, while giving people a more exciting non-alcoholic option than just soda or water.

What event or project organized by your chapter are you most looking forward to and why? 

Cascadia Educational Conference. We put on a joint regional conference each year with the Oregon Chapter. This year is in Bend, Oregon, and has an incredible list of speakers and content lined up!

Are there any misconceptions about your destination that you'd like to clear up?

It doesn't actually rain that often here. It may be a bit cloudy in the winter, but usually not too rainy. And, our summers are glorious- perfect for boating on the water, enjoying oysters on a rooftop patio, and walking around our beautiful markets and parks.



Johnalee Johnston
Johnalee Johnston

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