Retaining Relevancy at WEC18 Thanks to the MPI Foundation

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Retaining Relevancy at WEC18 Thanks to the MPI Foundation

By Blair Potter | Nov 28, 2018

Mary Cook, CMP (MPI Sacramento/Sierra Nevada Chapter), owner of Alegria Destination & Events in Roseville, Calif., says keeping up with industry trends, retaining relevancy and networking beyond the chapter at international conferences is essential for her as an independent planner. And thanks to an MPI Foundation scholarship, she was able to accomplish all of these goals at the 2018 MPI World Education Congress (WEC) in Indianapolis.

“My takeaways from WEC are far too many to list, however the following are at the top of my list (no particular order) of takeaways that will enhance my skills and benefit my company and clients,” she says. “Experiential education and trade show—the villages were a creative and interactive way to engage conference attendees; so ‘unconference!’ Marketing to customers—‘stay visible,’ to quote David Avrin; YouTube is the No. 2 search engine, which demonstrates the popularity of videos. State of the hotel market—it’s a seller’s market and inventory is low; consider the second- and third-tier cities, as they are welcoming business (good to confirm I am going in the right direction). Indianapolis is an awesome convention city; I have submitted RFPs to Indianapolis in the past, but I’ve never visited. My industry friends of many years are still attending WEC, and there are so many young faces—that’s a good sign for the succession of our industry. And Beth Ziesenis made discovering helpful apps fun!”

Cook says studying and working in the meeting industry has made her a well-rounded, open-minded person.

“I’ve worked with so many types of organizations and multiple levels of the organizational chart, from the banquet staff to the CEOs of major corporations to celebrities,” she says.

Cook says she wouldn't have been able to attend WEC without the MPI Foundation scholarship.

“Thank you MPI for helping an independent stay in business!” she says.

Visit to learn more about MPI Foundation scholarships.


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?).