The WEC Vegas Digital Experience: Day 1

Blog > Industry News

The WEC Vegas Digital Experience: Day 1

By Michael Pinchera | Jun 15, 2021

Although there are bright spots worldwide that are reopening and feeling some degree of reprieve from the pandemic, many industry professionals—especially outside of the U.S.—are still experiencing various forms of lockdown and travel restrictions. Because of that as well as the increasing acceptance of virtual/hybrid experiences—when in-person isn’t an option for whatever reason—MPI’s World Education Congress (WEC) has once again gone live with a robust Digital Experience offering exclusive content and streaming access to General Sessions (and more) for remote attendees.

Jpro screen

The WEC Today Show kicked off my Digital Experience at noon Tuesday, connecting via Freeman’s OnlineEvent Pro platform, broadcasting from the Hyatt Hotels Studio Powered by Freeman at CAESARS FORUM. MPI Academy Director Jessie States took users through some of the planned highlights as well as platform’s functionality.

DJ/professor/producer Amani Roberts, co-hosted this first day with States, speaking with States, noting his intention at WEC Vegas: make great new connections. This initial Today Show was an excellent start to the WEC Digital Experience as it set the stage for what to expect and then jumped right in with live interviews.

For instance, DeShawn Wynn (MPI Southern California Chapter), chief meeting architect for Wynning Touch Event Design, stopped by to chat with Roberts about the MPI Meeting Executives Community—a place for leaders to brainstorm with a group of trust-worthy peers to overcome the unique challenges of today. Wynn emphasized, “Just knowing I have a team I can bounce ideas off of and be frank [when I’m struggling],” is a valuable takeaway she experiences by being a part of this community.

Additional interview guests included Suzanne Medcalf Mulligan (MPI Greater New York Chapter), senior community engagement manager, IMEX Group; Ken Holsinger, senior vice president of data solutions, Freeman; Melvin Tennant (MPI Minnesota Chapter), CEO, Meet Minneapolis; and more. Moments after this broadcast concluded, I was thrilled to see it was already available to re-watch.

The first remote session I joined was “Call to the Post (COVID Event),” live from Matt Winn’s Steakhouse at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, to learn about scalable F&B in the post-pandemic landscape. This piece utilized Zoom to connect approximately 100 remote participants with a panel of experts—including an event planner and two chefs and moderated by Tim Laird, himself an author and high-profile wine-and-spirits expert—sharing their pivots and how they were able to serve tens of thousands of guests during the Kentucky Derby while obeying local COVID-19 restrictions and managing around issues such as increasing produce costs and supply line disruptions.

The interactive aspects of the Digital Experience didn’t really kick in until I logged into the next session, “Design to Change: Elevating Your Abilities to Look and Act Beyond the Now.” Sure, there was some onscreen chat between digital participants earlier, but I knew joining a session featuring the Event Design Collective trio of Rudd Janssen, Roel Frissen and Anthony Vade, would lend itself to back-and-forth discussions. With Vade moderating the discussion, the “what” and “why” of this new event design book was teased out through the team’s excellent storytelling. Numerous participants kept their cameras on and regularly used expressive icons without being prompted—nice signs of engagement—even before Janssen mentioned that the second half of the session would be dedicated to answering questions from the attendees.

While there were many lurkers (such as me), several participants actively brought up planning situations with which they’re currently struggling and helped to drive some outstanding conversation through the lens of content covered in the Collective’s new book, DESIGN to CHANGE.

Next up, the Opening General Session offered some exclusivity for Digital Experience participants—a Zoom-based “fan cam” link so the onsite emcees could engage with remote attendees.

A great start to getting back to normal, online and in-person. Stay tuned for additional posts here covering various aspects of WEC Vegas—both virtual and on site.

Usher sc

 

Author

michael-pinchera
Michael Pinchera

Michael Pinchera is an award-winning writer and editor for The Meeting Professional as well as a speaker, technologist and contributor to business, academic and pop culture publications since 1997. Read more of his work at www.whatmemeworry.com.