WEC Deans Will Help You Navigate Through Change

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WEC Deans Will Help You Navigate Through Change

By Rich Luna | Sep 25, 2020

Meeting industry leader Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki recalls a book she once read, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith.

“The title is perfect for why education is so important,” says Shimasaki, CDME, CMP, managing director of 2Synergize. “Going forward, we are going to be challenged in so many ways, certainly intellectually and emotionally. One of the benefits education provides us is confidence, and this positive impact should not be overlooked.”

Her advice segues into her role as one of the deans who helped develop four education tracks that will be presented during MPI’s World Education Congress (WEC), Nov. 3-6 in Grapevine, Texas.

“This is the time to be creative. I have been inspired by the endless possibilities to solve both small and big problems.”

The tracks—business strategy, meeting design, professional development and wellness, along with community rec rooms—are designed to help meeting professionals gain insight into strategies for meetings and events post-COVID.

“One major takeaway should be the collection of practices that should go into every meeting professional’s scenario planning,” Shimasaki says. “Meeting planners will be exposed to many opportunities because there will not be one way to return to business. Exposure to how others are navigating through change will be invaluable so they can consider an array of options. Because there is so much change, we need to not make one plan but actually have several (for various scenarios) plans in the works.

WEC Grapevine: Reunite for Recovery

“This is the time to be creative. I have been inspired by the endless possibilities to solve both small and big problems. It’s been a time for me to teach and be taught.”

Along with Shimasaki, WEC Grapevine deans include Kevin Iwamoto, chief strategy officer, Bizly Inc.; Andrew Lacanienta, assistant professor, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo; Terri Breining, principal, Breining Group Inc.; and Kristi Casey Sanders, senior director of community engagement at MPI.

The deans consulted on education overall by vetting educational tracks, reviewing sessions and consulting on content as industry experts. They will be participating as thought leaders in either the in-person or virtual WEC sessions. The tracks include the following.

Business Strategy Post-Coronavirus

What is the great lesson from this pandemic? The fact that many meeting professionals were woefully unprepared for a cessation in business. It has never been more important to discuss the industry’s reaction to COVID-19 and understand how lessons from past incidents informed our responses, what new lessons were learned from the crisis and how the industry can be even more prepared for next time. This track will help attendees learn how they, their businesses and organizations can be better prepared with new knowledge in such topics as post-pandemic contracting, budget forecasting, marketing, diversification, agility, data-based decision-making and more.

Meeting Design Post-Coronavirus

Following every crisis, meeting professionals find themselves more resilient, more agile and better able to help organizations find sustainable growth through meetings and events. Out of the pandemic crisis, the design of meetings will necessarily change. The industry will see new business opportunities—most noticeably in the virtual space, but IRL spaces as well. Physical distancing will relax to a degree with the resolution of the current crisis, but safety, hygiene and some distancing standards will remain. In this track, attendees will discover the role science plays in creating meaningful and safe experiences and how health, safety and travel guidelines impact experience design and diversity and inclusion.

Professional Development Post-Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic led to significant employment changes for many meeting and event professionals. From layoffs to furloughs, global event industry professionals continue to seek help identifying new opportunities and equipping themselves with the right tools and skills to weather this or the next crisis. This track will help with building on areas that can help you find the right-fit future role through education in job search, transferable skills and personal branding.

Wellness Post-Coronavirus

Working long hours in one of the most stressful jobs may have negative impacts on not only physical, but mental health, even before COVID. This track will attempt to eradicate the taboo on the conversation of health and put it on top of the list of industry-critical challenges to overcome. Attendees will learn top tips and long-term solutions to challenges related to mental and physical wellbeing and health while taking advantage of opportunities to discuss ways to stay healthy and keep participants, attendees and stakeholders healthy, too.

Community Rec Rooms

These areas are designed to help attendees find kindred spirits within the MPI Communities, experience education driven by right-now needs and enjoy collaborative solution-storming and play.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash



Rich Luna

Rich Luna is Director of Publishing for MPI and Editor-in-chief of The Meeting Professional.