When Business Becomes Personal and Inspirational

Blog > Industry News

When Business Becomes Personal and Inspirational

By Paul Van Deventer | Oct 9, 2020

When speaking to friends, family, professionals and even aspiring students, I often say that through joining MPI, I have been blessed late in my career to have found an amazing industry, inspiring community and an exhilarating job. Those blessings are derived from more than being part of the leading association in an industry that drives innovation, economic growth and positive change. The true blessings have been derived from the incredible and inspirational people I have met and befriended on my journey.

Professionals in this industry love what they do, and by default, they support their colleagues. They give to each other in selfless ways that I have not experienced in my prior positions in industries including business travel, financial services, healthcare and software. Key, I believe, are the connections developed when we meet face to face and the inherent passion to serve others. With every conference, trade show and convention, like WEC Grapevine this Nov. 3-6, when we connect, we evolve our industry and we evolve ourselves!

At the top of those selfless and inspirational friends I have made are Ray Bloom and Carina Bauer of the IMEX Group. With a global backdrop of inconceivable hardship and financial challenges, they have graciously stepped up to support distressed professionals with a generous donation of US$250,000 to the MPI Foundation. Ray and Carina are authentic leaders who truly value what this industry has done for them, their team and their families.

These are exceptional times and our community needs extraordinary support.

This is such welcome news knowing our colleagues are suffering and need assistance to stay connected, reskill their competencies and earn a living. Through Ray and Carina’s generosity, funds are available to more than double MPI’s outreach to thousands of professionals. The timing is auspicious.

Since the pandemic hit, our volunteer boards and MPI staff made action a priority. With support from the MPI Foundation, MPI acted quickly and decisively to lessen the pandemic’s impact—we didn’t wait! To date, we’ve distributed multiple industry grants supporting industrywide live event advocacy, chapter relief and aca-demic scholarships. In addition, MPI has awarded more than 1,200 member-ship scholarships; offered 87 hours of live complimentary education attended by more than 22,000 professionals; and delivered 600 hours of complimentary, on-demand education with nearly 22,000 views, consumed by members and non-members alike.

As inspirations go, the great Muhammad Ali offered that “…service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” Paying it forward is accomplished by volunteering, mentoring, offering employment and educational opportunities and, yes, donating financially.

WEC Grapevine: Reunite for Recovery, Nov. 3-6

To continue to make a difference, we will need more resources—we need those of you who are able to step up to step up even more than you may have in the past. These are exceptional times and our community needs extraordinary support.

Along with the IMEX Group donation, we have collected more than $500,000 that will go directly to fund community support efforts. Our collaborative goal is to reach $1 million through your personal support. Please show the world how generosity thrives in this critical industry. I ask you to visit mpifoundation.org/milliontomeet (#milliontomeet) and donate today. Every donation matters.

Thank you Ray and Carina for your consistent and extensive generosity, your tireless support of our industry, your creativity and innovation and, most importantly, for your friendship. And thank you to everyone in our community who contributes so much every day to MPI, to our industry and to your fellow professionals.

Stay well, and I hope to see you during WEC Grapevine—either in person or digitally!

Paul Van Deventer
MPI President and CEO 
Follow me on Twitter @MPICEOPaul



Paul Van Deventer
President & Chief Executive Officer at Meeting Professionals International

Paul Van Deventer joined the MPI Global Team in April 2013 as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In this role, he leads the strategic direction of both MPI’s global association and the MPI Foundation, with responsibility for managing its global staff, operating budget, membership programs and community services.