Honorable Mention Chapter Award
Honorable Mention Chapter Award

MPI RISE Awards: Italia Chapter, Industry Advocate

Jul 26, 2021, 11:00 AM by Blair Potter
The RISE Award for Industry Advocate recognizes an MPI chapter, club or student club for achievements in advancing the meeting and event industry by promoting an understanding of its impact.

The MPI Italia Chapter received the 2021 MPI RISE Award for Industry Advocate. This award recognizes an MPI chapter, club or student club for achievements in advancing the meeting and event industry by promoting an understanding of its impact, participation in Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) or strategic use and implementation of tools and resources provided by the Meetings Mean Business (MMB) Coalition.

We spoke with 2020-2021 Chapter President Maddalena Milone about the award.

This award honors advocacy. What does it mean for your chapter to receive this RISE Award?

It means a lot. MPI Italia was very active in cooperating with the other national and international associations to present specific requests to our government, in organizing a peaceful and well-planned protest in front of the Italian Parliament building and in keeping open a permanent dialogue with the government. For us, this RISE Award represents the entire community’s recognition that collective action offers our members an opportunity to see their interests represented. This is a significant first result even as our advocacy needs to continue, especially considering the size of our chapter.

What has inspired your chapter to this high level of engagement, particularly around diversity and inclusion?

Together with other associations and clubs, we decided to establish “ItaliaLive” to represent and protect the interests of the entire meetings industry. Apart from the personal experience of our team members, one of the most important contributions to the group was the data and statistics we were able to share thanks to the international reach of MPI. We shared the data from the research that the Events Industry Council commissioned on the global economic significance of business events, conducted by Oxford Economics (also, thanks to the contribution of the MPI Foundation). This influential study was essential to demonstrate the impact and force of our Industry to the public, the press, politicians and to our peers. The first goal of the “ItaliaLive” coalition was for us to be acknowledged as an industry, regardless of whether our job is to be a planner, supplier, young professional or student. We have also organized events and educational meetings about sustainability and, as far as inclusivity is concerned, we undertook important steps together with women entrepreneurs from other associations (SITE, Federcongressi&eventi and Convention Bureau Italia) who signed and shared the mission statement for Women in Leadership.

How has the success of the chapter inspired and motived members going forward?

We were notified of the win during our GMID online event with over 600 people following. We shared the news at the end of the event and highlighted that this was a collective win. This thought made a positive impression and motivated our audience and members to be increasingly proud of being a part of our community.

How has your chapter’s commitment to education and programming helped raise the profile of the chapter and MPI with meeting professionals in your community?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the objectives we set for ourselves have been to stand by our members and motivate our peers. We were able to organize frequent online events and started to make phone calls to ask colleagues about their needs. I think the value of the human factor was highly appreciated and also helped receive direct input from our community on future topics of interest.

What was the best lesson learned from this experience?

That you may force people to physically distance, but you cannot crush their need to connect with others.

What are the values that inspire your chapter?

Our focus is very much on our members, their needs and requests. Networking opportunities are always at the forefront of our activities, and we try our best to stand by our peers, shoulder to shoulder.

What’s next for your chapter?

We have a lot of energy and inspiration to bring to the next chapter year. Education, networking, membership opportunities and the professional certification project are all part of this. The professional certification project was another important goal achieved by our chapter to advocate the meeting and event industry and, finally, after three years of hard work, we managed to get the UNI Standard 11786 approved. This standard defines and qualifies the job profile of meeting and event managers.

How has the chapter coped with the COVID crisis?

There was no secret formula, we simply applied what we learn from MPI every day: collaborate, share and be happy for this.

What advice would you give to MPI chapters about high-level engagement in our industry?

I really believe that the important thing is to listen and talk to members.

Who were the key members who were involved in this initiative that resulted in the MPI RISE Award for Industry Advocate?

We were able to reach these achievements with the combined efforts of all our volunteer leaders, but this award is a good example of what a good team can achieve. In particular, I would like to thank Luca Vernengo, Enrico Jesu and Elisabetta Caminiti for their collaboration, the time they volunteered and their competence. We have worked very hard. I can confirm that “when we meet, we change the world!”

Learn more about all of the RISE Awards recipients: Kate Copeland (Member of the Year), Greg Elam (Meeting Industry Leadership), Zaman Ishaad (Young Professional Achievement), Italia Chapter (two awards: Membership AchievementIndustry Advocate), Caribe Mexicano Chapter (Innovative Educational Programming), Greater New York Chapter (Marketplace Excellence).

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