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Moving Forward...

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By: MPI Northern California Chapter | Sep 2, 2020

Moving forward….
by Gary Murakami, GTP, GLP, CMP, CMM, DES
Director of Global Sales, MGM Resorts International

"Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope."  Martin Luther King Jr. shared this phrase so eloquently and profoundly in his “I Have A Dream” speech, and so much rings true today.  Our industry is faced with such seemingly insurmountable obstacles amidst this current global pandemic, the systemic racism and social injustices affecting our country, and most recently the devastating California fires from the overall impact of climate change. 

As 2020 began, no one could have imagined a shutdown of our travel, meetings & events industry and the subsequent economic unemployment and financial impact as a direct result.  My heart goes out to those struggling each day to make difficult decisions and adjusting their lives to this current normal. Our MPINCC members too, have been impacted in many different ways, both personally and professionally.

I reflect back on these past several months, including the start of my term as your chapter president beginning in July.  Leading in a time of change and uncertainty has profoundly impacted me, and the success, future and sustainability of the chapter continues to weigh on me. An eternal optimist for those who know me, these past months have unsettled me, even as I focus to maintain a sense of normalcy, positivity, and resolve.

What lifts me, however, is our human spirit and our collective industry community that articulates how we can survive and ultimately thrive together.  The poet and activist Maya Angelou writes that “The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well”. Three words or mindsets come to mind often that empowers me and provides a sense of direction as inspiration or nourishment in moving forward:  Resilience, Gratitude and Hope.


As an industry, we are resilient in the face of the challenges presented us.  We rise to the occasion, remain steadfast and strong, and are inspired to support each other.  Through our collaboration and resolve together, we will endure the current crisis to once again move forward as an industry.  Event professionals will embrace this new “now” with the current focus on digital events and incorporate innovative new methods and ways of conducting future meetings and events.


Gratitude has been on my mind and has inspired me to find aspects of life to be thankful.  Let’s together find and share light in this seeming darkness and reflect on those things that are still right and positive in this world.  Expressing gratitude for our relationships – the relationships that are particularly meaningful with our family, friends and industry community - are our greatest source of strength.


Each of us can embrace hope for our future – change and challenges can unsettle us, and yet we can look towards the future, not waivered by headwinds or roadblocks presented to us.  It is not “if” the industry and our lives return, it truly is “when”.  We must hold onto hope to give us strength in always moving forward.

As we look to our year ahead together, let’s continue to remain resilient, as I am confident that our industry will come back stronger and more innovative.  We can share gratitude and spread joy.  Most of all, let’s maintain and give others hope that the future may look different and yet bring new opportunities for each of us.

Thank you for the honor in serving as your chapter president, as we navigate 2020 and beyond as one community and one chapter – our MPI Northern California Chapter.

With appreciation and gratitude,
Gary Murakami, GTP, GLP, CMP, CMM, DES



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MPI Northern California Chapter

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