By Mitchell Beer, The Conference Publishers Inc.
Keynote speaker Joe Calloway led an interactive general session on Tuesday morning. Panelists discussed the need to take action, then participants decided how they’ll apply what they’ve learned at MPI’s 2011 World Education Congress.
In a series of interviews with MPI members Fiona Pelham and Mike Dominguez and fashion entrepreneur Kelly Cutrone, Calloway highlighted the factors that make passionate organizations succeed and lead to effective action.
“If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never do anything the least bit brilliant,” Calloway told participants. He urged participants to think about the number of times they’ve kept their best ideas on hold, and how consistent most organizations are at doing what they know they should.
Pelham, principal of Sustainable Events Ltd. in Manchester, UK, said the biggest challenge is to believe that you can make a difference. She cited Clean the World as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative that started with a good idea, then succeeded because its founders were prepared to move every barrier they encountered.
Dominguez, vice president of global sales at Loews Hotels and Resorts, said people are often too busy to notice and react when a key situation changes: “Sometimes, we get so caught up in trying to keep our jobs that we forget to do our jobs and be leaders.” But he said the meeting industry banded together and overcame fear after a tough economy hit home in 2009.
Cutrone and Calloway agreed that taking on an account or a project just for the billables is never a recipe for success. In her own work, Cutrone said she realized that business success wasn’t enough, and she began thinking about how to apply her skills to community service. Now her firm always represents three accounts at no cost, and finds that the activity brings benefits back to the business.
She added that professionals have to be honest in leading their clients to outstanding results: “Don't tell them they’re great if they’re not. We’re not a cheerleading service.”
Earlier, Kevin Olsen, chair of the MPI Foundation, introduced two of three local students who received four-year scholarships through a grant from Rosen Hotels & Resorts: “These students represent the future of our industry, our community. This is your MPI Foundation at work.”
The MPI Foundation also provided full or partial funding for 16 members to attend WEC, and Olsen said the Foundation invested US$1.5 million in industry projects in 2010-2011, for a total of US$2.5 million since 2009.