Meetings Canada


2014 WEC Delivers Great Education and Meeting Innovations

Nineteen hundred event professionals took over Minneapolis, MN this week  for the 2014 edition of Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) World Education Congress (WEC).

The Congress ran from Saturday, August 1 to Tuesday, August 5th at the Minneapolis Convention Centre (MCC), the city’s award-winning conference and trade show venue. It offered attendees a full slate of sessions on topics ranging from RFPs, social media, meeting design and contract negotiation to innovation, wellness and giving back. It also features a roster of keynote speakers including Dr. Deepak Chopra, the world-renowned wellness expert; Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari; Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak; and Microsoft’s Scott Schenker.

According to Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of MPI, the conference was designed to—and delivered—opportunities for attendees to network, develop partnerships and learn. “We have 150 clock hours available at the event. We’re live streaming all the general sessions. We are trying all kinds of cutting edge ideas. The event is a laboratory for members,” he explained, at a press conference on the opening day of the Congress.

Some of the show’s innovative features were:

  • FlashPoint General Sessions – Speakers were given 15 minutes to present a mini-version of the Deep Dive sessions they would be holding later in the day.
  • CSR Central – This full-day corporate social responsibility (CSR) event was hosted by Meet Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association and benefited eight local charities (Minneapolis-St. Paul is the number one metro area in the country for volunteerism). WEC attendees were invited to take part in one six CSR activities: Trikes for Tykes; School Scramble; Food Plinko; Furniture Fix-Up; Pack the Bag; and Bundle o’ Blankies.
  • Puppy Cuddling – Attendees got to take a break and interact with therapy dogs. Cuddling is valuable socialization training for assistance dogs and is key to getting young dogs acquainted and comfortable with new surroundings and people.
  • Two Mile Fun Run and Yoga sessions: To help attendees on their health journeys

Van Deventer, who joined MPI 15 months ago, said his first year at the association’s helm has been “busy and exhilarating.” Since he started he has overseen a leadership change and a re-evaluation and refocusing the association’s mission on professional development, education and advocacy.  Achievements include updating the Certified Meeting Management (CMM) program’s 15 year curriculum (it will relaunch this November); a partnership to offer healthcare compliance education and certification; collaboration with industry partners on the Meetings Mean Business initiative; and the introduction of Meetings Move us Forward, the association’s own grassroots campaign.

Looking forward, Van Deventer said the association will be introducing a 5K run program to benefit its charitable arm (MPI Foundation) and will be working to adopt National Meetings Industry Day, a Canadian initiative, in the United States and Mexico. It will also be relaunching its career site.

The 2015 edition of WEC will be held July 25-28, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Related article:

MPI Acquires Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate



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