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IMEX America 2012 starts with MPI’s Smart Monday

imex-logoThe second annual IMEX America opened with Smart Monday on October 9, 2012. Close to 1,000 participants dove into an 8-hour line up of free education sessions and brainstorms intended to expand their personal and professional development and effectiveness. Ray Bloom, chairman, the IMEX Group, said that attendees “would not lack for inspiration or a sense of value” during the day-long program.

The day began with a keynote in the Venetian Showroom Theatre at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, featuring Debra Benton, who is an executive consultant and the author of eight books. In her keynote, Benton challenged attendees to think, act and relate in fresh ways that project not only their own sense of confidence and contribution but also build a positive feeling in others. This, she said, is the true hallmark of great leadership.

Following the keynote, Smart Monday host Cindy D’Aoust, COO and interim CEO, Meeting Professionals International (MPI), and her team offered attendees a program of learning and networking including three rounds of hour-long concurrent knowledge sessions. These sessions zeroed in on topics ranging from technology tools, Strategic Meetings Management Programs (SMMP) and social media to the impact of CSR on delegates and the future of meetings.

Included in this was a case study session introduced by Kevin Iwamoto of StarCite and featuring Paul Wakelin of IBM. They shared the technology giant’s road to a global, consistent and centralized events framework that allows them to best leverage their meetings and events spend.

Another session, led by Mariela McIlwraith of Meeting Change, Katherine Manfredi of Conference Partners Inc. and John Chen, of Geoteaming encouraged attendees to get into play-mode by exploring event gamification. Through this technique, they demonstrated how games encourage risk-taking by meeting delegates and quickly build community and collaboration as well as boost the education and networking value.

During the day, a group of participants also chose to go off site for a few hours and roll up their sleeves with a real-time CSR activity hosted by Clean the World at their Las Vegas Recycling Operations Center. This unique event, sponsored by the Sands Meetings, allowed participants to learn what happens to discarded hotel soap and bottled amenities and to help with sorting bottles for recycling and creating hygiene kits. All the amenities will be donated to two local community projects in Las Vegas – The Shade Tree and Opportunity Village as part of IMEX America’s sustainability program.

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