In order to get the recognition from outside of the industry, that meetings and events clearly should have, we as an industry need to first recognize and award that excellence ourselves. This was one of the messages that became very clear when talking with Laura Scwhartz, former event director at the White House during the Clinton administration. Laura is an author, TV commentator, professional speaker and emcee and was part of the panel of judges at the Evento Awards in Finland.
The Evento Awards have been organized now twice by the Eventolehti Magazine. Last year they started off with a solid show where 10 categories were awarded with an award. These include the best BtoB and BtoC events, best venue, best host and many others. The new event kicked off with a remarkable amount of entries. Closer to 200 people came together to celebrate this new event.
The second edition was of course bigger by all accounts. The event hosted over 400 participants this time around. An international panel from 6 different nationalities were judging the events and finalists and Laura Schwartz was part of the panel. She was delighted to see the level of expertise within the participating events. The Awards show itself was produced by one of the winners from previous year (and a MPI member) and got very good remarks from attendees, Laura included. She was especially taken with the use of light and video mapping, which transformed the venue completely from the industrial hall into a wonderful gala atmosphere. A great aspect of the entries, according to Laura, is also the fact that while submitting the event for evaluation, the organizers also need think what worked, what needed a bit more work and so on. So it's just a great way of evaluating their own work as well.
See the interview of Laura below.
During her stay in Finland, Laura also met with the members of the MPI Finland Chapter. This exclusive networking event gave her the chance to meet the local MPI community and for the members to get a piece of the knowledge of Laura. Being also an active member of MPI herself, Laura shared her views on what an international membership association and the tight-knit community can provide to a member. She reminded everyone that all the other members are just a phone call away and that in MPI you are not alone with your challenges. There are 18,500 members in the same spot with you, even if they wouldn't always be physically in the same space.
As an advocate of the industry Laura has also appeared as a speaker in the MPI World Education Congress in Minneapolis last year. The experience for her as a speaker and attendee was wholesome and Laura is a strong believer of meeting face-to-face. Technology and social media are both aspects that can enhance and prolong the experience and the contact, but can't replace the power of meeting people in person.
If you would like to be a speaker at an MPI Conference, your time is now. The call for proposals is now open for our European Meetings and Events Conference at MPIWeb.org. Submit your proposal and keep this vibrant industry community thriving when we all come together in Copenhagen. EMEC16 takes place from the 7-9 of February in Copenhagen, Denmark.
MPI in Europe Team