Behind the Scenes

10 Years, 10 Things

When I first started writing this column, I was too new to the meetings industry to offer my opinion on the kinds of things planners deal with daily.

This month marks my 10th year at Convene, and while I know a lot more about how this business works, I never stop learning.

Meetings, conventions, and conferences are complex and changing all the time. Luckily, that gives us plenty of material to work with. I’ve learned that there is no end to the topics that can be tied back to this industry — and, with the help of my talented team, endless paths for us to explore in order to enrich you, personally and professionally. In keeping with my anniversary theme, here are 10 things I’ve learned from working on this January issue:

Spend a little time with Maura Gast, the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau’s executive director, and you’re bound to come away a little smarter. I asked her about the two-year anniversary of the Irving Convention Center and ended up finding out how the world’s first CVB was founded.

In this high-tech world, who would think that an old-fashioned, zero-tech game designed to get attendees to network with each other would be a hit?

Wireless may be invisible, but it’s not limitless — and planners need to get their arms around how much bandwidth is required for their events. Now there’s a tool for that.

CME meetings abound, but how many exist for physicians to focus on their own health and well-being? We found two.

Virtual and hybrid events are undoubtedly the next big thing for meetings, but until now, planners had to dive in with no swimming lessons. The first class is now in session.

Most meetings that seek to make a significant difference in the world take place on a grand scale. Not so for the five we profile in our cover story — but they’re still a big deal in our book.

Speaking of grand scale, we hear a lot about meetings becoming more participatory, but how can you actually capitalize on every attendee’s expertise at large-group conferences? Just ask David Cooperrider.

The one thing that media mogul Arianna Huffington prescribes for success and better meetings will likely surprise you.

We know the power of meetings to effect change. But what greater testament to that can there be — from outside our own inner circle — than the decision by Penn State officials to convene a conference to heal and learn from the Sandusky scandal?

“Passionately purposeful and relentlessly positive” is how one of the nine execs profiled in our special section describes his leadership style. Read what everyone else has to say, and this dynamic industry comes to life. I count myself lucky to be a part of it.

Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.