Behind the Scenes

Loud and Clear

We’re taking the important work that you do to the airwaves.

You often tell us in our surveys that what you like best about being a meeting professional is the sense of accomplishment you get when your hard work and planning come to fruition

at your events. As editors, we can relate — there’s nothing like seeing your efforts made manifest. For us, it’s when FedEx delivers hot-off-the-press advance copies of our latest issue, and when our stories go live.

But what about the larger meaning or deeper purpose behind the work we both do? We could easily think of Convene as a trade publication strictly focused on a niche industry, and you might see your responsibility solely in terms of laying the groundwork for an event that meets your constituents’ needs. End of story.

But we think bigger — that the meetings industry contributes not only to the economy but to the greater good, furthering important work in the world, and it’s our job to showcase that work. It’s easy to make that coannection when we cover global events with a profound impact, like this month’s story about the World Conservation Congress, whose mission is to draw attention to — and solve — the pressing conservation issues facing our planet.

But even when we can’t draw such a straight line between traditional business events and a similarly noble mission, we’re convinced that new technologies, products, services, and ideas presented at conventions often change lives for the better. And we know that the end goal of any medical or scientific meeting — like the ones we cover in this issue — is to improve patient care and quality of life.

It’s important to reinforce the message that meetings make this a better world within our own community, and also for the larger universe to hear it. That’s our intent with the Convene Podcast. When we started looking for podcasters to give one Convene story a month a deeper dive for our audience along with the possibility of expanding our reach to the general listening public, Convene’s Barbara Palmer found Ashley Milne-Tyte, a business journalist and podcast producer who regularly records stories for Marketplace and NPR.

Like many outside our industry, Ashley said that she “knew that meetings got planned — somehow,” but she hadn’t ever “thought about the people who did that.” Once we started sharing some of the events and topics we cover, she understood the human-interest potential and was excited to dig in.

So far, Ashley has produced Convene podcasts drawn from our content on mindfulness, brain dating, bee-colony collapse, the growing trend to skip vacations, and the issue of sex trafficking That last topic — from a recent Giving Back story on Maritz’s efforts to increase awareness about this crime within the global meetings and hospitality industries — led to a recent Marketplace piece written and recorded by Ashley. It highlights our industry as one that is having an impact on society, and we like the sound of that.

Menu Planning

Attendees need nourishment to fuel their participation at events, and a growing number of them are limited by — or are limiting themselves as to — what they can eat. With food allergies on the rise and audiences increasingly seeking customized experiences that include their F&B choices, what’s a meeting professional to do? We’ve got some insights for you from our latest survey, which is part of Associate Editor Corin Hirsch’s in-depth cover story and CMP Series article.

Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.