Behind the Scenes

Planting a Seed

We're taking flight.

We make a point of casting a wide net to include meetings of all kinds in the pages of Convene. Pretty much nothing is off limits, because all meetings matter at some level.

Some events cater to a niche market (such as the Southern Select Alpaca Show), or strive to make a profound difference to society as a whole — even if that means shining a light on a dark and difficult-to-discuss social ill. We recently learned that Convene was actually instrumental in the creation of one such conference. And we couldn’t be more proud.

We first wrote about Nix Conference & Meeting Management’s initiative to develop a Meeting Planner’s Code of Conduct related to child sex trafficking in our March 2012 issue. When Executive Editor Christopher Durso heard that Nix had recently organized its own conference for professionals across disparate fields to tackle the issue of sex trafficking, he followed up with Nix’s Molly Hackett to find out how the conference was conceived. Molly said she’d read a Convene article about how Penn State had organized the Child Sexual Abuse Conference in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky crisis  — and it stuck. “I will never forget that article,” she told Chris. “It was pivotal.”

When it became apparent that it was time to move the conversation forward — Nix was fielding many requests for information, interviews, and speaking engagements as a result of its work raising awareness of sex trafficking in the meetings and hospitality industry — Molly recalled the Convene article. “You know what?” she told her colleagues. “I just read this great article. I think we [should] hold a conference.” Chris shares how the Ignite conference unfolded in Giving Back.

Sometimes it isn’t a story that helps us make pivotal decisions, it’s facts and figures. This month, we debut our new Data column, which Senior Editor Barbara Palmer launches with an interview with Joe Colangelo. Colangelo, the founder and CEO of Bear Analytics Inc., which specializes in meeting and event data, told Barbara that data is “sexy right now.” But it’s not a passing fad. New tools and new ways of thinking about data are permanently transforming how we do business. “In the next five to 10 years,” he said, “data is going to be what having a good marketing agency on Madison Avenue was like in the ’50s and ’60s. It’s going to be something that you’re not just looking at when you have to make a decision — it’s going to be something that you’re looking at all the time.”

As for us, we think we made two really smart decisions recently — I’m delighted to welcome Corin Hirsch, our new associate editor, and Kate Mulcrone, our first-ever web editor, to Team Convene. We are counting on their talents and expertise to make Convene an increasingly valuable resource. And who knows? Maybe to create more ripples in the world.

Nix’s Molly Hackett told Chris that she read the “pivotal” Convene article on a flight, and we love hearing from meeting professionals that we’re their reading material of choice when they travel. We cover enough ground in this issue to keep you occupied for a long time in the air— from our cover story on the effect of government travel restrictions on meetings, to a feature on how DMOs are partnering with economic-development agencies, to our CMP Series on gamification and meetings. Plus, don’t miss the latest installment in Chris’ ongoing series about ASCE’s Global Engineering Conference in Panama, and Barbara’s insightful chat with PCMA Education Conference Opening General Session speaker Heidi Grant Halvorson.

Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.