Power of People: Events After Controversy

This Mother’s Day, as we do every year, my mother, sister and I participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Philadelphia. Just as I was impressed by the resilience of the breast cancer survivors competing (and kicking butt) in the race, I was also impressed by how, despite controversy faced this year, the Komen sponsored event was just as successful as in years past.


Women demonstrate the power of pink outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Susan G. Komen – Philadelphia

In the wake of a fierce media backlash after cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, and being accused of using their brand to promote unhealthy products, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has still managed to keep a majority of its supports, and not just corporate. At the 2012 Race for the Cure in Philadelphia — a 5k run culminating in a large celebration at the Philadelphia Museum of Art — there were more than 40,000 participants and 100,000 spectators, and the event raised over $900,000 dollars for breast cancer research and treatment.

It was reassuring to see that despite an organization’s trip-ups or difficult financial times, you can still count on the people to rally around a cause they’re passionate about. After my first month with Convene magazine, I’ve realized that that is the lifeline of the convention and meeting planning industry — the attendees who continue to show up, to join a group of like-minded people, to represent a subset of the community that they feel connected to, and to learn and grow as a result of these events.

Controversy or no controversy, my family and I, just like the other 140,000 people present that day, will continue to participate in the race, to support a worthy cause, to commemorate the women in our lives we’ve lost to breast cancer, support those that have survived, and fight for the future of women everywhere — proving that an organization is only as strong as its devoted members.

Teams celebrate after the long run. Photo courtesy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure – Philadelphia


Sarah Beauchamp

Sarah Beauchamp was formerly assistant editor of Convene.