Photos by James Goalen | The Goalen Group
(WE)Con was the place to be over February 9-11, 2017. MPISCC hosted its second annual (WE)Con event at the Island Hotel Newport Beach. Over 100 meeting industry professionals came together for networking, education and dynamic keynote speakers.
On Thursday night attendees were treated to a lively opening reception sponsored by our hosts, Island Hotel Newport Beach. The Replicas Music supplied a ukulele trio to entertain musically. Then there was the risotto wheel that entertained visually and tastefully.
Wellness was integrated into the program with a spinning class at SoulCycle Newport Beach sponsored by MGM Resorts and a Sunrise Warmup session led by our own Joe Martin. Attendees were also offered the opportunity to take headshots courtesy of JTANL Productions.
Education was the focus throughout the 2-1/2 days of the conference. Each day offered a variety of options that focused on different facets of the industry as well as personal development, budgeting and cost saving strategies, The Power of Curiosity and Meeting Room of the Future discussions to name a few. The sessions were well attended and participants were impressed with the high quality of presenters who led the workshops.
Powerful keynote presentations were delivered on both Friday and Saturday. James Kane and Amanda Armstrong kicked it off on Friday for the group. James Kane brought his thoughts on loyalty and what makes you stay with a relationship. Amanda shared her view on evolving trends and how MPI supports those trends. She also shared her journey in the meeting industry along with the value of being a member.
Saturday gave us entertaining and thought-provoking keynotes, first by Michael Staver who shared on how to stay calm under pressure, a skill much-needed in the meeting industry. Kaplan Mobray and his high energy, interactive talk had the lunch audience so engaged no one wanted it to end. And to close out the event, Michael Dominguez spoke about current events and how the new administration may affect the meeting/hospitality industry.
The Hosted Buyer Program was a hit again this year. Over 18 suppliers and planners met over 2 days during scheduled appointments. They also had a wonderful off-site gathering to spend time together in a relaxed atmosphere.
This may sound like it was all work and no play, but there was plenty of play during the conference. Saturday night’s reception had a CSR component sponsored by Go Team Events. The group made Lego super hero portraits that were donated to a school in Pasadena. But the party didn’t end there. It continued at Aqua Lounge, the hotel’s after hours lounge that is hugely popular in Orange County. MPISCC attendees were treated to reserved VIP tables while the house DJ entertained everyone.
There is so much to (WE)Con that makes it the signature multi-day event for the chapter. Attendees were saying how this was the best education they have seen at a conference like this and they will be back next year. The networking, education and opportunities to connect with planners and suppliers is incredible and should not be missed. (WE)Con is definitely the place to EVOLVE in all areas.
Thank you to Joe Martin, VP, Education and Margaret Garcia, Director of Professional Development for their guidance and vision. An extra special thank you to the (WE)Con committee and the chair, Michelle Thornton and co-chairs, Alisa Walsh and Kirhan Cheng, who all worked so hard to bring this event to life. Thank you also to (WE)Con sponsors…an event like this is not possible without their generosity and commitment.
• Blueprint Studios
Margaret Garcia, CMM, CMP is an event planner with Farmers Group, Inc. She is the 2016-2017 MPISCC Director of Professional Development.