I’m fresh off my first experience at World Education Congress, an event industry conference put on by Meeting Professionals International. As a member of MPI and a board member of my local chapter, I’m an active and involved contributor. After seeing the global reach and impact of the organization at WEC 2019, I care about our community more than ever. This comes down to more than just my learnings over the past week.
Yes, I spent time in educational sessions and had some valuable takeaways from those. Exploring the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and trying different types of food at various functions was fabulous. I really loved participating in the Dear World experience; it felt like so much personal reflection and growth. But the most important thing I did over the course of WEC 2019 was meet people.
I went to every reception I was invited to, said hello to the people I sat with in sessions, had wine with new friends and old, danced the night away at the MPI Foundation’s iconic fundraiser Rendezvous, and spent a lot of time being introduced to friends of friends. Through all of this, I came out with a desire to connect more with industry peers – both more frequently and more deeply. The global community created by MPI is something I want to contribute to and nurture. I see the value of people that create the fabric of our industry, and I was lucky to meet as many of those people as possible over the past week.
I am thankful to have attended WEC 2019. As the lucky recipient of an MPI Foundation scholarship, I made my way to Toronto. Even with this assistance, I had to really crunch the numbers in order to go. Flying in and out of Hamilton because the flights were much cheaper, taking the train and the bus back out from downtown Toronto in the middle of the night, and staying in a 6-bed hostel dorm room made this possible. Even with this creative budget travel, I had significant investment myself in attending this event – but I’m glad I did.
The new relationships I have from this experience are invaluable. I bonded with my hostel roommate, a fellow scholarship recipient. A friend from university was at the opening night celebration and is in the industry; we enjoyed catching up. My chapter colleagues and I spent time together outside of board meetings and monthly events. I met a girl on the Rendezvous dance floor, in the middle of the very best dance party. Fellow Canadian MPI members welcomed me to the club and I had an unexpectedly lovely time with 3 strangers at one of the receptions, just talking work and travel and life.
I met industry leaders, both present and future.
My advice to anyone that has the opportunity to attend this conference in the future: Go to everything you can. The education matters, but so do the connections you can make while you are there. The General Sessions matter, but so do the social events. I already know that the most significant value I got from attending WEC 2019 is the power of the people I met.
Want to chat about WEC 2019? Feel free to drop me a line or comment away on this post!