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Events Industry Council Regroups After Four-Year Hiatus

Skift Take

The Events Industry Council’s CMP Advance is a conference built by CMPs for CMPs. While it has evolved during its four-year pause, it remains focused on connection and hands-on learning experiences.

The Events Industry Council‘s CMP Advance is a conference built by Certified Meeting Professionals (CMPs) for CMPs. It gathered 225 meeting professionals at the New York Hilton from April 30 to May 2. This was the first time the group had met since November 2019.

“Peer-to-peer learning and being together is so important to this group,” said Amy Calvert, CEO of the Events Industry Council (EIC). “I am thrilled we were able to facilitate both and thankful to all of our strategic partners and event supporters.”

To say things have changed since the last time this group gathered is an understatement. A pandemic, global shutdown, and worldwide technological transformation were some of the seismic shifts that often came up in conversation.

Events Industry Council Evolves

The EIC used its four-and-a-half-year pause of sorts to evolve on many levels. First, its name evolved from the CMP Conclave to the CMP Advance. As CMPs focus on advancing the profession, events, and careers, this new event experience aligns with what CMPs rally around.

The meeting shifted from fall to spring. The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs hosted the previous edition in November 2019. “We recognize that the shift in the time of the year and the pause since 2019 provides us an opportunity to redefine what success looks like for the event,” said Calvert. 

The CMP Commission, as well as the Job Task Analysis Task Forces, are in the process of updating the body of knowledge one must master to become a CMP.  “As part of the competency profile project, we have held focus groups globally, talking with hiring managers, the CMP community, CMP fellows, and more to learn what is top-of-mind,” said Calvert. “We are creating a refreshed exam and materials that is more an evolution than a shift.”

Today, a small dedicated team manages the Events Industry Council, which recently dropped its association management contract. Calvert believes this change makes the organization more nimble. “We decided we wanted to be agile and recruit talent on a case-by-case basis. This core strategic initiative is better suited to our model.”

Mindful Leadership

Its new focus is strategic, mindful, purposeful leadership, which shined through in many sessions. 

Keynote speakers included David Allison, founder of The Valuegraphics Research Company. He spoke about events evolving by incorporating values into their strategies to meet the next phase of attendee needs. Pandit Dasa, who spent 15 years living as a monk, shared tools to create a mindful work environment. Bobby Jones, founding partner of the Conspiracy of Love, closed out the meeting. “Today, 87 percent of employees are disengaged, resulting in wasted talent and resources,” said Jones. He shared ways to turn that around, igniting passion in the process.

Peer-to-Peer Learning

What the CMP Advance did best was make intentional space for peer-to-peer learning. Many attendees raved about the ideas that percolated during the two rounds of 40-minute roundtable discussions. Topics included wellbeing, career advancement, remote workplaces, managing internal and external stakeholders, how events impact a destination, impacts of ChatGPT, accessibility in travel, staff shortages and talent retention, mentoring, managing attendee expectations, strategic collaborations, stakeholder management, designing effective agendas, designing a new networking experience, healthy menu creations, sustainable event practices, and designing inclusive events.

Dahlia El Gazzar, the founder of DAHLIA+Agency, facilitated a ChatGPT breakout session. Half those in the room admitted to being curious about ChatGPT, but have yet to try it. The other half were already using it to create itineraries, lists of attractions, and even training materials. She recommended using the technology in three ways, “as a tool, a muse, or co-pilot.”

Donna Johnson, VP of operations at MCI USA, led a session titled “Every Little Thing We Do is Magic: Scenario Planning for Everything.” Johnson stressed planning, prevention, and preparedness. 

Captive Audience May Not Be Engaged

Ken Holsinger, senior vice president of strategy at Freeman, packed the room for his session “What’s New? What’s Next? Understanding Data-Driven Insights That Influence the Industry.” He shared that in-person events are the most trusted source of information, especially when it comes to today’s Next Gen Event Goers (NGEGs), who are between 20 to 44 years old. 

They are looking for connection, hands-on learning experiences, and clear value. He also reminded us that there is a difference between a captive audience and an engaged one. 

Attendees also got a sneak peek of the next release of the Global Economic Significance of Business Events study by Oxford Economics.

“We want to reinforce the importance of the community having an understanding of the latest EIC Economic Impact study and the updated data. It is inspiring to see both the vast economic impact, and the tremendous way in which events build community and drive social progress,” said Calvert.

The next edition of the CMP Advance is set for March 10-12, 2024, at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Canada.

Photo credit: EPNAC Photography & Video / Events Industry Council