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| Written by Veronica Ferguson

Journey to World Class: The 2022 M&IW Summit

Our signature event, the M&IW Summit, returned in August 2022 with two days of inspiring insights, engaging education, and captivating connections. On Day 1, we brought together our valued customers, trusted suppliers, and talented team members both in person and virtually while Day 2 was dedicated exclusively to our team.

The theme of the Summit sets the tone for the entire event. Past themes have included Events Reimagined, Lead the Way, and See the Impossible. While all aspirational, we went a step further with this year’s theme: Journey to World Class.

“Our Journey to World Class reflects a commitment to driving solutions through unified and laser-focused service excellence.”

Tina Madden, CEO

CEO Tina Madden, CPA, spoke about the importance of this journey in her opening remarks. “Our Journey to World Class reflects a commitment to driving solutions through unified and laser-focused service excellence,” she said. “To be world class isn’t an end goal but rather an ongoing dedication to growth, talent, innovation, and excellence. It is a journey that requires everyone—customers, suppliers, and the M&IW team—to work together as one team to achieve success.”

Tina Madden at the 2022 M&IW Summit

Day 1 of the 2022 M&IW Summit: Connecting the Industry

M&IW’s vision is to transform organizations through the power of human energy, and it was truly wonderful to see that energy and our culture on display in person with so many of our partners and team members. Those attending virtually stayed engaged with livestreaming and exclusive content that brought the event to life through the screen.

A Warm Welcome

After a warm welcome, Tina started the day with a celebration of events during the opening session. “There is no industry that is more passionate, loyal, and resilient,” she said. “We are so inspired about the future… Yes, there are a lot of challenges, but we can get through every one of them. We have before and we will again.”

Even in the face of those challenges, demand continues to rise, showing the strength of the industry. “Our volume skyrocketed overnight,” said Tina. “We are now at levels surpassing 2019, which was our top year.” Still, the stakes are high as increased demand is balanced with inflation and labor shortages across the industry, making M&IW’s definition of world class—unified and laser-focused service excellence—more important than ever.

Valuable Discussions

Next, Michael Garcia, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions, led a panel discussion called Opposing Viewpoints: Procurement vs. Event Owners. He was joined by Ron Needham, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, ManpowerGroup, and Kraig Stabenow, Director, Travel, Meetings & Congress Program Design, Merck & Co., to discuss the pros and cons of in-person vs. virtual events.

Michael Garcia, Kraig Stabenow, and Ron Needham speaking at the 2022 M&IW Summit

As Kraig put it, the argument comes down to which format gives you the best value for the purpose of your event. “Virtual’s not going to go away,” said Kraig, “but it’s not going to replace in-person. We have to be flexible… You have to determine where you’re going to create the most value, what are the solutions, what are the drivers, and what are the outcomes you’re trying to get to.”

Ron agreed, adding that no matter how you host your event, “the question should always be, ‘How are we going to top this next year?’ That’s how you want attendees to feel, too, otherwise you’re not investing in anything.” Ron also shared that rather than being the enemy of in-person events, “technology can help enhance them… [For example,] event mobile apps can help connect attendees and provide an extra wow factor.”

Interactive Engagement

Attendees were then treated to a returning favorite: the Summit Walk. This interactive walk featured a street fair atmosphere designed to get attendees moving and help them make connections while learning about exciting new offerings and developments at M&IW and within the industry. There were booths from M&IW’s divisions, Intent Strategy Group and Flow; the Incentives & Engagement and Event Technology teams; and sponsors Stamm Media, Corporate Event Interactive, and Global Gifting.

While in-person attendees visited the booths and enjoyed brunch stations along the way, virtual attendees enjoyed a livestreamed tour of the Summit Walk and watched exclusive interviews. (For example, did you know Flow has a new engagement platform called EPIC? Virtual attendees learned all about it in the Summit Walk interviews!)

One of the biggest hits was Stamm Media’s Proto Epic hologram technology. Check out the awesome photos below to see just how realistic it is! Stamm also served as the AV/Tech Partner for the Summit, providing an LED tunnel into the general session room, pictured center below, and LED mountains onstage.

Following the Summit Walk, virtual attendees logged off until the afternoon while in-person attendees experienced a session called Inclusion = Clarity presented by Eagle’s Flight, one of the M&IW Summit’s top sponsors. In this engaging session, attendees did team building exercises and gained practical tips to understand the power of full clarity rooted in inclusion and how to link those outcomes to business benefits within an event.

Fostering Connections

Next, the spotlight was on our sponsors and exhibitors during the Supplier Showcase, a staple of the M&IW Summit. The M&IW team and our valued customers explored the latest offerings from our top supplier partners, including hotels, DMCs, CVBs, technology providers, and more. We couldn’t execute our events without any of these incredible partners, and we were thrilled to give them the attention they so rightfully deserve.

The M&IW team then had Small Group Appointments with sponsors, fostering new relationships and strengthening existing ones. Meanwhile, customers connected in Peer-to-Peer Discussions as they shared best practices, current challenges and successes, and predictions for future events.

The Current Industry Landscape

Virtual and in-person attendees came back together for the afternoon’s general session, Critical Conversations: Challenges and Opportunities in the Industry. Mike Farmer, Manager, Incentives & Engagement, moderated a panel featuring Lisa Palmeri Oleson, Vice President, Principal Consultant, Intent Strategy Group; Vicki Walsh, HMCC, Director, Event Sourcing; and Judi Maher, CMP, Customer Success Director, who joined virtually.

Mike Farmer, Lisa Palmeri Oleson, and Vicki Walsh speak at the 2022 M&IW Summit

Everyone agreed that the workforce and supply chain challenges are the biggest obstacles to events today. To overcome them, Judi said success comes down to one thing: “communication that is upfront, honest, and often… If you don’t communicate the challenges, you can’t find solutions.” Vicki agreed, adding that her team is “being more communicative with both customers and hotels” to ensure everyone’s needs are met.

Another trend that Lisa is seeing is the need for simplification, from automating and integrating systems to streamlining processes. ISG, in partnership with Bizly, responded to this challenge by creating an integrated small meetings solution called Simplified+ aimed at helping DIY planners.

Celebrating Day 1

Day 1 of the M&IW Summit ended with the Customer Moxie Awards celebrating our amazing customers and their noteworthy and awe-inspiring accomplishments. Congratulations to this year’s winners! We are proud to partner with you and bring your events to life.

  • Customer Partner of the Year: Biogen
  • New Customer Partnership: Accenture
  • Best Use of Technology Award: Intel
  • Boomerang Award: Merck
  • In-Person Impact Award: Grange Enterprise Companies
  • Strategic Initiative Award: Toyota

We would be remiss not to mention our Supplier Moxie Award winners, who were announced and celebrated during a pre-event virtual session for sponsors and exhibitors. Congratulations to our Industry Supplier of the Year, Visit Orlando, and our Hotel Supplier of the Year, Marriott International!

After the awards, attendees were surprised with a moving performance by the Midwest Youth Choir before the in-person Networking Reception began, where speed painter Amy Burkman wowed the audience with her incredible talent, keeping everyone guessing as to what she was painting… until she finally turned the canvas upside down (or should we say right side up?) at the end! We loved seeing everyone come together to support these artists. The entire audience was in awe of their talents, creating a shared sense of community.

Desert Glamping

The fun wasn’t over for our M&IW team… The evening’s Employee Dinner and Party brought everyone together for a night of desert glamping! The theme was brought to life by ETHOS Event Collective, and DJ Dominic Wayne kept the party going with dancing and karaoke. Our majority-virtual workforce always loves getting together, and with our growing team, many people met their colleagues in person for the first time. While our virtual workforce model is successful, the fun, in-person events like these help keep our culture alive.

Day 2 of the 2022 M&IW Summit: Connecting Our Team

A Promising Start

Day 2 kept the M&IW family together as it was entirely devoted to our employees. After a hearty breakfast, the day began with a unique learning experience presented by Eagle’s Flight. While customers sampled Eagle’s Flight’s offerings on Day 1, the M&IW team enjoyed the full experience with an exercise called Promises, Promises that promoted relationship building and reinforced our company culture. Learn more about the details and key lessons in this blog post.

Connecting and Celebrating

After a morning of Eagle’s Flight, the afternoon kicked off with team meetings where teams reconnected, introduced new members, and strategized on how they’ll continue their Journey to World Class. Then, it was time for one last celebration as everyone reconvened for the Employee Service Awards and Moxie Awards.

The Service Awards recognize our team members who reached a milestone year of 5, 10, 15, or 20 years as part of the M&IW family. We’d like to give a special shout out to our 20-year Service Award recipients, both from the Group Travel team: Jodi Bernau, Sr. Express Travel Manager, and Susan Ohl, Sr. Coordinator. Thank you for your continuous dedication to M&IW and our customers. We are lucky and grateful to have you!

Like the Customer and Supplier Moxie Awards, the Employee Moxie Awards celebrate excellence among our team and acknowledge those who made a positive impact on M&IW and the events industry in 2022. Congratulations to this year’s winners, pictured below in clockwise order with Chief People Officer Jean Johnson, CMP, and CEO Tina Madden. Thank you for your outstanding contributions this year!

  • Rookie of the Year: Jake Runnion, Sr. Event Technologist
  • Hospitality Hero: Aja Davis, Associate, Event Sourcing, and Marie Ahlers, Sr. Event Experience Manager
  • Leadership Award: Angie Duncan Callaway, Director, Intent Strategy Group

Join Our Journey to World Class

Whether you attended the 2022 M&IW Summit virtually or in person or are only reading about it, thank you for being part of our Journey to World Class. We can’t wait to see where this journey takes us and invite you to follow along! Connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

What’s Next?

Learn more about our event and program management services. Our talented team is ready to help transform your organization through the power of human energy.

Interested in working with M&IW? Contact us.

Interested in joining the M&IW family? Check out our open positions.