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June 5, 2018

Top News From MPI’s 2018 World Education Conference

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Meeting Professionals International (MPI) wrapped its 2018 World Education Conference June 5 in Indianapolis. Here’s a look at the key announcements made during the event. 

New, Inclusion-focused Education With New York University

At the event MPI announced a new collaboration with New York University’s (NYU) School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality to conduct a research study that will examine tactics, which can be utilized to make all attendees at meetings and conferences feel welcome through inclusive event design. The research will aid MPI in developing new education and resources to help meeting planners design more inclusive experiences. 

Following completion of the study, which is sponsored by the MPI Foundation, MPI will present the findings at the MPI 2018 Thought Leaders Summit, benefitting the MPI Foundation, in November. The association will collect feedback from industry leaders and senior-level meeting planners during the summit, and their insights will then be used to influence development of the MPI Academy’s new Inclusive Experience Strategist Certificate Program, which is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2019.

The new education program will entail a four-hour, interactive training session that addresses how to make practical inclusion decisions and the tactics for doing so. Participants will learn the business case or rationale, key principles and strategies, and outline of tactics for planning for inclusion. To ensure the education is actionable and performance-based, MPI said it is partnering with Dawn Snyder, Ph.D., C.P.T., Prosci CCMP of Dawn Snyder Associates to lead the development of MPI’s inclusion-related learning experiences.

MPI Partners With Indiana University to Enhance CMM Program

In other education news, MPI announced another partnership, with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, its executive education program, and the IUPUI Department of Tourism, Conventions and Event Management to enhance and deliver MPI’s Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM) Program.

Over the next few months, MPI will conduct focus groups with CMM community members who volunteered to share insights on the program enhancements, and it will also make adjustments as needed based on their feedback.

Together, the MPI Academy and Indiana University will optimize both the curriculum and overall experience to deliver a level of education similar to that of an executive master’s program and that exemplifies the CMM Program’s new tagline, “Executive Leadership for the Business of Meetings.” Specifically, the program will be updated to include more meeting and event management-focused content; the immersion course (Phase 1) will be extended from 3.5 to 4 days; the online boot camp (Phase 2) will now proceed the work-based case project (Phase 3); and the project development requirements will be expanded to align with higher education standards, requiring participants to video record delivery of their presentation, peer reviews and more.

In addition, the timeline for earning the CMM designation will increase from nine to 15 weeks – the equivalent of a college semester. Participants will now earn 48 clock hours, up from 25 hours with the previous edition of the program, and 4.8 continuing education units (CEUs) following successful completion of the program. They will also have the opportunity to earn three graduate credit hours, which can be applied to the Kelley School’s Executive Degree Program (EDP) Business Management Certificate as well.

Upcoming CMM classes scheduled for 2018 will take place September 17-20 and December 10-13, at IUPUI in Indianapolis.

New Meeting Planning Safety and Security Guide

Finally, MPI announced that it will publish a new report on meeting planning safety and security by the end of June. In addition, the association will develop education, research reports and case studies based on the guide’s recommended practices, with launch plans slated for later this year and in 2019.

The new report, “The Essential Guide to Safety and Security: Best Practices for Meeting and Event Planning 2018,” includes nearly 400 best practices to help meeting and event planners identify vulnerabilities, mitigate risks and protect critical assets, and is designed to serve as a reference tool for developing safety and security plans and procedures. It covers a variety of topics from handling unattended packages and safely managing crowds to recovering from a vehicular attack and securing event data. All the best practices were evaluated by leading industry experts, who provided feedback on their technical accuracy, relevancy and feasibility.

Following is a sampling from the guide:

  • If your event website has a "look who's coming" area, list by companies only to avoid room block poachers, phishing scams and potential stalkers from targeting your attendees.
  • While people are waiting for events to begin, AV teams can show videos or slides instructing attendees about emergency procedures.
  • Ensure the security of laptops, mobile phones and other devices by avoiding USB ports, which are easily infected by malware.
  • Test your emergency action and incident response plans before you get onsite. Formats can be scaled from one-hour orientations to full-scale drills depending on your team, resources and situational needs. Keep digital records of any drills and exercises run for a minimum of five years. Good records can help reduce legal liability.
  • Conduct an After Action Review within 48 hours of your event to go over any incidents that occurred. Discuss what happened, why and how improvements could be made. Appoint a scribe to capture and document the information while it is fresh in everyone's minds. Gather input from all staff levels. Use the review findings to make recommendations to improve existing plans.

The development of this guide is part of the association’s effort to increase safety, security and risk management education and resources for MPI members and the industry. In June 2017, MPI announced its collaboration with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at the University of Southern Mississippi to develop educational programming and resources. The first program developed was the MPI Academy’s Emergency Preparedness for Meetings and Events Certificate Course, which debuted at WEC 2017.

The association also said that it was working with NCS4 on a five-year, pan-industry initiative to create the first global gold standards for meeting and event planning safety and security, and the first step entailed hosting its inaugural Risk Management Conclave during the MPI Thought Leaders Summit in October 2017. During the conclave, best practices were discussed and collected for the new guide.

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