Meeting Professionals International (MPI) turned heads in Indy with its completely overhauled annual World Education
Congress (WEC) 2018.
The event kicked off with a vibrant opening
night celebration at White River State Park, featuring a concert by local acapella group Straight No
Chaser and plenty of other local flair.
The following day at the Indianapolis Convention Center, attendees were treated to the start of
a brand-new WEC experience, which broke with
tradition to give meeting professionals a first-hand
way to experiment with new design concepts for
Highlights included pep rallies, innovative
educational tracks offering intense live learning
experiences, an open-air environment and the
WEC Village concept, each bringing to life a
different theme: Experiential Design, Innovation,
Leadership and Social.
“The WEC Village concept [was de-
signed to] feed attendees’ minds,
bodies and souls,” said Lori
Pugh, lead manager, event
programs and produc-
tion for MPI. “Each
village had a broad
range of education,
CSR activities, food
around the redesign
was to make sure
MPI was really “walk-
ing the talk” with its WEC
2018 theme of “Stop planning meetings, start designing experiences,” which was also the theme
of WEC 2017 in Las Vegas, according to Pugh.
“We have been encouraging members to
reimagine their events, and now we are doing
the same thanks to member feedback and the
#EventCanvas methodology,” she said.
Made to Measure
To that end, MPI also researched ways to better
measure the success of the event itself, according
to Jessie States, manager of professional development for MPI.
In addition to post-conference and session surveys, MPI asked one participant in each session
room to rate the session design and application.
It also invited all participants to evaluate the
redesign in real time.
“Together with The Event Design Collective [#EventCanvas], we recruited experience
detectives to help us uncover their experiences in
real time using an app called ExperienceFellow,”
Elements of the redesign spanned the entire
The general session space was
designed to be the center court
of all WEC activity, held in
the form of pep rallies
bookending each day
with short and sweet,
of excitement and en-
Different lengths of
sessions were another
highlight, with 30-min-
ute quick sessions to
the 60- and 75-minute
traditional one-topic sessions. Ninety-minute,
deep-dive sessions were available for more inter-
active and engaging experiences.
Educational programs addressed virtual reality,
event design, food and beverage trends, ethical
challenges, safety and security, leadership and
Sessions and keynotes touched on some of the
hottest topics in the industry, including diversity
and inclusion, the #Me Too movement, risk man-
agement and human trafficking.
“We’re not afraid to have tough conversations,”
States said. “And most importantly, that’s what
we’re promoting—discussions around issues that
matter and solutions to our industry’s greatest
Meanwhile, innovative social and environmental
impact elements were woven throughout the show
(see “Big-Hearted in Indy” story on page 28).
WEC 2018 gave Indianapolis a chance to shine,
and Visit Indy gladly obliged.
“We haven’t hosted an industry meeting of this
kind since PCMA in 2004, so we really wanted
MPI WEC 2018, INDIANAPOLIS
HITTING ALL THE HIGH—AND FAST—NOTES
MPI’S AMANDA ARMSTRONG AND PAUL VANDEVENTER PRESENT
A RISE AWARD TO THE DALLAS FORT WORTH CHAPTER
LEONARD HOOPS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, VISIT INDY
MPI’S AMANDA ARMSTRONG, RIDE-ALONG, INDIA-
NAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY CLOSING CELEBRATION
OPENING NIGHT CELEBRATION, WHITE RIVER STATE PARK
THE VILLAGES, INDIANAPOLIS CONVENTION CENTER
MPI RISE AWARD
ON the SCENE
By Lori Tenny