Meetings & Events

An Open Letter to the Meetings Industry

Meetings Industry – An Open Letter on Inclusion

Dear Meetings Industry, In June 2016, I attended Meeting Professionals International (MPI) World Education Congress. As usual, the international conference was well attended and a wonderful gathering of top industry professionals. We studied food and beverage topics, budgeting, international trends, hybrid and virtual meetings and more. Added to this year’s event was a celebration of inclusion … mostly. Unfortunately, the convention occurred on the heels of the tragic LGBT nightclub shooting in Florida, where 49 people were killed, over 50 were injured, and over 200 were held hostage until the gunman’s death, when police stormed the club around 2 a.m.…

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11 Ways to Implement Important Sustainability Practices

Sustainability has become a big aspect of almost any industry and in the meetings industry sustainability has become crucial to maintaining our social and environmental responsibility. While we often hear farmers producing sustainable crops or even sustainable livestock, our kitchens also need to take stock in their environmental impact as well to ensure a better quality and in-demand products. Just as Climatarians make specific changes in their diet to minimize their carbon footprint, we need to make changes, industry-wide, to do our best to minimize and diminish unsustainable practices across the supply chain and in the kitchen. Whether we seek a…

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Ramadan Mubarak (Happy Ramadan), An Important Primer

There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims, 22% of the world’s population, which means Ramadan is a big part of many people’s lives, probably several people you know. In the meetings and events industry, it’s also a unique time because it directly involves the consumption or non-consumption of food.   What is Ramadan About? Broadly speaking, Ramadan is a month-long way to cultivate self-discipline, a sort of spiritual detox, that brings about good habits of worship and day-to-day practices to be carried out throughout the year. “The fast is performed to learn discipline, self-restraint, and generosity, while observing God’s commandments,” according…

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The Real Difference Between Dietary Choices & Dietary Needs

As the controversy and, let’s face it, confusion, rages on around the world here’s an easy primer on the why’s and woes of dietary choices and dietary needs. Let’s begin with an actual disease, Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease isn’t an allergy to gluten as many people often mistake. It is an actual autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) causes damage to the small intestine. An estimated 1 in every 100 people has celiac, worldwide and most are undiagnosed. Because this is an actual autoimmune disorder, a diagnosis will ensure opportunity for…

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Food Allergy Action Month

May is Food Allergy Action Month: Quick & Easy Ways to Celebrate

It’s Food Allergy Action Month: Learn the Facts to be Prepared Right now it’s peak season for allergies and that includes food allergies. While the prevalence, severity, and impact of food allergies as well as the current understanding of food allergies in diagnostics, treatments, prevention and public policy are being studied, it’s important that a broad awareness be built – allergies are potentially life threatening and there is no known cure. Thrive! Meetings & Events is helping to create public awareness out of the commitment to serve individuals, families, and communities affected by the disease, but most importantly to also help inform…

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What Event Planners Can Learn from Ancient Rome?

The culinary world seems to discover a new dining trend every five minutes, but when it comes down to it, banquets haven’t changed all that much. There might be some inspiration and ideas event planners can learn from ancient Rome. I recently read this very entertaining and informative piece about history’s ten greatest banquets, and I was struck by what they had in common, all the way back to the days of Nero. They were once-in-a-lifetime events full of entertainment and surprise. They were opportunities for people to show off their wealth. But most importantly, whether it was dormice sprinkled with…

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How to Diversify the Plate While Respecting the Palate

Like most event planners, I read a lot of restaurant menus. I like to keep in touch with trends and ways to diversify the plate while respecting the palate. One thing that continues to surprise me is just how similar they are. At both down-home joints and white-tablecloth establishments, Americans seem to be interested in a narrow choice of meats. We will eat any part of the chicken, but most restaurants focus on the breast. When it comes to beef, we eat about half the cow, but only about 10 percent (e.g., strip loin, tenderloin, sirloin, and rib eye) ends…

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Brazil Eventos & Transparency

As an international speaker and Food & Beverage expert, I’ve found at least one universal truth – allergies are present in all countries and, therefore, a place must be set at the table for attendee safety and trust. I speak on a number of topics when I travel, including legislation and legality of meetings, efficient food and beverage budgeting, custom eater menu planning, and more. Next week I’ll be in Brazil discussing important food trends from around the world and how to seamlessly incorporate these exciting trends into your meetings and events for an experience your attendees will devour. I’ve…

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Going Alcohol-Free for Your Next Big Event

We think of alcohol as vital for evening events, and in most cases, it probably is. It lubricates conversation and helps many people relax. But I wanted to share this recent New York Times article that inspired me to shake things up and consider going alcohol-free at my next event. “Shine” is a networking and dating event founded in Venice Beach, CA, and that recently expanded to New York City, which is notable in that no alcohol is served. Participants drink tea, juice and mocktails and eat delicious, healthy, mostly vegan meals. It results in sparkling conversation that isn’t dulled…

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Eating Communally

The Power of Eating Communally

Can Eating Communally Positively Impact Events? When we think about food at conferences, most of the talk is about logistics: How do I serve 500 people while the keynote speaker is talking? How many drink tickets can we afford to give away for free before charging? What meat will most of our attendees eat? Don’t get me wrong, this type of problem-solving is vital. If you can’t feed your attendees, you’ll have riots in the ballroom. But here’s the thing: We see meals as part of the structure, not the content of the meeting, in other words, what happens when…

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