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A Newbie's View of the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference

Doreen at GMIC in Montreal
"Nothing like jumping into a new organization with both feet!” – Doreen Ashton Wagner, who co-emceed the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference in Montreal."
When I registered for the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference in Montréal at the end of April, I didn't really know what to expect. Truth be told, if Greenfield had not received a complimentary registration at the event in return for a project we had done, I'm not sure I would have attended.

I was intimidated at the thought of being surrounded by "green meetings experts". I even went to buy a Venti-sized Starbucks travel mug for fear of being singled out if I walked into the meeting room with a disposable cup!

I quickly realized that the event was not attended only by people who wear sandals, eat granola and eschew SUVs.  There was a diversity of professionals from young "eco-consultants", to seasoned meeting planners just starting on their path to making their meetings more sustainable.

But something about GMIC was different.  Maybe it was because with only about 230 participants,  presentations were more interactive and people were genuinely interested in sharing best practices.  Or maybe it was because we were there for a cause that was larger than anyone of us.

Regardless, unlike most other meetings industry conferences I have attended, three weeks later this one still has me thinking. As a marketer who focuses on helping hotels, convention venues, and destinations promote their facilities and services to meeting planners, what can I do to help green our world?

Then it came to me: it's all about sustainability. What we do at Greenfield helps our clients be more sustainable in their marketing efforts. Up until now, it hasn't been about saving the planet. It was more about saving limited resources and producing the best possible results. But isn't that what sustainability is also all about?

Whether they are using paper or electronic means, if marketers aren't being smart about how they approach and start conversations with meeting planners, then they are just wasting their time and money.

Thank you GMIC. You put it all in perspective for me.