Event professionals can be planners. They can be suppliers. Heck, some switch back and forth depending on the project. What unites them all is the need for a sense of community. And COVID-19 and the related quarantine is not going to stop that.
Enter popular industry keynote speaker and owner of CS Consulting, Courtney Stanley (a Connect columnist), and event designer Christine Mack. They have pulled their connections, resources and ideas to form Meetings Mean Community, a private Facebook group designed to be a virtual meeting place.
“Courtney and I joined to create this forum from two different angles,” Mack wrote in a post Friday. “I was looking to use the current global situation as a way to bring us all together and choose kindness over fear; an opportunity to become more authentic in our interactions with ourselves and each other—professionally and personally. Courtney was looking at the current global situation as a way to decrease the physical distance through virtual community; a way to collaborate, innovate and create in ways we haven’t seen before. We both recognized this as a chance to bring everyone together and create a community of changemakers that want to do their part to make this world a better place for all.”
Says Stanley: “Our industry is facing a tremendous crisis. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we show up and support one another. Now is the time to get creative, to forge stronger partnerships and to break down barriers that exist in our community. Together, we will exercise innovation and evolve with grit. Together, we will do what we do best: We will bring people together.”
This is just one of several efforts seen through the events industry in the wake of social distancing. Only a few industry officials were still working in their offices as of late last week, with many teleworking either by choice or necessity.
Matthew Dunn, CSEE, president and CEO of Raconteurs, has similarly developed the Sports Tourism Industry COVID-19 Resource Group. It, too, is operated on Facebook. Members see the page as a chance to build ideas and look ahead.
Says J.C. Poma, director of sports relations at Richmond Region Tourism: “I would love to use this group as we start moving past the initial shock of COVID-19 and the postponement/cancellations of events and chat about how destinations are moving into recovery strategy mode.”