By: Cheri D. Jones, CMP, The Roark Group
NWA hosted our first PCMA Lunch and Learn on April 4 and had over 63 in attendance. Michael Farr traveled from Tulsa to give the great a warm PCMA welcome and talked about the May 17 Best in Class meeting as well as the July 19 – 21 E3 Educational Conference in Tulsa. We also were thrilled to have Teresa Hellman, CMP visit us with greetings from Kansas City. Teresa also met with a class of University of Arkansas (U of A) Hospitality students and attended the U of A PCMA Chapter meeting.
The NWA Lunch and Learn Committee comprised of Katherine Kinney, Director of Sales from Chancellor Hotel, Jodie English Brown, Director of Sales from Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Amy Bates, President/Owner of Bates Events and myself, Cheri Jones, CMP, Meeting Manager with The RoArk Group in Rogers, AR. It was important to the committee that all our planning be strategic thoughts that were “outside of the box”. The room was set in squares (using 2 – 6’ x 30” tables) of 10, the speakers walked around the room vs having talking heads at the front of the room and there was a theater group invited to do a few ice breakers. The food presentation and menu were outstanding with the chef creating a Pho cuisine with Bahi sandwiches. It was important to offer a menu that was cost effective so that anyone bringing a meeting to the Chancellor could offer to their group. The food had an Asian flair, the décor was red lanterns and orchids, the PowerPoint dump slide had red Asian font to tie everything together.
Dacre Whitacker, Director of Community Engagement, Experience Fayetteville was out first guest that discussed the importance of using the Convention and Visitors Bureau when planning a meeting. Google searches don’t show the personality of the city that you are visiting. COLLABORATE with the CVB. Dacre said to “mind the gap and know your own.” It is important to be honest with yourself and ask for help. CVB’s can do more than help with hotel room nights, they can help provide information, connect planners to local business, help CREATE fun events and give support where needed.
Brian Rudisill, Founder Zipline Studio talked about ELEVATING your brand. Brian said that $425 billion is lost annually due to unengaged employees. Be sure your staff clearly understands the purpose of the mission/brand. It is important to market your brand internally with your staff. Sell your brand internally first before you sell it externally. You must have a 20 – 30 second pitch about what your company does if someone asks. It must be engaging, concise and prepared. Be sure your staff knows this as well.
Amy Bates, Owner of Bates Events talked about CREATING a memorable event. Use your theme throughout from marketing, centerpieces to production. We ended by all throwing a red streamer to break free from the boring meetings. The excitement and energy in that room was contagious.
The committees goal was that those that attended could take bits and pieces from our meeting and COLLABORATE, CREATE AND ELEVATE.