A Summary of the 2023 Meeting Professionals Summit, an Inclusive and Insightful Event
Wednesday, September 13, 2023, 9am
Visit Raleigh’s fifth annual Meeting Professionals Summit took place at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, N.C., on July 14, 2023. The day was full of interactive sessions, important insights and networking. Local speakers, Larry Long Jr., Tracy Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CHC, and Sharon Delaney McCloud took the stage and left attendees with lots to think about. Additionally, a panel including S.A. Corrin from the City of Raleigh and Mara Craft from the Raleigh Convention Center shared ways to be inclusive in all aspects of meetings and events.
Over the last year, Visit Raleigh’s Sales team has worked diligently to ensure this year’s Meeting Professionals Summit was inclusive, equitable and insightful. Behind the scenes, they were planning food orders, signs, speakers and more. There are many details to consider, but sales managers Kathryn Short and Nicole Keshler went above and beyond. They thought deeply through the entire process, from pre-event communication and registration through arrival, attendance and departure. They helped make the 2023 Meeting Professionals Summit an inclusive and enjoyable event for everyone.
Nicole and Kathryn implemented the following to ensure the event was as inclusive and accessible as possible:
- Prioritized providing equitable meal choices for all allergy and food restrictions. It was important that individuals who needed a gluten-free and/or vegan meal received something substantial to eat. This included proper labeling and meal cards, as well as several pre-event planning meetings to make sure that allergies and other food needs were taken very seriously. The extra step of banquet staff confirming these food requirements provided additional safety.
- Made sure that microphones were operable for all speakers throughout the entire event. (Pro tip: As we've all seen in meeting sessions, sometimes mics have technical failures, and speakers will bypass them in the moment and resort to trying to compensate for volume through speaking louder. It's best, and certainly worth it, to take a few moments with the audio engineer on the spot to get the equipment back in working order for the remainder of the session. Usually it's a quick fix, like a mic swap or battery change.) Microphones were provided for attendees asking questions during interactive portions of sessions, so any audience member with a hearing difficulty could hear.
- Asked attendees if there was anything we could do to make their experience more comfortable, specifically including food allergy and restriction accommodations and addressing accessibility needs.
- Confirmed that our speakers were willing and able to use stairs to access the stage and were comfortable sitting in the chairs we planned to provide for the panel.
- Ensured the presentation and PowerPoint fonts were large enough for everyone to see from any space in the room.
- Provided easily accessible agendas on the back of the name tags.
The Visit Raleigh Sales team is already working on the 2024 Meeting Professionals Summit—stay tuned for future updates!
Have questions or want to know more about planning your next meeting in Raleigh, N.C.? Contact our sales team today.
Photos by Keenan Hairston