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Stir the Soul

BY Laurie Dove|Conferences|RCMA News|Add a comment

Make big plans that stir the soul. It was a fitting theme for the Emerge 2017 conference and tradeshow, where a record number of attendees celebrated RCMA’s 45th anniversary.

From Feb. 7 through 9, attendees (many of whom prefer to be called “family”) met at McCormick Place in the heart of Chicago to not only explore the Windy City, but to discover the next big plan for their organizations or their own professional development.

On Feb. 7, guests had the opportunity to attend the exclusive Opening Reception at the Field Museum.

The evening was a must-see spectacular, complete with live performances by a string orchestra and contemporary singers. After enjoying signature beverages and gourmet small plates, Emerge attendees perused the museum’s displays, including the famed T. rex named Sue, the largest, best-preserved and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found.

On Feb. 8, attendees were ushered into the Emerge opening session by the robust sounds of the Soul Children of Chicago.

“We’re here to help you be successful in your mission,” says David Whitaker, CEO and president, Choose Chicago.

A stellar lineup of keynote speakers and educational sessions set the stage for a strength-building experience.

From experts on multiple generations in the workplace to event safety to growing revenue, the keynote speakers were huge draws. Author and speaker Haydn Shaw shared insightful tips to help associations reach, serve and involve multiple generations by exploring the “why” of our differences.

Speaker Alex Goldfayn focused on the art of growing revenue by 15 percent in 15 minutes a day, inviting attendees to communicate and follow up with customers as a way to “help more people more.”

A presentation by Wiley Thompson, director of domestic intelligence at 5 Stones Intelligence, sparked in-depth discussions among attendees and created a standing-room only crowd during a later educational session. After 37 years in local and federal law enforcement, Thompson brought security concerns to light, asking the audience, “Do you have a plan?”

Michael Dominguez, senior vice president and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International, gave an insightful look into the communication process between hotels and planners.

Information and collaboration is what keeps veteran planners and suppliers coming back to RCMA’s annual conference and tradeshow year after year.

“I can always apply what I learned as soon as I get home,” says Michelle Alexander, a planner from Daybreak Assembly who has attended for about six years. “It’s very practical and hands on.”

We want to thank Choose Chicago, its partners and the RCMA sponsors for giving us the support we need to hold such a successful event. Your help does not go unnoticed, and we are extremely appreciative of everything you did. Thank you.

For more on Emerge 2017, keep your eye out for our Spring issue of Aspire.