Kansas City 2018 MeetUp! Recap

by Naja Pulliam Collins

This year’s Missouri Meetings & Events 2018 Kansas City MeetUp! at the Topgolf in Overland Park, KS was a huge success!

More than ninety percent of attendees who completed the evaluations said that they felt that attending the MeetUp! was a good investment. This year’s attendee list included professionals from across the industry. It was a great opportunity to network and meet new people; one hundred percent of attendees who completed the evaluations stated that they “met someone new”.

The structure of the MeetUp! was very different from the traditional Missouri Meetings & Events Expo layout, like the one that we held at the Saint Charles Convention Center earlier this year. Unlike the traditional two-day expo, the MeetUp! began at 8:00 AM and finished at 1:30 PM on the same day. In condensing the expo, we hoped to make it more accessible for a variety of attendees. Response to the difference in time was positive, with close to ninety percent of attendees who filled out the evaluation saying that they liked the condensed version; however, more responses leaned towards moving the start and end-times by about two hours. Multiple attendees expressed satisfaction both with the shorter day and the non-traditional venue. Freddy Gipp, CEO of Lead Horse LLC, noted that these changes will appeal to the Young Professional crowd. “I liked how the MeetUp! structure was unique and different. I would advocate for holding more events like this because it may inspire more young people to get involved,” he said.

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The day began with a great presentation by Missouri Meeting & Events columnist and  experienced meeting & event planner, Rob Schaefer. Rob’s presentation, “Safety First, Disaster Last”, focused on the tangible things that meeting and event planners can do in order to ensure the safety and security of their attendees. Rob covered everything from the first steps a planner should take when entering a new venue—including looking for fire escapes, AED machines, planning a safe place to barricade yourself if necessary and noting the type of doors—to how many staff and security team members to hire depending on the size of the group. He even demonstrated some ways to bar the door without a lock – by using items that might be at any event such as a wine bottle, table decorations, and a belt! Therese Rhodes, from Grantham University, was especially impressed with Rob’s presentations, stating that he addressed, “important things I had never even thought about”.  

The second education session was “Mental Toughness in Leadership” by Jeff Arthur, founder of The Values Conversation. Jeff’s motivational presentation focused on encouraging the audience to focus on the important things and to do away with excuses and explanations. He emphasized that mental toughness—the measure of individual resilience—is very necessary to be successful in both our personal lives and in the work place. His session inspired a lot of conversation afterward, about what we value and how we use that in making choices. Many attendees recounted that they felt inspired by Jeff’s tough and no excuses approach to the way we tackle challenges and pursue personal growth. Jack Collins from Great Wolf Lodge stated, “It was great to hear the guest speakers and really hear the words of encouragement for everyone on how to navigate our days and be passionate about it”. Jack went on to say that, “It was nice to hear other points of view from people doing exactly what we’re trying to do”.

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After education sessions and a more formal trade-show like time designated for networking, the real fun began. Attendees were invited to stay and relax and play games at Topgolf. With the help and instruction – and encouragement for our less experienced attendees – provided by Topgolf’s Golf Pros everyone got started on the game. Visit Lawrence, one of our event sponsors, offered drink tickets to planners and all attendees were invited to partake in the fajita lunch buffet. Attendees walked away from this event with more resources on how to plan an event that is safe and appropriately staffed, a new perspective on how to deal with problems in their personal lives and their careers, new contacts from a variety of companies and organizations throughout the Kansas and Missouri areas, and a complimentary MM&E Holiday Part Dos & Don’ts Resource Guide written by Rob Schaefer!

If you missed this year’s MeetUp!, don’t worry because the annual Missouri Meetings & Events Spring Expo is happening sooner than you think! We will be taking some of the best elements from the MeetUp! and incorporating them into this event on a larger scale. Be on the lookout as more information gets released on our website and in our weekly newsletter soon! Be sure to look at our website in the coming weeks for more information.



100% of attendees learned something new

Meeting & Event Planner Breakdown

  • 31% Association/ non-profit
  • 50% corporation
  • 6% student
  • 6% education
  • 6% independent

Attendees who submitted evaluations gave the non-traditional location an average ranking of 4.7 out of 5

About the author

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