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Speaking Topics

My main speaking topics are on sustainability, sponsorship and attendance building, and the future of meetings. All sessions are customized to the specific event. Sample event descriptions are shown below.

The Future of Meetings: Designing for Impact

This fast-paced interactive session will explore what’s next for the meetings industry, and how to amplify the impact. We’ll review specific practices in the areas of business skills, sustainability, meeting design, accessibility and technology.

  • Learn how planners and suppliers can collaborate to increase attendance, sponsorship and reduce room block poaching risk.
  • Learn how to leverage the neuroscience of learning and sustainability to design more effective meetings.
  • Learn how to grow your audience with universal meeting design practices that make your events more accessible and inclusive for all potential participants.
  • Discuss how to maximize the benefits of industry technology for a wider reach and greater impact.

Getting Started with Sustainable Events: Meetings as Conservers, Creators and Catalysts

Have you ever wondered where to start in making your events more socially and environmentally responsible? In this fun and fast-paced session we’ll explore easy and affordable ways to improve your triple bottom line.

  • Learn about practical ways to conserve resources, including how to design menus that have better carbon and water footprints.
  • Learn how to design great community service projects.
  • Learn how to extend the impact of your events by inspiring your participants, partners and stakeholders to implement sustainability.

Meeting Economics: Strategies to Improve Attendance, Sponsorship, Engagement and Your Bottom Line

In this interactive session we will review best practices for attracting and retaining event sponsors and for delivering benefits that enhance the business value for sponsors, attendees and event owners. We’ll explore pricing strategies to increase attendance and encourage earlier registrations. The session also examines ways to improve the level of collaboration between planners and suppliers to address the challenge of room block pickup and threats of room block poaching.

  • Learn how to customize a roadmap for attracting and retaining sponsors.
  • Learn about innovative pricing models to encourage increased and earlier attendee, sponsor and exhibitor registrations.
  • Learn about collaboration methods for planners and suppliers to increase room block pickup and minimize room block poaching risk.

Breaking Down Participation Barriers: Best Practices for Accessible and Inclusive Events

In this session we’ll learn about best practices for designing events to be accessible and welcoming so that everyone is able to fully participate in your events. We’ll discuss venue selection practices, principles of universal meeting design including marketing and best practices for room setups, food & beverage and transportation.

  • Learn about what to look for in venue selection to ensure your event is accessible and inclusive.
  • Learn about universal meeting design practices that make your events more accessible for all potential participants.
  • Learn how to avoid the common logistics practices that result in unintended participation barriers.

Dating Advice for Associations

This rapid-fire session provides practical advice for associations on how to “date” their current or prospective members. For this session, Mariela draws on her own research on how to engage and retain volunteers, as well as personal experiences and industry research to help associations to have successful “engagement proposals”. Themes covered include pricing strategies, program design and volunteer engagement and recognition.

  • Learn about pricing strategies that encourage engagement and participation, and those that (unintentionally) discourage it.
  • Discuss how to design membership activities that will resonate with a diverse group of active and potential members.
  • Explore how volunteer opportunities and recognition can be designed to be more meaningful for the volunteer and the association.

Contact Us

Mariela McIlwraith, CMP, CMM, MBA

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