“Leaders, commit.” That was the message delivered on Thursday by Jodi Low, founder of U & Improved, a heart-based leadership development consulting company, from the stage at Sheraton Grand Los Angeles, and demonstrated at the one-on-one tables in California Ballroom at Smart Meeting Southern California.

“Commitment is key,” Low said. It is so easy to shine just by following through with what you say you will do because that is rare today. Thoughts become actions and actions become habits, so watch what you feed your brain, she said.

Looking for bonus points? A hand-written “thank you” card makes people feel special because it shows you care enough to do more, she suggested.

The group of 60 planners meeting with suppliers in L.A. committed to going over and above by bringing RFPs for upcoming meetings. Suppliers receive an average of eight to 15 requests for proposals per event, according to exit polls.

Celebrate Connections

The group took another piece of Low’s advice to heart. “Celebrate your wins,” she counseled. “We are often so busy planning the next event or meeting the next deadline that we don’t take time to reflect on what went well,” she observed. By pausing for a moment to appreciate what you have accomplished, you build up momentum to keep raising the bar.

Smart Meetings CEO Marin Bright marked the passing of 10 years of connecting the industry by packing the event in Los Angeles with even more “ideas worth stealing,” from Creative Coverings fabric inspiration to Sugarwish gifting candies and a hands-on tech bar from Tara Thomas at The Meeting Pool. Oh, and there were cupcakes from Los Angeles-favorite Georgetown Cupcakes because nothing says “celebration” like cream cheese frosting. And did we mention the swag bags, with more than $500 worth of goodies, including plush travel pillow/blankets from Halo Branded Solutions?

That commitment to creative presentations was a perfect fit with the host property, which shut down its District bar for the welcome reception to serve signature “opium” drinks, a balanced gin and grapefruit mixture presented in custom-labeled, individual bottles to be poured over ice blocks and rose petals for a sipping sensation that engaged all the senses.

“The Sheraton brand is based on engaging people on an emotional level, going beyond,” said Tracy Barr, director of sales and marketing for Sheraton Grand Los Angeles.

The after-party took attendees to Sheraton’s outdoor deck for gourmet s’mores by Smoreology, wood-fired pizzas from The Urban Oven at The Bloc LA and experiential wine-blending from Wine Militia.

A Smart Meeting has always been about the networking and shared journey. As Steve Pufpaf, vice president of sales for Marriott International, explained during the plated lunch of locally sourced produce, this industry is all about getting there in style. That is why the company’s new loyalty program, Bonvoy, reflects Marriott’s commitment to “good travel” by offering local experiences in exchange for rewards points.

RelatedMarriott to Launch Integrated Loyalty Brand