Editor’s Note: Smart Meetings asked Anh Nguyen, one of the driving forces behind the push to take Global Meeting Industry Day virtual on April 14 and turn it into a record-breaking show of force, to share the origin story of the movement and hashtag in her own words.
For those who rely on bringing people together for their livelihoods, the world has shifted, with no real signs of when or how it will ever shift back. Many event planners have watched decades of work be completely unraveled in the span of days due to efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). They find themselves grieving their events, businesses, financial goals and career plans.
See also: GMID 2020 Goes Virtual
Many are now living a life of back-to-back conference calls, lengthy meetings and hundreds of emails trying to react, pivot and salvage what was left of scheduled programs, trying to help clients and stakeholders navigate this unfamiliar territory—while being scared to the core themselves. I still wake up every day, hoping this is just a bad dream.
As the industry sorts through the fallout of the pandemic, the one source of comfort and solace for many has been the connection, community and support that has emerged. At a time when everyone is being asked to physically distance themselves, the events industry has come together like it has never done before. Resources, new technology, training, education, advocacy efforts and peer groups are pouring out from every corner of the industry to help support and protect each other.
Out of this spirt was born a grassroots initiative, called #GMIDGoesVirtual. When it became evident that the industry was not going to be able to host live events for Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), the international forum for celebrating the event industry, a group of event professionals, connected only by their passion for the industry, set out to create something that aims to deliver positivity and hope to the industry.
It all started with a tweet I posted spontaneously:
Maybe for #GMID this year, we should just try to break the world record for largest, virtual meeting ever held. How many #eventprofs can we get to an online meeting? Everyone just shares their favourite thing about working in this amazing industry. @meetingsmeanbiz @MPI @pcmahq
— Anh Nguyen, CMP (@atnguyen) March 13, 2020
I think the tweet just resonated with people because it had a hopeful, positive tone, something the industry really needed at the time. This year, we need to have a GMID celebration more than ever. We need to celebrate the resiliency, tenacity and perseverance of the people that make up this industry.
A Global Movement
The project #GMIDGoesVirtual was created and within a few weeks has turned into a global movement.
On April 14, 2020, the group will attempt to bring together 15,000 #EventProfs from all over the world for a 30-minute virtual event to break the Guinness World Record for largest virtual event, while connecting a community that desperately needs something to celebrate.
We are so privileged to work in this industry. The connections, the community, the energy—it is enough to pull anyone through the darkest times—I can’t think of a better way to show the strength of our industry than smashing this record!
To join the world record breaking attempt, sign up here.
Anh Nguyen, CMP, possesses over 15 years of event production and management experience and is principal and founder of Spark Event Management Inc, a boutique event-management firm in Calgary, Alberta. As an award-winning industry leader, she has served on the boards of her local MPI and PCMA chapters.