MPI’s World Education Congress (WEC), held June 19-22 in Las Vegas at MGM Grand Conference Center, began with a TED Talk-style Opening General Session that mixed up its traditional formula, and the fresh experience unfurled from there.

The Opening General Session was headlined by wellness and alternative medicine expert Deepak Chopra at MGM’s Park Theater, and later New Wave standard-bearers The B-52s performed at the Opening Night Celebration at MGM’s Park entertainment promenade.

MPI News

MPI WEC 2017 posted impressive attendance numbers, attracting more than 2,400 attendees, according MPI President & CEO Paul Van Deventer, with a 60 percent planner to 40 percent supplier ratio.

MPI also announced a major renovation of its website, scheduled to debut in December, that will roll its chapter websites into a single domain.

The Town Hall Meeting, held on the last day of the show, featured a panel of Freeman Audio Visual Solutions Executive Vice President Jim Russell, MPI Foundation chair; ConferenceDirect CEO Brian D. Stevens, chair of MPI; and Van Deventer, leading his fifth WEC.

Stevens said the association is still struggling back from severe financial difficulties sustained by the 2007 recession, but MPI is solvent and rebuilding its resources steadily. Van Deventer said the association’s cash reserves have increased 50 percent this year when compared to last year, and that membership increased 1 percent last year and 2.2 percent so far this year, for a total of 17,400 current members. MPI had a peak membership of 24,000 in 2007 before the economic collapse, with its membership nadir at 15,500 in the depths of the recession.

Education News

MPI introduced several new education offerings from the MPI Academy at MPI WEC 2017 as part of its new Executive Education Series, including the Women in Leadership Program and a designation program for the MPI Experiential Event Series.

In addition, the association formally announced it is collaborating with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at the University of Southern Mississippi to develop educational programming and resources, with the first course, Emergency Preparedness for Meetings and Events, debuting at WEC 2017.

MPI’s Executive Education Series is the association’s answer to providing more education for senior-level and executive meeting professionals. The programming is not only designed for individuals with executive-level experience in the industry, but also for mid-level professionals aspiring to advance.

To learn more about these new education programs, visit

Check out more MPI WEC coverage, including slideshows, Speaker Spotlight videos and an On Location video on safety and security, at