IMEX America’s Smart Monday educational event kicked off on a reflective note, with MPI President & CEO Paul Van Deventer leading a moment of silence with meetings industry leaders, and joining IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer to share some words of community and encouragement with the audience.

“In the last few months our industry has been affected by an unprecedented number of natural disasters and terrorist acts,” Van Deventer said. “Our community has come together and stands strong.”

After leading a moment of silence, Van Deventer continued: “When we meet, we change the world, and you are the catalyst behind those live experiences that change the world.”

Bauer then took the stage and addressed the audience with a message of togetherness in the face of the mass shooting that rocked Las Vegas.

“It’s really important that we show our support to the communities that have been hard hit by the natural and manmade disasters of the last month,” Bauer said.