by Tracey B. Smith, CMP, CMM
Every time I see another report of a terrorist attack or a politician spouting that certain people do not belong in the United States, my stomach goes into knots. First of all, I don’t like confrontations. Second, all this spewing of hate gets me riled up.
I am not sure I can muster true forgiveness for the terrorist couple in San Bernardino, or, for that matter, the Aurora cinema shooter. I certainly cannot forgive the evil-doers of 9/11 and Paris and elsewhere. So, I got to thinking about what I could do.
The meetings industry is unique in that we planners and suppliers do business together all over the world. And, we do it peacefully. I am always awed by IMEX, because hundreds of countries come together to promote meetings, travel and tourism. No one gets into a fight there. No one openly shuns another because of race or religion.
It is precisely because of the meetings and travel industry that people come together for a common purpose, and often leave with a new understanding. So, I intend to talk about how our industry can push the answers this world needs to be peaceful, prosperous and safe. I will encourage people to go somewhere new to get a different perspective. Those who travel tend to understand that, for the most part, we all have the same needs and desires: to be productive in our communities and to go home to have dinner with our families each day. It is not any more complicated than that.
I’ve been apolitical all my life, which really means I don’t want any of those buffoons representing me. I struggle with each election, worried that the buffoon I finally vote for will mess things up totally. So far, I’ve managed to get by all of them and the world still stands. We’ll survive this next one, too, but it IS up to us to keep the message going: when we meet, we show a few more people the love, and the world changes.
Tracey B Smith, CMP, CMM discovered the meetings industry in 1989 and never looked back. In those years, she has planned corporate meetings and conferences, association meetings and public events.
In 2010, Smith joined the SPIN, developing programs for the organization’s members and the first three SPINCon conferences. Currently, Smith is a contract meeting manager for American Express Meetings & Events. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and various dogs.
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