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Meetings Industry Advocacy Hub Makes Progress

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"We have to justify our relevance."

Thatís the biggest issue on the minds of meeting professionals today, according to advocacy expert Roger Rickard. Itís also the impetus behind the newly launched Meetings Industry Advocacy Hub, founded by the Convention Industry Council, in partnership and Rickardís Voices in Advocacy.

The Hub was first announced during the CIC Conclave and then again at AIBTM, and while progress, by design, has been slow and steady, the group has been signing up supporters and starting to put the pieces in place to create an online, on-call advocacy channel; share communications, information and tools to help raise industry awareness both internally and externally; and expand the database of individual champions.

"We are building a grassroots database of industry advocates, open to all meeting industry professionals, whereby we can impact and protect our industry with the objective to educate, engage and move the meetings community to act when needed," said Rickard.

The reaction so far has been overwhelmingly positive. "There hasnít been one negative comment so far - and why should there be," he said. " Every day we see new people joining the Advocacy Hub - our initial count is probably in the hundreds right now. Our goal is to gain as many people as possible. We need to form a broad-based inclusive coalition to achieve success. We are still in the beginning stages - this is a marathon, not a sprint. But we already are starting to communicate information on current legislation before the U.S. Congress."

Beneficial communications eventually will include:
  • Advocacy tools and tips
  • Industry action alerts
  • Legislative and media alerts
  • Industry position statements
  • Industry crisis management responses
  • Unified meetings industry messaging
Sometimes, the information might be as basic as who to call, when to call them, how to reach them, and what to say to make an impact and get the message across.

CIC, as an organization whose members represent the major meetings, conventions, tradeshow and travel associations, has long recognized the need for the industry to develop a unified voice and a unified message, so the Advocacy Hub made perfect sense.

The Hub is in the process of building out its community, which will include a website with landing pages for specific industry segments and a social media presence. The group also is in the process of bringing in more major industry partners.

While much of the work and focus of the Advocacy Hub is directed to efforts and responses to legislation affecting the meetings industry, another generic goal is to educate and inform about the value of face to face - an initiative that extends the boundaries of influence into the corporate world and gives direct purpose to many corporate meetings professionals.

To "join the effort," sign up as an advocate today. 


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