Celebrating Global Meetings Industry Day: An Interview with the DI Meetings & Events Team

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<span>Celebrating Global Meetings Industry Day: An Interview with the DI Meetings & Events Team </span>
Bottom Line:

In order to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day, we wanted to connect with those who know the industry the best – Destinations International’s Meetings and Events team!

Today, Destinations International joins the annual worldwide recognition of Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) which champions the benefits and impact of professional meetings and events. GMID, fueled by the U.S. Travel Association’s Meetings Mean Business Coalition, spotlights the proven value that business meetings, conferences, conventions, trade shows and exhibitions bring to businesses, workers and the economy.  The meetings industry generates billions in travel spending and directly supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States each year. This revenue and employment opportunities are critical to the success of local economies. 

In order to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day #GMID, we wanted to connect with those who know the industry the best – Destinations International’s Meetings and Events team! We sat down with Andrea Lane Crawley, CMP, DES, Senior Manager of Meetings & Events, and John Moritz, Meetings and Events Manager, to talk about why #MeetingsMatter and to learn a bit more about each of their journeys in the industry. 

What drew you to the events industry and can you tell us a little bit about your journey? 

During spring break of my junior year in college, I attended a Sports Management Conference at George Washington University (GWU). There, I learned that Sports Management was only a piece of the growing and evolving tourism and hospitality industry. I became intrigued by GWU's Master of Science in Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management (MSTHEM) program (then known as Master of Tourism Administration) and enrolled after graduating. In choosing to expand my educational path from sports, I found my passion for planning and producing meetings and events within associations.


I stumbled into the events industry unexpectedly during my college years. It all began with a small initiative to bring together students from across the United States to our campus. What started as a modest endeavor quickly evolved into a large-scale event, welcoming over 500 attendees. Despite the challenges, I found myself drawn to the intricate process of planning and executing an event that brought people together in meaningful ways.  

There's a certain magic in orchestrating moments where individuals connect, learn, and grow. Whether it's witnessing friendships form or witnessing 'aha' moments among peers, there's an undeniable satisfaction in knowing that your efforts contribute to creating memorable experiences. It's this ability to craft moments that have the potential to positively impact someone's future that fuels my passion for the events industry.  

Over time, I realized that event planning wasn't just a job for me; it was a calling. There's a unique satisfaction in being behind the scenes, orchestrating every detail to ensure that attendees walk away enriched and inspired. From that first college event to my current role, my journey in the events industry has been marked by a deep-seated belief in the power of human connection and the transformative potential of well-executed events.



What initiatives are you hoping to implement to make DI's upcoming events more sustainable? 

In alignment with our Strategic Priority: Destination Stewardship, the Meetings and Events Team has been intentional with implementing sustainable elements for our events. Starting from the Request For Proposals (RFPs), we ask destinations about their standards and practices of sustainability (e.g. energy-efficient lighting, recycling programs, food and waste plan, etc.). We're also moving towards more eco-friendly marketing through the use of QR codes, digital downloads, and printed signage made from biodegradable materials. Additionally, we work with our venues to provide water stations with recyclable materials (e.g. ceramic mugs and glassware), request aluminum-bottled or boxed water for our speakers and encourage our attendees to bring their reusable water bottles onsite.


What would be a piece of advice you would share with someone starting in the events industry?   

Value each and every connection you make. In the events industry, relationships are paramount. Whether it's with clients, vendors, colleagues, or industry professionals, every connection you forge holds the potential to enhance your career and elevate your events. Take the time to nurture these relationships, listen attentively, and understand the unique needs and perspectives of those you work with. Building strong connections not only fosters trust and collaboration but also opens doors to new opportunities and insights. Embrace networking opportunities, both within and outside your immediate circle, as they can lead to invaluable partnerships and friendships. Remember, in the events industry, success is often a result of the strength of your network.


Why do #MeetingsMatter?   

#MeetingsMatter because they provide invaluable opportunities for people to come together. Being in the industry for over 10 years, I've seen firsthand how meetings and events can drive a positive impact. They cultivate a space for creativity, innovation, and idea-exchange; strengthen relationships and partnerships with clients and colleagues; provide opportunities for both professional and organizational growth; and allow a space for advocacy and setting industry standards.


Meetings matter because they foster unexpected conversations and connections, sparking innovative ideas and decisions. In an increasingly digital world, face-to-face interactions are crucial for genuine human connection and nuanced communication. They drive productivity, cultivate relationships, and catalyze progress by bringing together diverse voices and stakeholders to navigate challenges and seize opportunities. Simply put, meetings are where ideas are born, decisions are made, and relationships are cultivated, shaping the trajectory of our endeavors. 


Meetings matter to our communities, our businesses and our economy, driving $119 Billion in travel spending and supporting nearly 600K American jobs. Andrea and John could not have said it better: meetings are more than just gatherings; they are the breeding grounds for innovation, connection and growth.

We encourage you to carry forward the spirit of #MeetingsMatter by sharing our experiences and visions using U.S. Travel Association's Tool Kit to inspire others to recognize the invaluable role meetings play in driving economy.

Destinations International recognizes meetings and events as crucial catalysts for the growth and vitality of our industry, ensuring the advancement of destinations in the United States and worldwide.

About the Author

Ophélie Le Livec

Content Marketing Manager
Destinations International

Ophélie, also known as Ofé, is a passionate marketing storyteller with 11+ years of international experience in the travel and tourism industry. With a strong background across various departments of DMOs, her expertise shines in delivering innovative solutions and crafting captivating marketing plans that drive visitation and revenue growth. As a DI 30U30 class of 2022 emerging leader, she deeply understands diverse markets and effortlessly adapts to different audiences.

Ophélie spent over six years at VisitNorfolk before joining Destinations International in November 2023. During her time there, she made history by crafting VisitNorfolk's first in-house City Guide, a remarkable accomplishment that continued to thrive year after year. She also oversaw all in-house design, including presentations, flyers, brochures, and more, while actively collaborating with every department to maintain a strong and consistent brand cohesion and awareness.

Passionate about travel and storytelling, Ofé's purpose is to help partners and members and offer unique ideas that leave a lasting impact and hope to make meaningful connections and friends worldwide. 

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