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Three Tips to Planning Purposeful and Successful Industry Events

By Nicole Rotatori, Nicole Rotatori, Associate Manager, Events, CECP

We recently finished another successful Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose© (CECP) Summit event this past May. Together with 200+ senior social impact and corporate responsibility professionals from the world’s leading global companies, we all joined in Boston for The Age of Agility: A Defining Moment for Business.

The event focused on powerful insights on trends, partnerships, and the impact of creating a better world through business. The variety of session topics reflect the many issues companies are currently facing to create long-term value for all stakeholders, such as: communicating ESG goals, addressing sustainability challenges, advancing health equity, creating long-term business value, innovating through corporate foundations, and more. But something that is sometimes lost in translation is all the careful planning that happens behind the scenes organizing the event. That’s where my team comes in. Here are three main takeaways and recommendations for other event professionals planning big annual events:

  1. Technology & Sustainability. To be more sustainable and save on paper, we leaned into technology at the event. We utilized our Summit app on Whova and encouraged our attendees to do the same. The app provided attendees with the agenda, the ability to add sessions to their own personal calendars, answer live polling during sessions, as well as connect with other attendees before, during, and after. We also created QR codes to share links to our reports, issue briefs, and calendar for our upcoming events. Lastly, we did away with unnecessary swag and purchased our own backdrop for the mainstage, which was printed on biodegradable fabric with eco-friendly ink and will be reused at future events.
  1. The Power of Connection. Based on 2022’s Summit Survey, we heard attendees asking for more networking opportunities and more table discussions with their peers during sessions. Message received! We understand the value of getting to spend two days in-person with others in the corporate responsibility space—including sharing ideas, asking questions, and meeting new and old friends. We had two evening receptions with fun games–we saw those who were enjoying Jenga–along with table discussions at most of our breakouts, networking breakfasts, and lunches as well as more breaktimes during the agenda to catch-up and connect.
  1. New City and Venue. For the first time in the history of Summit events, we moved to a new city. Hosted by Wynn Resorts (a CECP affiliate member) at their 5-Star Encore Boston Harbor location, it afforded attendees the opportunity to make their overnight accommodations at the venue where we held the Summit. For attendees, this meant that there was no need to catch a cab when they could leave their hotel rooms and be at the event in less than 5 minutes. There was also access to 16 restaurants on the property and it was near Boston during their down time. It gave attendees the ability to truly disconnect from their daily responsibilities and focus on learning, engaging, and connecting with CECP staff, speakers, and their peers.

Integrating prior feedback and making seemingly small adjustments like changing cities and leveraging new technologies can create a big difference in an event—especially because lots of events are back in person. Taking the time to plan a special experience for industry leaders to gain professional development, new connections, and space to share ideas, as well as challenges, is why I love what I do!

Check out the 2023 CECP Summit Flickr album to view photos of the event and watch this video with some highlights from this year’s event.