How a Meeting Planner Can Change a Life

I had a meeting and it changed a life. My life. I hope that it can change a few more lives as well.

Last week, the day before the Thanksgiving Holiday, I met with Calum Maclean, a true Irish Gentleman, and we had a talk about how we could change a few lives working together. In turn, this has made me a crusader, thus changing my life. One meeting, one life changed.

We talked about an organization that he is involved with (not his day job, this one is a true calling), Clean the World.

Cleaning the world is a big task, so they are starting with just a little piece of it, namely Haiti. One half of an island in the Caribbean that is in dire need of help. Help in many ways, economic, political, security…you name it, they need help with it. Clean the World cannot help all of these problems, so they aim to help in another way. They help people, namely children, get cleaned up.

Getting clean is fun, at least here in the States. I take 20 minutes out of my day when my little one needs a bath and it turns into a free-for-all of cars, trucks (yes, they sink), boats and buckets. Suds become mountains that stir the imagination and boats can fly.  In other parts of the world, getting clean is serious business.

How serious? Some of the major causes in death among neonates and children under five can be directly attributed to cleanliness. That is not play time, it is deadly.


How does Clean the World help?

They have a radical idea that is so simple it boggles the mind. They simply recycle the soap and shampoo that we leave behind when we check out of a hotel room. Ewww you say, wow I say (they do collect, batch and sterilize)…

Even simple ideas need funding and support.

Hotels that contribute pay for the shipping of the materials (about .09 cents per occupied room) to the center where the soap and shampoo are processed to be sent. The materials are then packed, loaded on shipping containers and sent off to Haiti where they actually make a difference in the lives of not only children, but the adults that care for them.

Imagine, if you are a parent taking care of a sick child, you are unable to do the things that can change your life. Clean children can lead to healthy children, freeing the parents to work, contribute and help change their country.

How can meeting and event planners support Clean the World?

That is the easy part; simply exercise your buying power. Make hotels understand that this is not only good for the world, it is good for business. By joining the fight and contributing, the hotels and resorts that participate have a better chance of earning your business.  A meeting or event changing a life (or one thousand lives).

Meeting and event planners also have the opportunity to share this information with their attendees, increasing the value of your meeting or event by simply holding your meeting or event. No cost, no fuss and no extra effort (on your part) required.

In addition, it adds one more piece to the sustainability puzzle of your event strategy. One more item that is not simply thrown into the trash to clog a landfill or pollute the ground water. It may end up there eventually, but at least the soap and shampoo lived a full life before being cast off.

Some of the hotels that participate are ones that you know well, from the Hard Rock in Chicago, the Lodge at Vail Colorado to the Interlaken Inn and Conference Center in Connecticut and even Crown Plaza Universal Florida. Hotels you know, hotels you use (See, these hotels participate and they got a plug from me, exposure they were not expecting, but may pay off someday). For a full list of participating properties, click here.

So, the next time you are planning a meeting or event, ask. Ask the hotel if they participate, if not, ask them if they are willing to join the fight in order to earn your business. The nominal amount of money that is required on their part, pales in comparison to the amount of meeting spend you have on the table. Make it a contract requirement and follow up. If every meeting or event planner required this as a right to host your meeting, imagine the lives that would be changed. It staggers the mind and arm twisting in contract negotiations is actually fun.

Are we this bold? Do we care enough to even ask? Together, we can make the world a little better. If everyone, everywhere, did just a little, the gains would be enormous.

To learn more, visit Clean The World.

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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