The 73rd annual Canadian Geotechnical Society (CGS) Conference was held … well everywhere! As the COVID-19 situation worsened in the spring, the GeoCalgary organizing committee had to make the difficult decision to pivot to a virtual conference. Through the resilience and determination of the local committee, the Conference was a huge success, with over 550 attendees.
The transition from a face to face Conference to a potential virtual event had strong support from sponsors and CGS memebrs and their ongoing commitment helped to make the final decision of going ahead with holding the GeoVirtual event.
While initially disrupted by COVID-19, the program planning remained strong and included over 150 papers and some phenomenal keynote speakers. Although the typical networking traditions could not be held as planned, the Conference continued to honour the award recipients during the Legget Award and CGS Awards presentations.
While the Conference this year had a different feel, it was an exciting event and a proof of the Society’s resilience and innovation. Thank you to everyone who made GeoVirtual 2020 another well-attended and worthwhile CGS Conference!
Congratulations to the ISBNPA XChange Initiative for winning Whova’s Most Proficient Customers Contest in June 2020! Most attendees at this event actively used the mobile app & web app to engage & connect with other attendees virtually, while also attending the virtual sessions.
The 2020 Annual Meeting planned for Auckland, New Zealand had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 but the ISBNPA Executive Committee decided to give the members another way of staying connected.
ISBNPA Xchange Initiative offered all presenters accepted for 2020 Annual Meeting, an opportunity to present, showcase their work and research, despite not being able to meet face to face. ISBNPA used Whova as a platform for sharing the presentations and to network. The attendance and enthusiasm everyone expressed throughout these challenging times was overwhelming and the Venue West Team was happy to support our long-standing client in organizing this successful virtual conference.
Venue West Conference Services was proud and excited to be part of the Local Organizing Committee for IAPCO’s 51st General Assembly and Annual Meeting, especially since it had been almost 30 years since the founder of Venue West, Betty Fata, hosted the event in Vancouver. Most of all, we welcomed the opportunity to work closely with the two other Vancouver-based PCOs, International Conference Services (ICS) and MCI Group Canada to make the IAPCO 2020 Annual Meeting the best ever.
IAPCO 2020 was organized by three Vancouver based professional congress organizers, Venue West Conference Services, International Conference Services (ICS), and MCI Group Canada (MCI). The combination of teamwork and dedication to providing an unparalleled meeting was also a unique example of all participating organizations letting down their barriers and joining forces in the competitive meetings industry.
“Our three PCO companies have an excellent working relationship. We formed a very special bond and friendship that will always be with us. This partnership will not only benefit Vancouver, by bringing more conferences into the city but will also provide excellent opportunities for us to present a united front to all potential conferences considering Vancouver in their rotation”, says John Daugulis, Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Venue West.
The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers, also known as IAPCO, is a member-driven association raising quality standards in the global meetings industry. Under the theme of ‘Next Generation Leadership’, this conference provided continuing education and interaction with other industry professionals from around the world through high-quality lectures, interactive workshops, engaging social events, and adventurous offsite experiences to inspire and ignite leaders to solve the problems of today, and tomorrow.
The 51st General Assembly and Annual Meeting welcomed over 140 delegates from over 30 countries. It took place in our beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia. The Vancouver Convention Centre West Building offered the perfect setting with outstanding hospitality and breathtaking views of the mountains, the ocean, and Stanley Park.
On the final day of the Annual Meeting, all delegates had the opportunity to rate the event, concluding with the results that IAPCO 2020 was the highest rated Annual Meeting yet. The Annual Meeting took pride in showcasing Vancouver as a destination, and allowing all delegates to fully experience Canadian culture and entertainment at its finest. From incredible outdoor experiences at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park to snowshoeing at dusk at the top of Grouse Mountain Resort, to being welcomed at the Vancouver Aquarium, IAPCO 2020 offered a quintessential Vancouver experience for everyone.
On September 27, Venue West celebrated World Tourism Day and was proud to partner up with our tourism industry partner, Tourism Vancouver and local suppliers and clients, such as PEQISH, The Listel Hotel, Yaletown BIA, G2 Ocean and the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel to make a change with a #ShorelineCleanup.
Joining forces was a great success! Over 40 people came together at two different beautiful shoreline locations in downtown Vancouver and collected more than 20 garbage bags that mainly contained single-use plastic wrappers.
We are still reeling in from the excitement of receiving the Cornerstone Yaletown Award from Yaletown BIA for 50 years of business. Earlier this year Yaletown was honored with the “Award of Recognition” by Heritage BC for their brick restoration project, “Bring Back the Bricks”. Bring Back the Bricks recognizes the cultural and environmental significance of preserving the brick inventory in Yaletown and re-using existing resources. Yaletown BIA also created anniversary banners for Yaletown business depicting the past and the future and where technology meets heritage district. Hence the 8-bit brick design. Thank you again Yaletown! #iHeartYaletown
312,675 liters of water, 107,338 kilowatts of energy, and 6.4 tons of waste – welcome to a typical event in 2019. At a time where organisations have entire departments dedicated to sustainable practices, 41% of all event waste is still ending up in landfills.
There is no doubt that creating sustainable conferences, tradeshows and events present a major challenge for committees looking to deliver buzz-worthy brilliance within tight budgets. But sustainable credentials are now the expectation of sponsors, local governments and a new generation of eco-minded attendees looking for experiences that leave a lasting impact.
The good news is that planning sustainable events within budget can be possible with the right approach and careful planning.
Since the Daugulis family bought Venue West Conference Services in 2005, sustainability and giving back has been a crucial part of the company’s mission and one of its core values. In 2017, Venue West became the only PCO to partner with 1% for the Planet and Bullfrog Power.
As Canada’s leading green energy provider, Bullfrog Power provides Venue West’s office and some of our conferences with 100% sustainable energy. 1% for the Planet is a nonprofit and a global movement that inspired businesses like us to support environmental solutions through annual membership and everyday actions. It is a global network of approved nonprofits who support the environment through protecting food system, lands, waters and animals. As a member of 1% for the Planet, we not only give 1% of our annual sales directly to member nonprofits but we also volunteer as a company throughout the year for one of our local nonprofit partners.
Each year we choose a different nonprofit that we support financially and through volunteering. At the end of the last year, we volunteered at Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau to sort all the Christmas toys gifted to poor families in our neighbourhood. In alignment with IAPCO’s goal to reduce plastics in our oceans, in 2019 we have selected to donate our financial contribution to Plastic Oceans, a nonprofit helping to clean our oceans from plastics. Additionally, in April 2019, Venue West will be volunteering at our local Third Beach in Stanley Park to clean up all waste from the beach.
These partnerships and volunteer activities ensure that we stay aligned to our values and strengthen our employee culture through outdoor team building activities. “Every employee is so proud to be part of the environmental efforts through their everyday work but also through our company’s activities and contributions“, explains Katka Jackson, Marketing Manager of Venue West. John Daugulis, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, adds, “Our company believes that reinforcing sustainability within every activity, in or out of the office, is critically important for businesses today.”
Decisions we make every day will impact the world for decades to come and we have the opportunity to influence the way businesses are run, conferences are held and how delegates feel about them.