Leading the Path Forward: Reconnect. Uplift. Innovate.
The Meet Minneapolis Annual Meeting took place at the Minneapolis Convention Center on March 3 with an enthusiastic crowd of approximately 350 industry supporters and stakeholders. Our event theme was “Leading the Path Forward: Reconnect. Uplift. Innovate.”
There was a collective exhale at having the opportunity for our industry to gather in person after a hiatus from conducting a live annual meeting. The Meet Minneapolis team has worked hard over the course of the pandemic to stay connected to our stakeholders and partners through virtual means. Those virtual gatherings were practical and efficient, but lacked the personal connections that we, who make our living promoting live gatherings, truly crave. This year’s annual meeting was the perfect way to accelerate our recovery.
During our annual meeting, our team reported on the challenges we have faced and their impact. However, we were also able to share uplifting stories of overcoming adversity.
For example, our sales team achieved 98% of its future booking goal in 2021, even when cancellations were accounted for. The sales team managed more than 150 cancellations last year, but they remained focused.
We also celebrated the launch of the Minneapolis Cultural Districts website. This work will support the city’s commitment to seven diverse areas of our city by supporting the unique cultural history of the neighborhoods within these areas.
And the most recent season of the ever-popular TV show, “The Bachelorette,” highlighted our local resident, Michelle Young, and her experiences in the city – many of them with Meet Minneapolis partner businesses. An average of 3 million viewers tuned in weekly and saw positive images of Minneapolis, which we capitalized on through marketing and social media efforts.
Another uplifting portion of our Meet Minneapolis Annual Meeting was the panel of leaders who provide insights into the NCAA Women’s Final Four set for April 1-3. This will be the first Women’s Final Four with fans in the arena since 2019! Our thanks go out to panel moderator, Courtney Ries, Meet Minneapolis’ SVP of Destination Branding and Strategy, and the panelists:
- Wendy Blackshaw, President and CEO, Minnesota Sports and Events
- Julie Manning, Deputy Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator, University of Minnesota (Julie is also a Meet Minneapolis board member)
- Jessie Stomski Seim, General Counsel, Prairie Island Indian Community
Plus, we continued our ongoing education to understand the systemic racial issues that challenge our community through our Meet Minneapolis Legacy Project speaker series. And we celebrated our annual award winners.
We were fortunate enough to cap off a day of reconnecting and celebrating with a big dose of innovation. Dr. Simone Ahuja – founder of the global innovation and strategy firm Blood Orange – was our keynote speaker. Dr. Ahuja specializes in innovation strategy, disruptive innovation, and frugal innovation. She and her company are locally based and have worked with companies such as Target, UnitedHealth and Proctor and Gamble.
Her message resonated with those in attendance, as she shared her experience and research that proves innovation is something that is within all of us. According to Dr. Ahuja, innovation is the power of experimentation. For greater insight, check out her book “Disrupt it Yourself: Eight Ways to Hack a Better Business – Before the Competition Does.”
I want to take a moment to thank our Meet Minneapolis team for its perseverance in the face of many challenges. We also want to express our appreciation for our stakeholders and partners who have been working side-by-side with us as we move our industry forward.