Meetings at Marriott; WhiteSpace at Work

Keynote speaker Juliet Funt believes meeting attendees should be given permission to relax and regenerate — and that there are retention and wellness costs when they're not.

Keynote speaker Juliet Funt believes meeting attendees should be given permission to relax and regenerate — and that there are retention and wellness costs when they’re not.

Today’s Keynotes: Arne Sorenson and Juliet Funt

It’s easy to lose focus in a world filled with ever-increasing distractions. This year’s General Session presentations will inspire you to think creatively throughout the whirlwind of your day — and to give yourself a break once in a while.

Arne Sorenson

Arne Sorenson

Today’s Opening General Session features Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International. In an interview with Thought Leader speaker Mel Robbins, Sorenson will discuss Marriott’s recent acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as well as Marriott’s focus on innovation in meetings through programs such as Meetings Imagined and the enhanced Meeting Services App.

“Our global sales team and planners at our hotels around the world are knowledgeable and strive to help planners achieve their goals,” Sorenson said in an interview with PCMA’s Convene magazine. “Our Meetings Imagined concept allows us to help planners create something that goes beyond ‘a meeting,’ and delivers an experience where people feel connected, inspired, and where meeting goals are accomplished.”

Juliet Funt

Juliet Funt

Then, today’s Networking Luncheon General Session will remind you to stop and take a deep breath. Juliet Funt will focus on the importance of bringing what she calls “white space” to individuals, organizations, and their meetings — to teach them to dial back on clutter and low-value activity and give themselves downtime to be creative, thoughtful, and recuperative.

Founder and CEO of a company called WhiteSpace at Work, Funt is a veteran speaker and organizational consultant. She thinks the average meeting doesn’t allow for enough white space and that attendees should be given permission to relax and regenerate — and that there are retention and wellness costs when they’re not.

“The meaningfulness of the pause,” Funt told Convene, “the meaningfulness of the hall time, the meaningfulness of the interpersonal freedom to reboot, connect, chat, be improvisational — I think that tends to be downplayed in a typical conference.”

Convening Leaders attendees can plan to walk away with ideas as to how to create physical and organizational white space so employees can recuperate, be present, be productive, and have a great attitude when they come into the office or attend a conference.