From July 29 through Aug. 2, the Event Services Professionals Association held its ninth-annual National Celebrate Services Week, an effort aimed at encouraging event services managers to give back to their local communities.
"Everyone in the convention service profession works hard to ensure our work has the kind of positive impact that brings repeat business," said Jamie Huckleberry, ESPA president and director of event services at Pittsburgh's David L. Lawrence Convention Center. "It's nice to take time to appreciate one another and the work we do collectively. It is important we recognize our impact on successful events and being true partners to meeting planners."
The following are examples of the week's efforts by some ESPA members:
- The David L. Lawrence Convention Center donated items to Dress for Success, which help empower women by providing professional attire. Employees at the center also attended a reception and paint party provided by Visit Pittsburgh.
- Destination Cleveland invited local convention and hotel staff to learn more about their city on a trolley tour. They also partnered with Shoes and Clothes for Kids to help provide appropriate clothing, shoes and schools supplies to local children with the aim of boosting their attendance at school attendance.
- Discover the Palm Beaches in Florida supported St. George’s Center, a safe place for the homeless to rest and enjoy a hot meal. The convention and visitors bureau also collected clothing, hygiene products and back-to-school items for the center, and served lunch at the facility.
- The Fairmont Palliser in Calgary, Canada, held a bake sale and auction to profit the OH Ranch Education Program, which educates local elementary school children about Alberta’s history, western heritage, ecosystems and sustainability.
- The Oklahoma City CVB collected donations for and sent volunteers to the Infant Crisis Services organization, which helps babies, toddlers and families in times of need. They also delivered cookies to service teams at each hotel in the city and held a luncheon.
- Visit Austin (Texas) held a school supply drive for the Welman Project, volunteered at the Central Texas Food Bank and hosted a panel discussion about the best practices for hosting events in Austin.
- Visit Frisco (Texas) partnered with Frisco Family Services and local hotels to sponsor local students, providing them with new back-to-school outfits and shoes. Event service professionals also gathered for an afternoon of inspiration and innovation, taking part in activities developed by the Frisco Improv Players.
- Employees of Florida's Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Convention Center spent an afternoon sorting canned goods for Feeding Tampa Bay.
- Michigan's Greater Lansing CVB employees visited the Greater Lansing Food Bank to sort donations.
- The Greater Raleigh CVB in North Carolina hosted an event aimed at applauding local event service managers' commitment to the meetings industry and also held a school-supply drive to benefit Wake County Passage Home's annual backpack drive.
- Meet Minneapolis hosted a breakfast for services partners. They also made tie blankets to donate to House of Charity’s local shelter.
- NYC & Company hosted its annual celebrate services event, where they hosted hotel partners for a networking reception featuring NYC-themed trivia and an interactive experience at the Cauldron.
As an organization, ESPA says it is dedicated to elevating the event and convention service profession by delivering education, tools and resources to service professionals to help them succeed in their careers. For more information on ESPA and National Celebrate Services Week, visit www.espaonline.org.