Meeting News - June 22, 2009 - (Page 16)

Event Profile Team-Building Charitable Activity Adds To Meeting ROI Premium Event Services president Michelle Yurcak this year designed events tying team-building to charity, allowing a pharmaceutical company client to have its necessary meetings amid company restructuring while staving off any potential perception problems that could come from meeting during tough economic times. The Michigan-based destination management company already had worked with the pharmaceutical company on a charity event with Toys for Tots last year, and the client returned with what Yurcak said has become a common dilemma for corporate meetings programs. Recent downsizing efforts in the company, which included restructuring and redistricting, had made it necessary to meet so employees could get acquainted with new coworkers and managers, but company budgets and outside pressure meant such meetings needed to be handled carefully. “Companies still have to meet because they are undergoing restructuring and reassignment of tasks,” Yurcak said. “They’re under intense scrutiny. Times are tough, so they can’t be blowing money, but they can’t keep their employees cooped up in a hotel, either.” The company had decided it wanted the event to support Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provides free or reduced-cost housing to families of children staying in nearby hospitals. Yurcak negotiated discounts at such retailers as Target to buy items 16 MeetingNews June 22, 2009 By Michael B. Baker on the Ronald McDonald House wish list—food, mattress pads and ironing boards, for example—and set up an event that ended in the company donating those items to the charity. Because the event, designed for about 200 employees, was in January, Yurcak incorporated the presidential inauguration as a theme: Employees were charged with stocking the new White House for the new tenants. A “general store” was crafted, stocked with the charity’s wish list items, and employees participated in rotation activities that allowed them to earn coupons to get the items from the store. “The whole thing was centered around a political rally, and it was fun with an educational twist,” Yurcak said. “There was an underlying team-building aspect to each Meeting benefits families of hospitalized children. rotation focused on communication and building bonds.” The event ended with the company presenting its donations to a charity representative, and several employees were inspired to write their own checks to the charity. The company already has staged the event in its Detroit and Minneapolis regions and is considering repeating it elsewhere, she said. Yurcak now expects to let other companies use the meeting design. “We can duplicate it for other companies, and it works for any charity,” she said. r News Update Court Gives Justice Green Light For The Greenbrier A United States Bankruptcy Court judge last month approved The Greenbrier’s exit from bankruptcy, allowing West Virginia businessman Jim Justice to become the owner and operator of the historic White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., resort. Marriott had pursued a purchase of The Greenbrier’s assets, intending to convert the property to a JW Marriott, but Justice in a surprise bid in early May bought it through a stock purchase from parent company CSX. The Greenbrier in a statement this month said Justice is working with Marriott.“Marriott agreed to withdraw their opposition but asked for the opportunity to assist in marketing The Greenbrier as The Greenbrier,” the resort said. “In return, Marriott will receive a commission from any bookings resulting from their efforts. If the parties fail to reach agreement, then Marriott will receive a break-up fee of $7.5 million.” Justice in a statement called the outcome “a win-winwin for everybody, for the employees, community, CSX, Marriott and The Greenbrier. Now we can put this behind us and really start moving forward with growing our business and restoring our fifth star to our fivestar bloodline.” Meanwhile, The Greenbrier still plans to construct an onsite casino with “tasteful gaming,” as Justice called it in an employee memo. A resort spokesperson said Justice aims to open a casino by the spring. r —Jay Boehmer

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - June 22, 2009

Meeting News - June 22, 2009
Collier County Insert
Meetings Spotlight
MeetingNews Research
Association Watch
Construction Cites
Meeting People
Event Profile
Travel Dashboard
Dateline: Bermuda
Dateline: New York
South Regional
Las Vegas Insert

Meeting News - June 22, 2009