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Green Meeting Industry Council
700 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 510
Alexandria, VA 22314

Member Spotlight - August 2012
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Member Spotlight

Get to know our members. Every month we profile a different member who helps to make the GMIC community so unique. Explore the links below to learn more about our network of engaged Sustainability professionals.

Gina Broel
Sr. Event Marketing Manager

Why did you join GMIC?
GMIC is one of the best organizations to connect with others, share ideas and learn from one another. I absolutely love being with smart, like-minded people who truly have a passion for sustainability and making a difference in the world. The connections that are made through GMIC are incredibly valuable, both from a business and personal perspective.

How long have you been a member?
I’ve been to 5 GMIC Sustainable Events Meetings, and I think have been an official member for the last 3 years.

What is your sustainability philosophy?
It’s a total cliché, but my philosophy on sustainability is that it truly is a journey – a continual learning process and evolution. For instance, there are challenges with executing sustainable practices at every single one of our events, but our focus continues to be on things like developing great relationship with venues, cities & vendors, identifying where the biggest impact areas are for each event, and measuring what matters. We’ll never be perfect and have it all figured out 100%, but we’re committed to improving with each opportunity. Every little step can make a difference.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your life and work?
In addition to my regular job as an Event Marketing Manager, I’m also the key point of contact for our ‘Sustainable Events Initiative’ at Microsoft. I try to infuse and evangelize the benefits of incorporating sustainable practices into all our large, ‘Tier 1’ events, and try to design and execute consistent processes and measurements accordingly. In my regular life, I’ve been known to often drive my husband and friends crazy by picking through trash at get-togethers and helping separate recyclable items.

What is your greatest satisfaction in being a member of GMIC? (or what sets GMIC apart from other organizations you are a member of?)
I am always inspired and energized after being at a GMIC event. There is really no other organization that I’m a part of that renews my faith in what people can do and achieve.

What would you share with others just getting started incorporating sustainability or green practices into their works?
Just take the plunge and start somewhere. When we first started our event sustainability practices in 2008 at Microsoft it was all about addressing that low-hanging fruit (e.g. eliminating water bottles, etc.), but since then we’ve really been able to refine our efforts and continue to evolve them much more holistically and strategically. There definitely is no one-size-fits-all strategy – you continually need to define your goals, assess opportunities and trade-offs, and figure out how to best execute with the resources that you have. Definitely things such as the APEX standards and other mechanisms will help folks have a little more structure and guidance in terms of executing on their own sustainability programs.

What do your attendees/employees notice the most from your sustainability efforts?
I think our attendees definitely appreciate that we are taking steps to make our events more responsible, and really look favorably on the ways that we do that and communicate that commitment. It particularly hits home with them when they can be a part of something tangible like participating in one of our volunteer activities that really helps make their overall event experience even more meaningful. From an internal Microsoft perspective, I think while there is always satisfaction in just doing the right thing for our planet, it really hits home when we can show that sustainable practices can actually help save money to an event’s bottom line as well.

What do you need from the industry to continue to advance in the realm of sustainability?
I think many of the resources that are currently coming out around the standards, measurement tools, etc. will provide folks in the industry with some helpful structure and greater consistency. Beyond that, I think just continuing to provide the opportunities for folks to get together, have in-depth conversations about a variety of sustainability topics, and share experiences and best practices is extraordinarily helpful.