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

Member Spotlight - June 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.

Jamie Nack
Three Squares, Inc.

Why did you join GMIC?
I first learned about GMIC in 2009 when I was invited to present a case study on my work as Director of Sustainability for the 2008 Democratic National Convention at the annual conference held in Pittsburgh. I joined that year and immediately started to work on developing a community in the Southern California area.

I had been in the environmental consulting arena for a number of years and had incorporated sustainable event practices into my company’s standard operating procedures. It was refreshing to learn about an industry organization focused on developing standards and engaging the larger events industry around the topic of sustainability.

How long have you been a member?
Since 2009.

What is your sustainability philosophy?
Make better choices. Living a sustainable lifestyle really is about being able to make better choices which allow you to live well and have a positive impact on the world around you. Being able to live close to your office (or work remotely via a home office) will not only reduce your travel footprint but allow you to spend more time doing things that are important to you and less time commuting.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your life and work?
We recently were named a 2012 "Small Business of the Year” by the California Air Resources Board/CalEPA for our sustainable operations and our work to educate and inspire others to leave less of an environmental footprint. We have produced a number of educational events focused on air quality and climate change for a range of audiences from high school students to senior citizens. We also developed an online clean vehicle calculator – to assist consumers with making cleaner choices when car shopping. We developed the Women In Green Forum – to highlight women’s impact on the environmental industry and to encourage more women to explore environmental career paths.

What is your greatest satisfaction in being a member of GMIC? (or what sets GMIC apart from other organizations you are a member of?)
It has been a rewarding experience being able to work on the annual conference for the last two years. I was able to get to know members in other regions (Pacific Northwest, Canada, Amsterdam, etc.) and to learn more about GMIC’s efforts on a global scale. It also helps to reference GMIC and the larger community of event professionals focused on sustainable production when working in parts of the world unfamiliar with green event practices.

What would you share with others just getting started incorporating sustainability or green practices into their works?
The internet is a great tool to assist with research specific topics and connecting with others who can share lessons learned. It is important to vet products before endorsing them or using them at your events as greenwashing is still prevalent. Ask questions of your suppliers – do you have local menu items? Do you have a recycling and/or composting collection system? Do you have an environmental policy for your employees? Do you have measures in place to reduce energy and water usage? Do you measure your carbon footprint? Asking questions is an important part of the process of demonstrating the growing demand for greener venues, suppliers and providers.

What do your attendees/employees notice the most from your sustainability efforts?
How small changes in behavior can yield great gains. Site selection is one of the most important decisions for an event planner and is equally important when thinking about where to locate your home or office.

We recently moved offices and our team enjoys being able to walk or bike to work, spending time in an office space with natural light and fresh air, and being in a non-toxic environment (zero VOC paint, natural cleaners, plants, organic fair trade coffee).

What do you need from the industry to continue to advance in the realm of sustainability?
Waste Diversion – Increased availability of commercial compost facilities so that it will be easier to implement compost collection at venues.

Patience – Sustainability is a journey. With new technologies and innovations, we are learning how to be better stewards of the environment every day. However, we all need to look for the best available solutions and continue to create and develop alternatives to help reach our goals.