Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Canadian Connection
Tourism Montreal Interviews GMIC's Executive Director, Tamara Kennedy-Hill

From April 22-25 2012, Montreal will host the Sustainable Meetings Conference at the Hilton Hotel. The event is organized by the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC), a non-profit professional meetings organization and a member of the Convention Industry Council, whose mission is to help the meetings and events industry integrate sustainability into their processes in order to create better meetings and events.

Tourism Montreal
got a chance to catch up with Tamara Kennedy-Hill, executive director of the GMIC to ask her about the organization’s choice to host the meeting in Montreal. She explained that the GMIC “had some very good bids from other cities in the eastern part of the United States and Canada, but Montreal really came out the strongest in terms of appeal, attraction, and sustainability.” Also, the Oregon-based organization “wanted to get the planners out in the community, and wanted to showcase how to make sustainable meetings easier for communities by taking that first step, and working with a destination that has a lot of programs in place.”

The Montreal meeting is part of a conference series that rotates through eastern, central, and western locations in North America. It will be in Quebec’s largest city on April 22. “It wasn’t necessarily planned, but it’s a great coincidence to have the meeting in Montreal on Earth Day” affirmed Ms. Kennedy-Hill. The theme of this year is “En Route to Meeting Innovation,” and the Montreal meeting will look at different ways of having fun with sustainability. On Monday, the highlight is the keynote speaker John Picard, who will speak about sustainability, green buildings, and Live Earth. This will be followed by several sessions about helping integrate sustainability into the meeting planning process, including:
  • Sustainable events standards, and how to apply them and integrate them into processes;
  • Operational advancements showcasing key studies and best practices from events and from suppliers;
  • Innovation and design: looking at how technology and learning design are related to sustainable solutions at an event.
According to Tamara Kennedy-Hill, the conference “is really looking at how sustainability and innovation are highly aligned and their strategic skill sets in different industries. It’s not just an environmental component; it’s about designing better meetings with better outcomes and solutions.”

The trend of “green meetings” is growing, but it is often only considered if there is leftover budget, because planners think that a green meeting’s ROI cannot be seen immediately. GMIC disagrees; they tell us that you don’t have to be as large as Microsoft to be able to organize a great sustainable event; even smaller meetings, with realistic goals, can achieve their objectives for sustainability. One of the core aspects GMIC tries to teach is process: they are really helping people think about the strategy and how to set and align their objectives to be controllable and scalable for their organization’s event.

GMIC’s Sustainable Meetings Conference will draw many of their over 600 members and hopes to have an extended reach around different communities in Canada. Their green practices extend suggesting that their attendees from Toronto come by train: a good example of GMIC’s creativity and implication in this event.

Here at Tourism Montreal, we’re convinced that GMIC’s mission of education and awareness about the importance of sustainability in meeting organization will resonate in Montreal and encourage other cities and event planners to follow suit. For more information on the Montreal GMIC Conference, go to

About GMIC
The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is the premier global community solely dedicated to sustainable meetings and events through education, research, policy, and standards. As an active member of the Convention Industry Council (CIC), GMIC inspires and trains leaders at all levels to make meetings better through sustainable solutions. Information:

About Tourism Montréal
Tourism Montréal, the Greater Montréal Convention and Tourism Bureau, is responsible for providing leadership in the concerted efforts of hospitality and promotion in order to position the destination on leisure and business travel markets. It is also responsible for developing Montréal's tourism product in accordance with the ever-changing conditions of the market.
Meet Brilliantly