An A&M Perspective

GMIC

Our very own Sales Manager Angela Obzud attended the GMIC Conference earlier this month. Here’s what she had to say:

On April 7-9, I had the pleasure of attending the Green Meeting Industry Council Annual Meeting at the McCormick Place in Chicago. Going into this meeting I did not know what to expect since it was my first time attending this conference. My expectations were not only met but exceeded by the enthusiasm and dedication to sustainability which was felt in the room.

One of my favorite parts of the meeting was the keynote speaker Eric Ryan with Method Products. Method Products sell cleaning supplies which are good for the environment.  To hear him speak of how he started by selling to people in store parking lots to now selling 70 million a year was amazing. Ryan’s presentation showed how the events industry can apply theories used by Method Products for planning and sustainability to “get the dirt out of events and meetings.”

Whether you are a meeting planner, supplier or just a green activist you will want to attend next year’s conference or join your local GMIC Chapter and help keep the environment green.

Worth while for next year? I’d say so. For more information on this past GMIC Conference, check out their about page here.

What an Incentive!

Italy. Food. Bonding. What’s not to like?

A major part of being an effective team is maintaining the ability to cooperate with one another both inside and outside of the workplace. Bonding over fun and stress-free activities help to aquaint coworkers as well as develop relationships beyond the professional arena.

So that’s bonding, but what about Italy and food? They are both relevant, I promise. According to Flavor of Italy, cuisine related team building helps to boost morale, foster solidarity and collaboration, break down barriers, build new relationships at work with both customers and colleagues, improve time management skills, stimulate problem solving skills, as well as enhance creativity. Think about it: tradition has it that meals are not solely about the food, but also the social aspect of sitting down with others to enjoy a shared delicacy.

Italy Countryside

Now, let’s talk the real fun stuff. Flavor of Italy offers Corporate Culinary Team Building that facilitate this social sharing. The options? Try out the “Fusion Cooking Team Building” which divides participants into teams that will create an Italian fusion meal with international ingredients. If this doesn’t strike your appetite (yes, pun intended), look into the “Recipe & Meal Creation Event”. Teams gather their own ingredients to make a meal that will be rated based upon originality, taste, presentation, speed of preparation, cost, and sustainability (bonus!). Not into the cooking idea? Opt for the wine tasting event that provides various samples of reds and whites to participants, which are then randomly resampled by the same group in an attempt to identify the most correctly. Have a different event in mind? Flavor of Italy notes how if that’s the case, simply ask them about it! They are more than happy to accommodate specific interests.

Wine

These options are among the activities offered by Flavor of Italy to foster both team building as well as the enhancement of an equally amiable and professional work ethic. “Getting the job done” is no more important than setting time aside to create relationships with coworkers. In fact, the latter is often necessary for an effective completion of the former.

It’s also vital to recognize that Flavor of Italy promotes and practices culinary responsibility in each of their programs. They state, “Culinary sustainability is an increasingly important part of our lives as the world we live in becomes more global, resources become more scarce, and we face important issues such as recycling of our ever-increasing waste and GMOs.” Despite indulging in some of Italy’s finest, Flavor of Italy’s policies can alleviate your team’s concerns about leaving the “green”.

Check out Flavor of Italy’s blog for some more information and updates!

Where to: Retirement destinations

Aside

Retirement.

This may be a daunting term for some, so allow me to rephrase: Retirement abroad.

Talk about moving on to bigger (or smaller, perhaps) and better things. Recently, TopsRetirement.com posted an article sharing their thoughts on the 10 best international places to retire. Whereas the typical creation of such a list is built upon affordability and beauty, TopsRetirement.com focused on, “stable governments; low crime rates; the ability to mix with ordinary people; great food, wine, and culture; and 1st world dependability and bureaucracies.” What I find the most appealing about each of the following places in that there is an appreciation for a sustainable and environmentally friendly way of life.

1. Ireland. Land of (understood) language, culture, and countryside activity.

2. France. It would be nice to start off the day with a platter of renowned cheeses and fresh baguette, wouldn’t it?

3. Spain (coastal). Warm and sunny winters, anyone?

4. Italy. The great outdoors, food, and some more food.

5. Costa Rica. The picturesque hub of eco-tourism.

6. Croatia. Affordable and (in my opinion) underrated.

7. New Zealand. A perfect mix of ultimate adventure and quaintness. Oh, and The Lord of the Rings.

8. Panama. Lunch break on the beach in the middle of January, sure thing.

9. Mexico. Perhaps a surprise for some to see on the list, but you must remember: this beautiful country is not all bad!

10. Ecuador (Ceunca): Why not take to a lower-cost and friendly environment?

I mentioned how each of these locations may appeal to our ecofriendly senses. How so? Skip the car and hop on a bike to cruise Ireland’s quiet towns, Tuscany’s lush countryside, or for some sustainable exercise before delving into France’s fresh market delicacies. Off to the sunniest of destinations? Inquire about solar panels on your Spanish villa or Latin American beach house. Or, how about opting for open windows to allow for a natural cross ventilation in lou of constant air conditioning? An added bonus: a calming (and free) beach aroma.

The options are endless for outdoor activity in these 10 countries. Seeking to truly live your life to its fullest? This list includes places that encourage individuals to get onto their feet for a happier, healthier, and environmentally-conscious lifestyle.

For more on each location, check out the article on Topsretirement.com or Marketwatch.com (photo source).

Easter Treats: How do yours rank?

I hope that everyone had a happy Easter!

When I hear Easter, one of my first thoughts is chocolate, of course. How many of you like chocolate? Or perhaps the more appropriate question would be how many of you do not like this sweet delicacy? As Easter approaches each year, stores and markets stock their shelves with the season’s tastiest chocolate delights, and the options are limitless. Craving pastel minis? Head for the m&m’s. Maybe creme-filled eggs stimulate your tastebuds a bit more. Well, Cadbury Eggs are there for you. And, for many, Easter simply isn’t Easter without chocolate bunnies. I think we can all admit to having consumed at least one of these choco-treats at some point in our lives, yes?

Chocolate bunny

But should we be allowing ourselves to have all of these themed goodies? Setting health concerns aside, what about how it’s made? This is where we encounter the concern of Fair Trade. What is Fair Trade? According to fairtradeusa.org, “Fair Trade goods are just that. Fair. From far-away farms to your shopping cart, products that bear our logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.” So, what exactly does this mean? Take a moment to consider all of the chocolate out there. Every supermarket, convenience store, rest-stop, evening clothing shops sell this classic indulgence – If you want chocolate, you can get it. Unfortunatley, not all of our favorites are just, so to speak. Only some are produced by the means of equally treated farmers that are appropritately compensated for their labor. In other words, those producing the cocoa that we seemingly couldn’t live without are frequently exploited and disregarded. Fairtradeusa.org acknowledges that, “Cocoa farmers are often forced to sell their harvest to middlemen who rig scales or misrepresent prices, and media reports of child slavery show the stark contrast between the delicious treat and the difficult conditions of the people who produce it.” Not fair.

Cocoa beans

Still a bit confused? The Guardian posted a relevant quiz regarding this issue that may help to clarify how Easter chocolates relate to Fair Trade. Check out which fall under this category, and which don’t make the cut.

Next time your scoping out Easter treats to shovel into baskets, consider the ethical position of various brands. Was it fairly produced? How about sustainably? Not only will you be helping yourself and your environment, but also the farmers that work day in and day out to fill our shelves with the world’s best, in my opinion, candy.

World Water Day

Happy Wednesday!

Did you know that World Water Day was this past Friday, March 22nd?

WWD Logo

Source: unwater.org

This day deserves more than a simple shout out. In fact, 2013 has been designated as the International Year of Water Cooperation, so perhaps this annual day to celebrate freshwater is that much more noteworthy ten years after its initial introduction in 1993.

“Water cooperation” is a relatively broad concept, so what exactly does it entail? Take a moment to consider the prevalence of water in your daily life. We drink water, we cook with water, we bathe in water, we swim in water, we energize using water. In other words, it’s necessary for the “fulfillment of basic human needs,” according to UNWater.org. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Hence why the management of this liquid is imperative. UN-Water also states, “Water is a shared resource and its management needs to take into account a wide variety of conflicting interests [food production, energy, industrial and domestic uses]. This provides opportunities for cooperation among users.” Such cooperation seeks to combat global disparities through an “interdisciplinary approach” that  assimiliates both basic and complex social, political, and economic needs worldwide.

You missed out on 2013’s World Water Day, so why should it matter to you? Well, the events promoting this momentous day are certainly not over. Courtesy of UNWater.org, you may click here for a listing of the various celebrations worldwide!

For more information about this awesome day, visit UNWater.org.

WWD2

Source: dutchwatersector.com

A New Voice

Hi! My name is Savannah Trifiro and I am the new Social Media and Administrative Intern here at A&M Meetings and Incentives. Before I dive into the juicier posts, I wanted to briefly introduce myself. I am a 19 (almost 20) year old college student studying Communication, Cultural Studies, and Spanish at Villanova University. To clarify, I am far from certain of the direction to which I will take these, although I have my high hopes and big dreams. I am a vegetarian, travel-loving, artistically-inspired individual that took on an enjoyment-motivated role in the blogosphere nearly a year ago. I suppose this may indicate why I jumped on to this opportunity with A&M Meetings and Incentives with nothing but excitement. I am looking forward to engaging more with the readers of both the A&M and The Juice blogs (I will also be making guest posts for Apple Vacations Destination Weddings), and hope that you will share any curiosities or concerns with me so that I can address your interests as best as possible! Enjoy!

Kicking Off the New Year with GMIC Mid-Atlantic

2013 is here! Like us, you may be looking for ways to amp up your meeting know-how for the New Year.
gmic_smallerWe’re starting the New Year off right with the GMIC Mid-Atlantic Chapter Kick-Off Meeting in Philadelphia! This year, Sofitel Philadelphia is hosting the kick-off meeting on January 30, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.

The Sofitel has earned Green Key Certification, which shows they are conscious of their environmental impact and act as a national leader in their industry.

We’re so excited for this unique opportunity to connect with meeting professionals from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to swap stories and get fresh, new ideas!

Sof-PA Logo

Join us if you can and start the year off right!