My Life As an Intern

For those of you that are new or who perhaps don’t remember, I introduced myself to the A&M blog several months back in March. Upon taking on the role as a Social Media & Administrative Intern, I dove head first into a pool of new and enriching experiences revolving around all things social media. It may seem simple, but one of the many takeaways that I gained was that it, this whole social media thing, surely is not.

The up and coming world of social media is a challenging place. It’s an entirely new environment, a new channel through which people seek to establish virtual communication and interaction among a seemingly endless population. It’s daunting, it’s overwhelming, it’s competitive…It’s cool.

Previous to being given this opportunity, I minimally acknowledged what more social media outlets have to offer beyond what Justin Bieber is doing, feeling, and thinking (sorry J.B. lovers). In fact, I’ll admit it, I was bitter toward this network of communication. Little did I know how important and valuable it was for an ever-improving world, and I have A&M to thank for teaching me that.

In March, never would I have guessed that I’d be dabbling with html codes, a concept  that I previously perceived as foreign. I’ve explored the possibilities provided by Excel, and even created outlets and options on various social media sites that I always assumed were limited to the experts. In addition to these technical gains, I was introduced to the world of corporate (green) meetings, and perhaps more importantly, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Familiarized with this practice by, you guessed it, social media, CSR doesn’t force society and the environment to adapt to the growing business world as a means of success; rather, it deals with a professional drive for and commitment to success through social awareness and sustainability. Also, my opportunity to have a little taste of everything at A&M taught me something else: social media lies at the root of it all. All these other “things” are simply the branches. Social media has truly created its own self-sustaining network, or family tree, if you will. It’s where ideas are created, shared, spread, marketed, and sold.

As I approach my yearlong study overseas, I owe (much of) my hope for staying in touch with those I care about to my time here at A&M. Social media, in both the corporate and informal atmosphere, is a means of connection, compromise, and success. It reaffirms the fact that sometimes the most simple things are far, far from just that: simple.

Great lessons. Great people. Thank you A&M M&I (and a shout out to the Apple Vacations Destination Wedding Team)!

Always,

Savannah Trifiro

www.linkedin.com/in/savannahtrifiro/

Two Cents from Taiga Company: Julie Urlaub

We are thrilled about a guest post that we have to share on the blog today! Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner of Taiga Company, offered us her two cents on some of the green meeting goals that we promote here at A&M:

Greener Meetings Means Responsible Resource Management

Bringing people together for meetings, often for multiple days at a time, can create a “host” of environmental impacts—from the smog and greenhouse gas emissions associated with air and ground travel to the paper, plastic, and food waste associated with feeding attendees.  Since meeting face to face is oftentimes a requirement, today’s environmentally minded executives and staff are looking for smarter meeting options.  As such, many are discovering how environmentally responsible meetings are not only good for the earth, they’re great for business.

An aspect of business sustainability is making informed choices regarding green meeting planning.  This includes everything from site selection to meeting materials to catering.   Every mindful action can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the event and oftentimes, reduce meeting costs.

Research indicates more than two-thirds of meeting professionals take environmental considerations into account when planning their conferences.  How are they doing this? By keeping responsible resource management at the forefront of their decision making.  Areas worth considering are:

  • Waste management and recycling
  • Water conservation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Carbon Offsets and Event Calculators
  • Green Travel and Lodging
  • Sustainable Tourism Organizations and Initiatives

By including sustainability concepts in event planning, it demonstrates company values to employees and meeting guest as well as gives business a competitive edge, a great reputation, and can save time and money in the process.

carbon-footprint

A huge thank you goes out to Julie for sharing her insights!

What are your thoughts?

Julie Urlaub is the Founder and Managing Partner of Taiga Company, a social media and sustainability consulting company specializing in social media communications, strategy, training, managed services and stakeholder engagement for sustainable/ green business.

Leveraging 36,000+ twitter followers and a blog with global reach, Julie works with clients to powerfully engage in sustainability related issues and stakeholder communications in the social media space to help businesses maximize sustainability strategies and to communicate how their sustainability strategies are making a difference in their business and our world. Not only does Julie walk the talk, she rides it too as an endurance mountain bike racer.

Website: http://www.TaigaCompany.com
Twitter: @TaigaCompany
Facebook/TaigaCompany
Pinterest.com/TaigaCompany
LinkedIn/in/julieurlaub

Don’t Miss Out!

With our July Special, you can receive complimentary sourcing for TWO destinations simply by submitting an RFP to us online! You can access the form by clicking “request info” via our website.

Request Info

The end of July is quickly approaching, so don’t wait!

Sustainable Catering at Your Service

You’re brainstorming your next event in the Philadelphia area and find yourself stumped when trying to determine catering arrangements. How can you find the perfect venue to satisfy a variety of tastes while also maintaining a sustainable mindset? We’ve compiled a list of four unique, but simple eateries in Pennsylvania that certainly fall under these event goals.

1. The Sunflower Truck Stop: An extension of Shorty’s Sunflower Cafe, this mobile food supplier will conveniently travel to you. Not awed by their already incredibly appetizing menu? You can make your own “exotic” requests for the cooks to experiment with – they’re all for it!

2. Lucky Old Souls Burger Truck: Featuring your favorite “farm-to-truck” menu with local ingredients to concoct anything from house-made bacon and burgers to seasonal vegetables.

3. Farm Truck Philly: By simply visiting their website, you’ll immediately be sold. With a seasonal menu created with the highest quality ingredients, you can only opt for a tasty meal from this mobile catering option.

4. Cosmic Foods: With a commitment to Fair Trade, purchasing locally, and sustainability, Cosmic Catering is more than ideal for your upcoming event. If you’re looking for something more than the option on wheels, this is the perfect choice for you.

Each of these will not fail to disappoint the expectations held by you or your group. With a dedication to supplying hearty foods from the freshest farms, there’s no need to sacrifice taste for sustainability – it’s all here!

On Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): What, how, & why we love it

CSR is the talk of the town of recent, and slowly but surely businesses are jumping on board to this new trend. With that said, the term is thrown around a whole lot, and while you may contribute to it’s reach, are you entirely aware of the meaning and what it involves?

Allow us to briefly elaborate. CSR incorporates social consciousness that extends from personal aspects like corporate citizenship to environmental means such as “going green”. In an effort to achieve this recognition, businesses may encourage team volunteer projects, green meetings, and sustainable incentive trips. Now, this is where we come in, and why we love CSR so much.

Successful companies promote employee involvement. By that we mean team bonding, efficient meetings, and friendly events beyond the professional field. And, we are here for just that. The planning. The nitty-gritty details that make many cringe. We do that. And guess what. We enjoy it. But, there’s more. What’s so special about your next corporate meeting or incentive trip if it’s not eco-conscious? In this day and age, with the extent of knowledge that people have acquired over the years, we owe loads of respect to our natural environment. It sustains us, so why shouldn’t we sustain it?

Not sure where to start? Well, the first step would be to come to us. From there you can let us know what you’re looking for – the destination you’re dreaming of, the type of team engagement your seeking. Below are a few examples of what we mean here at A&M.

Remember that culinary incentive trip to Italy featured on the blog several months back? Well, that option certainly still exists. Or how about taking a volunteer trip in South America? Talk about rewarding. If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation in the sun, head to the Virgin Islands; St. John has some serious green thinking on their minds that we are thrilled to work with.

Rooftop solar panels in St. JohnThe options are endless, and that’s what makes incorporating CSR into planning so exciting! For more information on what we mean and how we promote our own social consciousness, visit our website!

Championing Green Meetings at IMEX 2013

ecocentric strategies

German Convention Bureau e.V. (GCB) proved once again that it leads the way in championing Green Meetings at IMEX 2013.

The umbrella organisation for the German meetings industry worked hard to ensure the sustainability of every aspect of its operation at IMEX. The strategy paid dividends, as its eco-friendly Germany Stand was proclaimed the winner of this year’s Green Exhibitor Award.

http://www.etravelblackboard.com/mice/article/143846/germany-stand-eco-friendly-and-sustainable

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Clif Bar Raises the Bar on Employee Rewards

For those of you interested in the world of double, triple, and quadruple bottom lines, check out this story from Clif Bar and their unique 20th anniversary employee rewards!

Custom Clif Bar Bike 20th Anniversary

 

Clif Bar recently awarded each of its 300 employees a new, shiny, red custom Clif Bar bicycle in honor of their 20th anniversary! Each employee received a brand new bike inscribed with their name and start date at the company. This is such a great idea! The bikes are both personal items and flashy gifts to show around town!

WATCH: Clif Bar’s 20th Anniversary Bicycle Unveiling Video

We love seeing employees rewarded for their hard work! When a company gives back to the people who make it run smoothly, it makes everyone work a little bit harder and may even attract some of these.

Custom Clif Bar Bike 20th Anniversary

What stories have you heard about companies giving back to their employees? We’d love to hear them!

Big Bad Woof Sells to the Socially Conscious Pet [Corporate Conscious Wednesday]

Big Bad Woof, a socially-conscious supplier of pet supplies originating in Hyattsville, MD, became the first B Corp certified organization in the U.S. in October 2010. Big Bad Woof was ahead of the movement then, and they continue to support sustainable business today.

BBWoof’s owner, Penny Jones-Napier, has been quoted this week in regard to the pending implementation of U.S. legislation, which offers specific protection to companies who value sustainability and social impact above all else. Her position as owner of such a highly-regarded company makes her a valuable voice on the matter. Ms. Jones-Napier says of the benefit movement, “What started with small businesses is moving into the mainstream,” and we couldn’t be happier about it!

Known for its role as a benefit corporation, Big Bad Woof puts the needs of the larger population before their own. In addition, BBWoof’s customers value these eco-friendly efforts, and the company continues to increase profits regardless of its focus on social impact. Customers are happy to pay a little extra to support the cause!

Congrats to Big Bad Woof for their position in the movement toward mainstream sustainability! We wish them many more successful years to come.

My Experience as an Intern at A&M Meetings & Incentives

Interning at A&M has been a rewarding and enriching experience that has contributed to my knowledge of social media sites, travel destinations and the methods of improving worker relationships and inspiring workers. Through my work experience, I have learned about a multitude of destinations, ranging from exotic to family-friendly. These destinations, including South Africa and Indonesia, offer an assortment of activities bound to intrigue diverse groups of people.

Additionally, working at A&M has allowed me to understand how to improve an incentive trip. Planning an incentive trip is all about the activities that are available to the participants; specifically, every destination has something different to offer groups, which is why the choice of location is very important. One trend that I believe is successful is planning out-of-office experiences for employees. More and more, companies are looking to bring people outside of the conference room. This can be done by having employees volunteer within the community or by planning day trips. Another trend gaining popularity aims at engaging employees and incorporating outside input. Companies are using social media sites to get more people involved; companies are asking people to ask questions on twitter and are creating groups where information can be shared and discussed.

Before starting at A&M I did not know much about CSR; despite this, I have quickly learned how influential and how widespread the trend has become. Companies today are increasingly looking to become more responsible both socially and environmentally. “Going green” is another trend that I have learned more about during my time at A&M. Companies all over the world are looking to implement ecofriendly practices as a means of cutting down on production costs, attracting customers and improving the environment.

I have been rewarded with a lot of great opportunities at A&M and have truly gained a lot of knowledge about improving meetings, travel and current business trends.

– Olivia