Farewell, 2020!

2020
(Screenshot grab from HBO)

If you haven’t seen John Oliver’s pyrotechnic masterpiece where he blows up a huge 2020 sign during his last show of his season, it’s worth checking out. “This year ruined lives, jobs, concerts, and sanity,” said the late night superstar, utterly disgusted, as he pulled out a detonator from his pocket, pressed the button and walked away.

We all want 2020 to go away…right now…In fact, this is the first time in this writer’s 30-year career that I have published a story ushering in the New Year on the 11th of December!

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is already on board, too, announcing it will celebrate the end of 2020 by imploding a sign with the year via livestream. Revelers can log on to visitlasvegas.com , Facebook and You Tube on New Year’s Eve for the countdown, accompanied by a live DJ.

We won’t be blowing anything up here at Prevue, but we certainly want to say good riddance to what has unquestionably been the most challenging year in the history of this industry. We also asked our Advisory Board to share their wishes as we look ahead to 2021 and getting back to normal. Happy Early New Year to you all—better days are coming soon!

Padraic Gilligan, chief marketing officer, SITE: “Like all incentive travel professionals, I’m looking forward to betters times, as, realistically, it cannot get any worse! Our industry has been devastated, decimated and destroyed and now it’s time to recover, rebuild and reset. It’s been like the biblical flood, in many ways, with everything washed away without filter or discrimination. We’ve lost many precious things and here I’m mainly thinking of the IP, the expertise and the great talent that may have migrated elsewhere in search of gainful employment. But we’ve also lost all the unnecessary and downright harmful things that we accumulated along the way—our conspicuous consumption, for example, our wastefulness, our obsession with financial metrics and returns, our poor record at work / life balance.  So for 2021, I’m looking forward to being part of a kinder, more balanced, more empathetic industry that walks the walk in relation to ESG (environmental / social / governance) and leverages only benefits from the awesome, transformational power of travel experiences.”

Joan Eisenstodt, Eisenstodt Associates: “My hopes are for a more strategic industry that sees this year (well 9.5 months) as a learning opportunity for how to reach and include more people in events. Also, realism and contingency planning: This was not one-off. Finally, I hope for consideration of and empathy for others who will continue to experience homelessness, food poverty, illnesses and a willingness to help.”

Andrea Gold, president, Gold Star Speakers’ Bureau: “I fervently hope that people stay well, and can again embrace person to person meetings (and are also able to embrace each other!). Virtual meetings are OK, but the human connection and the invisible yet powerful energy that accompany them, are very special. I hope that, after the period of socially distancing and sheltering at home, people doubly appreciate all the effort and expertise that go into creating a fantastic event or meeting. In addition, I truly hope and pray that people don’t live in fear of resuming everyday living, such as being in close proximity to other people, after this extended period of intentional isolation. Let’s aim to focus on thoughts of what’s possible and on life’s joys rather than on the pain and contraction we’ve collectively experienced this past year.”

Leslie Zeck, CMP, CMM, HMCC, director of meetings, International & American Associations for Dental Research: “My hope for 2021 is that we be able to successfully implement the new hybrid model for our meetings offering researchers the ability to present in-person or virtually. This will open opportunities for many new global attendees who could not previously travel to our meetings and events!”

Corbin Ball, Corbin Ball & Co., CSP, CMP, DES: “There is so much I am looking forward to in 2021: hugging my children and grandchildren, eating out with friends, attending face-to-face events, getting on a plane with my wife to explore new places together, going to concerts, visiting museums and so much more!”

Issa Jouaneh, founder, Elevadas: “I continue to be optimistic about our industry and its eventual return to normal. I certainly hope that all the work and effort that many industry professionals have put in during 2020 to support the value of the work we do as event professionals, while keeping their businesses alive, will pay back dividends in 2021. I also hope for continued patience and resiliency from many of our colleagues and industry peers seeking employment right now. This has been a difficult and trying year for many of them and the uncertainty has made it difficult to plan for the future. The opportunities will come!”

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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