Fueling Success: MCI Community Academy

In support of our industry colleagues and the people of Greece, MCI decided to locate its annual training meeting in Athens, Greece. Despite the crisis, Greece remains a wonderful location for events and meetings, and as a leading global agency we were pleased to show our support.

In addition to our business commitment, we wanted to find a way to give back to the local community as part of our CSR program. Brainstorming the idea with our friends at Greek NGO Boroume, we researched various community action projects but came to the conclusion that one of the best ways we could help the local charities was to share some of our core business knowledge and expertise. The idea is that by sharing management strategies from a high growth global business we could spark some new thinking and enhanced collaboration in the local non-profit sector.IMG_2607

MCI Community Academy

So after 1 quick month of planning, yesterday we were very proud to have organised the first MCI Community Academy. We had 85 managers (paid and volunteer) from Greek NGOs, foundations and associations. This was the first time they had come together as a community. Our program was entitled FUELING SUCCESS, and it was  focused on four key pillars. I had the pleasure of moderating these sessions, delivered by MCI’s senior and very inspiring management.

  • Leadership: The Power of Full Engagement – Sebastian Tondeur, Chief Executive Officer
  • Building your brand: Suzanne Fellay, Strategic Communication Director
  • Building your team: Managing and motivating talent -    Avinash Chandarana, Group Learning & Development Director
  • From strategy to action: Jurriaen Sleijster Executive Vice President


As a result of the meeting the audience created the possibility of developing a collaborative NGO platform where they can share knowledge and resources.

Thank you to all the volunteers and to the event sponsors: the Athens Intercontinental Hotel, Kipling Events and of course Boroume

Giving Back: MCI’s Power of Action 2011, Montreux

Here at MCI, we’ve been actively engaged in creating a community service action for our annual business meeting which this year will bring over 600 MCI staff and business partners to beautiful Montreux, Switzerland. Our approach, now a standard practice called The Power of Action, was first explained here.

How to integrate a social responsibility project in a wealthy community? As we learned with our 2010 event in Istanbul, partner with local leaders to increase the possibility of finding a great NGO. Collaborate with the NGO to understand their needs. Educate, then activate, the participants. Track and communicate learnings and successes.

So we decided to record for charity and convince Phil Collins production team to lend us a hand. Have a look at the results and let us know what you think.

May your own end of year efforts to give back to industry or community be well received and a springboard to a prosperous 2012! And please return to provide us your examples/photos/inspiring ideas to share for better events and a better 2012!

The Power of Action: Giving thanks, sharing findings

Thank you! The Power of Action community service event  mentioned in our earlier post exceeded every possible goal we imagined.  The enthusiastic engagement and generosity of our team, partners and participants brought the following exciting results:

  • 171 people, including 125 kids, participated in a 4 hour long session to create 19 different figures of (mostly) waste materials
  • 108 graduation certificates were awarded to students graduating Young Guru Academy’s Read Think Share program
  • And, *drum roll* 6467 €uros were raised in support of the development of the 111th Read Think Share creative learning library in Turkey, this one in Istanbul

These small points can’t begin to tell the story, though.  We invite you to have a look at the fun videos and photos from the event.

What did we learn?

The integration of community action projects has become an important aspect of creating sustainable meetings and events. Without a ‘how to’ guide, many planners are left frustrated with the effort required to include a community action project.  Here are a few takeaways from our experience:

Purpose: Planners should give meaningful thought to their reason and intention for including a community action project.  It can be helpful to remember this: “It’s not about you”.   Start with a purpose to consider the needs of the people receiving your support.  That said, any project should be aligned with the central mission and values of the organization.

Selection: Non Government Organizations (NGOs) or charities are not event suppliers.  It’s possible the community partner is not (a) in need of the help you can provide or (b) able to respond to the needs of planners.  In this article, we’ve provided some thoughts of Do’s and Don’ts of working with NGOs.

Engagement: Increase participation through promotion in the weeks leading up to the meeting. Conference teasers, social media sites and individual emails can build a sense of excitement and increase the number of attendees. Reach out not only to potential participants but also the members of your network, including your supply chain.  MCI received school supplies and, from Parthen, we received real money needed to support the fund raising goal. Importantly, don’t forget to involve members of the community itself.  It’s important they have a stake in the organization and action.

Follow Up: Maintain contact with the NGO to stay apprised of their actions and provide updates to your stakeholders about the impact of their support.

What are some of the best ideas you’ve seen in the organization of meetings and events?  Please share your thoughts and examples!

The Power of Action

In our offices, November means the fast approach of the much anticipated MCI International Business Meeting.  Part education summit, part celebration, the IBM has become the turntable to which the MCI culture dances.  Moving each year to a different exciting destination, the IBM represents the most positive aspects of the company culture in a vibrant and exciting environment.  In recent years, MCI’s strategic plan to weave CSR into the business plan has included a movement to integrate sustainable event management practices more fully into the IBM experience.

Play 4 Africa/Shoes for Africa

In 2009, MCI brought the IBM to Vienna, Austria.  In an effort to include a ‘giving back’ element, we collaborated with Kiwi Shoes 4 Africa and also the Play 4 Africa social giving campaigns.  MCI teams from around the world brought with them over 850 pairs of shoes which were distributed throughout Africa as part of the Kiwi campaign.  We also passed the hat and asked for cash contributions from the team.  The cash raised was matched by MCI founder and President Roger Tondeur and was donated to the Play 4 Africa campaign.  The donation was enough to purchase 40 full football kits for residents of a UN refugee camp in Africa.

Building Community

Encouraged by the enthusiastic response from our team, we sought to create an even more exciting project for IBM 2010, Istanbul, Turkey.  We learned from the Vienna experience that community giving campaigns need clear strategy to avoid pitfalls common to such actions.  A framework of principles and guidelines are needed to select a campaign which aligns with our unique culture and brand.  Also, better planning can result in better partnerships and the creation of a campaign whose results match the intended, desired outcome.  That’s not always the case with giving campaigns. For example, we learned that organizations must be careful in giving products to vulnerable communities as this can negatively affect local business.  This earlier post helps review the Do’s and Don’ts of community giving campaigns.

Working with the MCI Executive Team, we created guidelines to inform MCI Community Action Projects.  Any project we undertake must Build Community, Promote Education, and Inspire Fun.

We call our initiative the Power of Action.

Partnering with the Young Guru Academy, MCI, and MCI partners including the Istanbul CVB, we will raise funds to build a children’s library whose curriculum is specifically designed to inspire creative thinking.  The Read Think Share program has already built 110 such libraries to benefit disadvantaged youth throughout Turkey and we aim to build number 111. Here’s Ali from The Young Guru Academy sharing a bit about Read Think Share

To add an element of fun, our MCI team have invited the 100 graduating students of the Read Think Share program to join us in a spirited afternoon where we’ll construct sculptures of iconic landmarks using ‘waste’ materials. After the completion of the IBM event, we’ll select a representative from an MCI office to participate in the classroom along side University students to teach the kids selected for the Read Think Share program.  It’s a great opportunity to build our commitment to social responsibility  from within.

Check out the presentation explaining our 2010 project MCI Power of Action.

We’re excited about this collaboration and for the opportunity to make a difference for the community of Istanbul.  Stay tuned for updates and result of the effort.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,591 other followers

%d bloggers like this: