3 Questions with Keep America Meeting Founder Alison Jenks
Recently, Event Solutions sat down with the founder of pro-event industry campaign Keep America Meeting. Find out why Alison Jenks started it, what inspires her and what’s nextby Rachel Globus | Published in June 2009 A.I.G. effect | event savvy | inspiration | Keep America Meeting | Departments
Keep America Meeting’s petition gained more than 21,000 signatures in support of the events industry that the USTA delivered to the Senate Commerce Committee in May. Here are founder Alison Jenks’s thoughts on the campaign’s most inspiring moments, what you can still do and what’s next for our industry.
ES: Why did you decide to start Keep America Meeting?
AJ: Every time I turned on the TV, talk shows were discussing meetings and events and only covering the negative side. I wanted to give the industry a forum to come together and speak out about the value of meetings, events and incentive travel.
ES: Describe a moment that inspired you during the campaign.
AJ: We received a lot of e-mails from overseas, including London, Greece, Sweden and Pakistan! They signed and forwarded the petition, and asked what else they could do. It felt like this campaign bridged a worldwide community.
ES: What can we do now that the signatures have been delivered?
AJ: Be aware of the USTA’s efforts because they continue to lead our industry in terms of the advocacy programs. Also, keep talking about our value! We were very successful in changing the dialogue in Washington and in the mainstream media, but we also need to continue to educate not just our industry but the decision makers who determine where funding is going about the value meetings and events bring to successful businesses. Even though the petition signatures have been delivered, I hope people will stay involved, follow us on Twitter (@KeepMeeting) and join us on Facebook. That way they’ll be in the know as we share data about the value of our industry and will be able to get involved as opportunities become available.