Minnesota Meetings + Events

The Empty Suitcase Campaign Helps Implement Meaning Into Planners' Agenda

The idea for the Empty Suitcase Campaign began in 2013 when Shawna Suckow, CMP, founder and chairwoman of SPiN: Senior Planners Industry Network, and her friend, Colleen Abernethy of Platinum DMC Collection, went on a trip to Nepal. “We heard of a doctor in Nepal who offers an annual eye clinic in a remote area and needed used prescription eyeglasses. Through Colleen’s connection with the Lion’s Club in Minnesota, we brought a suitcase filled with over 200 pairs with us,” says Suckow.

Brave New Workshop's Creative Outreach Brand Trains the Workforce to Think Differently

You’ll be remiss to pigeonhole Brave New Workshop as solely a comedy theater; BNW’s business scope is always adapting to change, providing inspired solutions based on need. “People won’t do their research on the whole company and they’ll say: The Brave New Workshop Theater does corporate workshops,” says John Sweeney, co-owner of Brave New Workshop. “That’s not true.” Sure, satirical and improvisational comedy theater is where BNW started.

Tips from a pro on how to make adventure retreats effective and fun

Adventure retreats aren't cliché wilderness expeditions or field trips without purpose. If used and planned properly, they can serve as a powerful team-builder. After years of seeing benefits through our own retreats, we built the Larsmont Center for Strategy and Team Development at Larsmont Cottages to bring this powerful tool to others. But there are right and wrong ways to hold a retreat. Here’s how to make the trip count:


Signature Drink: The Commodore

The restored Commodore Bar and Restaurant, St. Paul’s Art Deco-gem that first opened in 1934 and closed in 1984, reopened to the public in October 2015. The full-service restaurant, bar, cocktail lounge and banquet venue crafted a signature drink in honor of the iconic Commodore Hotel in which it resides. The Commodore features an artisandistilled bourbon from 45th Parallel, a Wisconsin distillery.

Time into Pixels Instagram Booth Allows Guests to Pocket their Photos

Time Into Pixels, owned by Gregory and Irina Burt, offers a fun alternative to the traditional photo booth while also encouraging social media participation at events. Using a live hashtag printer that recognizes your event’s designated hashtag, attendees are able to pick up prints of the pictures they’ve posted to Instagram and Twitter within one minute. The cost starts at $649 and varies depending on customization and how long the event goes.

Meet Danielle Ottman, U.S, Bank Stadium

Danielle Ottman wants you to think beyond football when you see U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The sales manager for the up-and-coming sports facility, which is managed by SMG, has been telling meeting and event professionals about the site’s capabilities for months.

“We’re trying to sell something that doesn’t really exist yet,” she explains. “That’s what I found is a real challenge. You’re selling them on a dream.”

Event Snapshots: Sheraton Bloomington Hotel Grand Opening

Transformed spaces, new meeting rooms and tasty food and beverages highlighted the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel’s grand opening celebration in August. The $15 million renovation included enhanced guest rooms, a refreshed lobby, the addition of the brand’s upgraded lounge destination, Sheraton Club, and a new restaurant, Lela, adjacent to the hotel. Three new meeting rooms were also introduced: the 1,500-square-foot Gibson, 663-square-foot Oxborough and 400-squarefoot Harrison.

Beyond the Border: The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

The Vanderbilt, located on the Atlantic coast in the Condado District of San Juan, Puerto Rico, makes a solid argument for not leaving the property: Some of the best food on the island is served on-site at a variety of restaurants; pool lounges feature butler service; and a spa sanctuary offers Puerto Rico’s only private Hammam, a water-focused treatment with ancient purification rituals.

Fundraiser pros share tips on throwing a stellar soiree that gives back

No one ever needs an excuse for a party, but throwing one that does some good is as good a reason as any to bring people together. Fundraisers provide a voice for causes all over the world, generating money to help those who need it and uniting people for one mission on one night.

Behind-the-scenes stars take pride in their dirty jobs

Behind every stunningly decorated event are the people who put their blood, sweat and tears into making it flawless. That garbage you didn’t throw away at the end of the night? Someone’s picking that up and making sure it gets categorized correctly as a recyclable, compostable or trash. And the garbage you threw away in the Biffy? Someone’s pulling it out. Ever wonder if your driver gets sick of driving? MNM+E talked to four industry professionals who make your meeting easier or special event shine—the ones who make good despite the bad and the ugly.


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