by Loren Edelstein | October 09, 2017
IMEX America began today at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, with the Smart Monday educational programming provided by Meeting Professionals International. The event is expected to draw 3,200 exhibitors from more than 130 countries. 
In light of the shootings that occurred last week in Las Vegas, the IMEX event app includes the following statement from the IMEX group and key partners:
We are shocked and saddened by the event that took place in Las Vegas last weekend. IMEX America is going ahead. There will be enhanced visible security at the entrances, including random bag searches, and throughout the venue to support the existing robust security of both IMEX America and the Sands. We are working closely with the Sands, the LVCVA (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) and the Las Vegas authorities to ensure the best possible security and safety of our guests.

Statement from Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO, LVCVA:"The thoughts and prayers of all of Las Vegas go out to the victims and their families. This was a horrific, yet isolated, incident. At this time, it is important to allow the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police to conclude their investigation into the incident and to attend to the needs of the victims and their families. Las Vegas is a strong community that will work through this tragic incident. We are grateful beyond words to our incomparable law enforcement, first responders and everyone who continues to help victims and their families."

Statement from the Sands:"Our thoughts are with those affected by the tragic events of this weekend. We realize you have critical meetings coming to Las Vegas over the coming weeks. We want to assure you that the safety and security of our guests has been and continues to be our utmost priority. As always, we will work closely with our internal security teams as well as appropriate law enforcement."

The LVCVA also sent out another statement, this one thanking the community for the outpouring of support: We have heard from so many of you with an outpouring of love and support for our destination and we are forever grateful. We are finding renewed strength in this support and all of your offers of assistance. We are a resilient, strong community. The women and men who work in this destination -- many of whom are suffering through their own losses --have not missed a beat in taking care of our guests who are here in our city. Las Vegas will move forward, we will be here for you, and from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for being there for us now. #VegasStrong

An opening keynote by educator and meetings expert Janet Sperstad, CMP, was a researched-backed exploration of "purposeful meetings" and methods for "putting humanity back into meetings. She discussed the five pillars of purposeful meetings: behavioral science, wellbeing, CSR/legitimacy/intimacy and technology. 

Technology in particular can be used to support moments of deep connections, said Sperstad. "We all use technology to track data. But that's in the past. Technology allows us to make real-time changes to help people in the moment...It allows us to craft their experiences."

The IMEX America exhibit opens tomorrow.