In the October issue of Special Events Magazine, The Daly News offered an overview of the Industry Summit 2001. Economics and other issues surrounding the incentive industry in North America were the main focus of the article. That article was written in August to meet the print deadline for the magazine. It is obvious that the context of that article is far different since the tragedies of Sept. 11.
As everyone is aware, that day has changed life for all of us on this earth. The industry that most of us are in has been affected in a very powerful way. Cancellations have come in right and left, and many events into the coming year must be rescheduled. I know that my business has suffered a 90 percent drop in projects for the remainder of the year. This is a big hit to say the least.
Everything is different than it was on Sept. 10. And some things are not only different, but also better than they were before.
There is a new rush of patriotism that had been lost to many of us for years. We have all seen this miracle as we turn on the news, read the newspaper, or walk the streets of the cities and towns we live in.
The “sit back and let it flow in” attitude has disappeared. This is a joy to see. There is closeness now among people who previously seemed invisible to one another in the rush of daily life.
The scenes of destruction and suffering on Sept. 11 were devastating to me, as they were to everyone who watched them. But, speaking for myself, the days since the disaster have brought a new spring of hope and creativity to me that I was not even aware existed. There came a time when I knew that I had to pull myself together and make this event called “life” a success. I walked into my office and announced to my colleagues that it was time to kick butt and get proactive. All employees came together in a full staff meeting to share ideas about what we should do for our future in the short term.
The camaraderie and the ideas that were shared among everyone were amazing. We have employed a lot of those ideas, and we continue to investigate new ideas for the days ahead. There is a wonderful, invigorating, positive energy that seems to flow now.
If only we did this every month, before this disaster. But would the spirit of fight have been there before? I think not. This was the first sign to me that out of the horrors of Sept. 11, miracles could come.
Yes, these are tough times; yes, business is down for everyone. But we as special event professionals have a duty to our industry as well as the world to not let it get us down. It is time to practice what we preach. We talk about the power of the incentive industry to our clients; now let's prove it. Throw a party for your staff; invite your vendors to share time together. Attend The Special Event 2002 in January, as well as any other industry meeting or seminar you can find. We need to show the world that we cannot be beat.
Yes, the ticket price on September 11 was higher that anyone should ever have to pay, but in respect for those heroes who gave their lives, the miracle can and should be a better world for us to live in. I read an article today written by a Romanian journalist who said that he could not imagine what could have made Americans unite this way. Their land? Their history? Their economic power? He said that he pondered this question for hours and could come to only one conclusion: Only freedom can work such miracles. Thank God we have the freedom to make a difference.
John Daly is president of John Daly Inc., International, a design firm (805/963-5007), and CEO of PRA, a DMC (805/884-0600); both are based in Santa Barbara, Calif. His e-mail address is [email protected].