IAEE, Smart City Networks and Caesars Entertainment Make a Positive Impact in Local and International Communities

December 6, 2017

This article is the second in a series that we will be running throughout the holiday season shining a bright, well-deserved spotlight on companies that are #GivingBack.

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Smart City Networks and Caesars Entertainment have been working overtime to give back and make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) turned giving back into a late-night party by raising $15,000 during Humanity Rocks – A Celebration with A Cause, held Nov. 29 at the Aztec Theatre in San Antonio, Texas.

Celebrating its ninth year and hosted by founding sponsor GES, the special charity bash took place during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition, held Nov. 28-30 at the San Antonio Convention Center.

Proceeds from Humanity Rocks were donated to Boysville, a children’s home and shelter that has served the San Antonio community for more than 70 years.

Chuck Grouzard, GES executive vice president of exhibition sales, presented a check to Boysville CEO Paula Tucker during IAEE’s Annual Networking Luncheon and Awards Presentation the next day.

“Humanity Rocks has become a ‘must do’ activity at Expo! Expo! not just because it is a great networking opportunity and a lot of fun, but also because it allows the professionals in our industry to rally around a great cause,” said Grouzard.

He added, “GES is proud to sponsor this spectacular event each year.”

Founded in 1943, Boysville began as a refuge for orphaned, homeless and abandoned boys sleeping in San Antonio’s Travis Park. In an effort to keep siblings together, the organization began accepting girls into the program in 1986.

In 1995, Boysville added an emergency shelter to allow for the placement of boys and girls coming from a crisis situation and in 2004, expanded its continuum of care by accepting its first infants onto the campus.

Boysville now cares for children of all ages, from birth through college or vocational school, and through its scholarship programs assists high school graduates with college or vocational training.

“We are so grateful to IAEE and GES for selecting Boysville as their charity this year,” Tucker said.

She continued, “This donation will help us give children in need a home and a chance to grow into healthy, responsible adults. Each year, we care for over 300 children who have faced so many hardships in their young lives. We are successful because of the wonderful community support.”

Photo courtesy of IAEE Expo! Expo!

In addition to the proceeds from Humanity Rocks, Expo! Expo! attendees donated items including clothing, toiletries and toys to help the children of Boysville.

“Each year, IAEE and GES team up to offer our industry the opportunity to give back to Expo! Expo!’s host city,” said David DuBois, IAEE president and CEO. “Corporate social responsibility programs such as Humanity Rocks are a perfect example of the positive impact that exhibitions and events have on local communities.”

Last month, Smart City Networks kicked off its first annual nationwide Week of Service initiative to give back to the communities surrounding all 39 of its partner facilities.

During the week of Nov. 13-19, Smart City team members from around the nation volunteered to assist local charity organizations that were thoughtfully selected to provide the greatest impact possible to those in need.

“Our team members across the country are always finding ways to give back,” said Mark Haley, president of Smart City Networks, provider of telecommunications and event technology services to the convention industry.

He continued, “After immense positive feedback from our management team following our participation in the Salvation Army’s Christmas Assistance Program during our 2016 general managers meeting in San Antonio, we wanted to share the experience of giving throughout our entire organization.”

In early November, teams in Orlando, Tampa and Miami Beach joined cleanup crews on a mission to Keep Florida Beautiful with their local affiliates, while Smart City teams in Los Angeles, Anaheim and Long Beach assisted We Give Thanks with preparing a Thanksgiving Day feast for the homeless and less fortunate in Southern California.

Other charitable organizations chosen across the country included Ronald McDonald House; Volunteers of America; Random Acts of Flowers; Salvation Army; Blue Star Mothers of America; Dallas Life Homeless Shelter; the Neighborhood House Association Senior Center and Keep Orlando Beautiful.

Smart City’s team volunteer activities included refurbishing a senior center in San Diego; revitalizing the La Costa Urban Wetlands Park in Orlando; serving a community meal to the hungry in Las Vegas; preparing donated flowered to make bouquets for people in need in Indianapolis; serving hot food to the homeless in Denver; baking cookies for Ronald McDonald House families in Columbus, Ohio; helping take donations and serving meals to underprivileged people at the Duke Energy Convention Center Fall Feast Coat Drive in Cincinnati, and in Reno, preparing care packages for overseas military troops.

While the majority of this work was completed during the Week of Service, teams started their projects in October and continued their charitable efforts through the end of November.

After a successful and rewarding first year, Smart City plans to repeat its Week of Service in 2018.

In an effort to help reduce the spread of disease, Caesars Entertainment employees hand-delivered thousands of bars of soap to hundreds of families in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The distribution effort took place in early November in collaboration with The Service Companies and Clean the World Foundation, the largest global recycler of hotel amenities that works to prevent millions of hygiene-related deaths each year by distributing recycled soap and hygiene products to impoverished people throughout the world.

“Our relationship with Clean the World is an example of our People Planet Play corporate social responsibility platform brought to life,” said Jan Jones Blackhurst, Caesars Entertainment executive vice president of public policy and corporate responsibility.

She continued, “Not only are we engaging our team members to help to reduce the spread of bacterial diseases by distributing soap, but we are recycling nearly 50 tons of soap and bottled amenities from our properties annually.”

The soap was hand-delivered to young children and their families by Caesars employees and The Service Companies’ team members, who were awarded the trip after being nominated to participate by their colleagues.

The employee engagement competition with Clean the World and The Service Companies has taken place annually for five years, giving team members the unique opportunity to see for themselves how recycled soaps and shampoos from Caesars properties are saving lives.

In addition, contest winners had the chance to conduct hygiene education for disadvantaged children through age-appropriate skits and songs.

“Working with Clean the World to collect and recycle leftover soap was a project originally started by housekeepers in Las Vegas,” explained Heather McAuley, a beverage server at Caesars Windsor.

She continued, “I was humbled to spend a week with a fabulous group, including housekeeping colleagues who make this program happen. The gratitude shown through the smiles on these beautiful children’s faces touched my heart.”

Together with Caesars Foundation, a private foundation funded by resorts owned or operated by the company, Caesars Entertainment has supported Clean the World since 2010, gifting $3 million to the organization in financial contributions, pounds of soap and volunteer hours.

Caesars’ North American hotel properties have collected more than 2.3 million bars of soap to be sanitized, reformulated and distributed in 118 countries. In 2017 alone, more than 257,000 bars have been distributed from Caesars properties.

Is your company #GivingBack? Tweet us using the #GivingBack hashtag to @TSNN_com_us and we’ll feature what your company is doing to help make the world a better place!

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.