Each year we head to the Healthcare Exhibitors Association’s (HCEA) Annual Meeting in search of knowledge and opportunities to reconnect.  This year was no different, except we were joined by Tropical Storm Debby.  Despite the downpours, our team found a few rays of sunshine.

Leading up to the event, our brainstorming revolved around showing our clients appreciation and how we value their trust in us. We also explored ways to connect with people that don’t already know us and conveying the many ways that GES could improve their program’s performance. To accomplish both, we decided to turn things upside-down and challenge the attendee’s perspective on their program and GES.

By challenging what you think is true; you open yourself up to new possibilities. Our goal for HCEA was to let attendees know that the GES they thought they knew – “You guys are just show contractors, right?” -  was very different from reality. This message was conveyed through an exhibit similar to our award winning booth at EXHIBITOR2012 show, but the highlight for me was our event at the Peabody Hotel.  Enlisting the help of the hotel’s chefs, we enjoyed an evening of delicious food, cocktails and (the best part for me) a hands-on cooking challenge reminiscent of the show “Chopped.”

Sure, perhaps to some the novelty of reality show competitions has worn off but being a part of the experience, I better understand the appeal.  We separated into teams (each led by a chef) and were given secret ingredients. Each team had 15 minutes to create their menus (salad or appetizer and a dessert). As the clock ticked we rushed to the pantry for ingredients, whisked the competition away from us and plated our masterpieces for tasting by the judges.

Oh, the drama of it all!

Left Image:Team Grill’s Winning 1st Course(Shrimp Spring Roll with Dipping Sauce; Right Image: Team Purée’s Winning Dessert Course (Pastry Cream Filled Vanilla Cupcake) 

The remainder of the evening entailed a relaxed dinner that left us lingering over coffee and dessert, and enjoying the bond that comes from a fun-filled experience. While the competition’s outcome was in the hands of the clearly flawed palates of the judges (my team didn’t win), we all got to know each other better which is exactly what we hoped for. Despite our loss, I want to congratulate all the winning teams. I can’t wait for next year.

Have you been to a creative event like ours? Share your photos and experiences on our Facebook wall!