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March 2017 Howes Group Newsletter


Take a chance. What’s that old saying? When everything is going great, the meeting planner is invisible. When there’s a problem of any type, the spotlight is on the meeting planner. Whatever it is, get it fixed and fast.

Imagine how the meeting planner for the Society for Neuroscience felt when they took a chance and invited Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalia Lama to address its annual meeting in Washington in 2005. A great idea, a new experience, delegates will love it?

Not quite.

More than 5,000 members of the nearly 35,000 attending wanted that invitation rescinded. A religious person talking to scientists about the power of mindfulness? What fluff. At the time, they considered even the idea to be a complete waste of time. The conference went on, begrudgingly they attended.

Flash forward almost a decade to 2014.

Scientific American published an article entitled:  Neuroscience Reveals the Secrets of Meditation’s Benefits. This article is the direct result of years of scientific study and collaboration between the Tibetan monks and neuroscientists. This flame for this incredible breakthrough was lit at that very conference in Washington in 2005.

The lesson? Take a chance. Think outside the box, be brave when you design your events. What may not seem to be a good fit in the moment, can in fact, be the best fit of all.

I wonder what ever happened to that ingenious event planner? I hope someone, somewhere is patting them on the back. This is an example of an act of courage that took a long time to get a return on the investment. Well worth the leap of faith – I’d say.

Timely Yours,

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