January 2020 roared to a start. I entered the year with my customary hope – dreams about the year to come, goals for business growth and personal development. MGME achieved goals each day and February accelerated even faster. Then, I remember sitting on the couch, staring at the tv on mute. Coronavirus was the hot topic – something I was not concerned about. We survived the swine flu and bird flu. These things accompany exceptional hype followed by a fizzling end, or so I thought. Not this time. Instead, the year we expected began to fizzle.
Without being dramatic, it felt like America was in the middle of a war. Sickness, death, solitude and financial ruin. Our business stumbled. We said goodbye to some incredibly talented and valued team members. We made some terribly hard decisions and found our path to survival – our way to a more certain future. As we developed a deep expertise in virtual events, we started to see light at the end of the tunnel. The weight on our shoulders felt a little lighter as time passed. Through it all though, the fear and anxiety of the pandemic remained. Blessings became clearer as well. I found myself appreciating my gratitude in a way that I never had before.
Since I was 18 years old, I traveled on a regular basis. Suddenly I found myself stir crazy while living and working from home. It became more difficult to compartmentalize work life and home life. My wife is there for me through every up and down, even when she doesn’t know it. I couldn’t do it without her.
My children would stop in my home office in the middle of the day. Traditionally, I would have given them a look that said, “don’t bother me when I am working”. Now, I quietly welcome the interruption. I know my children better than ever before. I cherish the time I spend with them. My daughter now comes down to my office every night before bed so I can braid her hair and we talk for a half-hour or so – it is the best part of my day. This is a direct result of the pandemic.
Our Team at MGME continues to be an exceptional bright spot. We pulled together in a way that I never could have imagined. Each of our team members stepped forward to accept responsibility. They showed brilliance, dedication and hard work every single day for the last 10 months. When I became tired, they energized me. When clients needed something, they responded immediately. They created incredible services to support our clients through the pandemic. We came together as a team in a way that I have always dreamt of. This is a direct result of the pandemic.
Our loyal clients stayed by our side. Aware that so much of our business had canceled, they found opportunities for us as live events diminished. They trusted us with new services and believed in our mission. We found fantastic opportunities to partner with our clients and continue our vision. This is a direct result of the pandemic.
At MGME, we believe in creating human connections. When I look back on 2020, I see opportunity after opportunity for human connections to be created – connections that were not possible a year ago. With gratitude, I welcome more of these connections. As we enter 2021, our team is extremely hopeful. Together, the world always moves forward. We are excited to see the human exceptionalism that will rise out of 2021.
In place of holiday gifts, we contributed to a wonderful cause to fight against childhood hunger in America – No Kid Hungry. Millions of kids face hunger all across the United States, in every community. There is plenty of food in this country. We also have effective programs to feed kids. The problem is not enough families have access to them. Together, we believe we can fix that.
On behalf of McVeigh Global Meetings and Events, we wish you the happiest and healthiest of holidays. Within CDC guidelines, embrace your family and friends. In the new year, I encourage you to care enough about something to dedicate your whole self to it. Enter 2021 with a plan for happiness that will carry you through the year.
Chief Executive Officer
McVeigh Global Meetings and Events