Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Get Your Green On Team wins at IMEX Frankfurt!

From left: Judy Kucharuk,
Trevor Roald, Shawna McKinley

I am so proud to have been a part of the Get Your Green On Development Team. 

Co-development and co-creation of the GYGO Game for Event Camp Vancouver was one of the most professionally and personally rewarding experiences in my career. 

I was proud to stand on the stage with Shawna McKinley, MeetGreen and Trevor Roald, Quickmobile to accept the IMEX-GMIC Commitment to Community Award during the Gala Dinner, May 23rd, 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany.

What was Get Your Green On? You can download a post project report here


Monday, May 28, 2012

Fizzy Water & the Triple Kiss

Standing atop the Frankfurt Main Tower,
Frankfurt, Germany May -2012
“Madam, would you care for water?” asks the waiter with a heavy German accent.
“Yes, please” I reply (the humidity is taking my breath away and my 12 hour deodorant is calling for a generator back up).
“Fizzy or Flat?” he asks politely
“Tap? With ice?” I respond (teetering precariously on my sustainable soapbox that I have brought with me from Canada)

The waiter returns with a teeny, tiny glass (the kind in which restaurants serve freshly squeezed orange juice) and a glass bottle of water. He uncaps the lid and pours me about 2 oz of water (1/2 of the teeny, tiny glass), sets the bottle down with the flourish of someone serving the finest Pinot Noir and slips away.

At this point a droplet of sweat has escaped my neckline and is now trickling down my back. Eyeing the bottle piously (I had requested tap water) I consider calling the waiter back, but hey…..the bottle is already opened! (I lose my footing on    the sustainability soapbox and fall off)

Grasping the glass with both hands I drink, gulping….heavens to Betsy it tastes good!

14 miniature glasses of bottled flat water later, my internal fluid levels have returned to normal. By my mathematical calculations, I have taken in more fluid than is leaking out and my brain function is now fully functional.

I begin to reflect.

Here I was….miles from home, sitting in an open air restaurant in Frankfurt, Germany with a group of friends and work colleagues.

My first transatlantic crossing evah! To be fair….they say we flew over the polar ice cap, but hey….it’s my story and transatlantic sounds much more glamorous.

The trip had not been without it’s {cough} issues. The first bump in the proverbial road (or is it the first proverbial bump in the road....which one?) came in Calgary as we all sat waiting to board the aircraft.

“Attention Ladies and Gentlemen” crackled the loudspeaker “We regret to inform you that we are having some difficulties with the in-flight entertainment system. Our engineers are working on it, but we may have to depart without it fully functional. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may  cause. If you would like to purchase a magazine or other reading material, there is time to do so before we board the aircraft”.

Then they repeated it in French.

We (all of us sitting in the boarding area heard it as) “Yo Passengers! The TV is super broken on the plane, and no….no one is actually working on it cuz it’s real broke, like blue screen of death broke. We have tried control+alt+delete, but it didn’t work so we will be flying 9.5 hours without it. Yep! No movies, no music, no television programs…..nada, nil, nothing. You will be really bored, and honestly…. you will have that single magazine read before we begin our in-flight food service, so perhaps save your money and use it to purchase more booze. Yeah….we know it sucks”.


Which brings me to this moment, sitting in the restaurant, trying to look like I belong when I so clearly do not. The jaunty blue scarf, tied at my neck that looked so European that morning, now appeared wilted and damp; high heels had been abandoned for flip flops; my makeup a distant memory in the high humidity. 

We get up to leave.

“So nice to see you again Judy” states G, a friend from Barcelona and he leans in for “the kisses”. (Insert haunting strains of banjo music here as I begin to completely over-think the situation)

  1. Will we start on the right or the left cheek?
  2. Who initiates? (always have trouble with that one)
  3. Do you hang on for the kiss? Do you embrace or is it more like one of those little ‘chickens that pick up the toothpick situation’ – do you both “bob in” for the kiss, arms at your side?
  4. Would it be two kisses or (as I had seen recently) the kiss “trifecta”?
  5. Will I fumble? If he does go for the third kiss and I am not prepared, it can change from an elegant goodbye to something more akin to a bad first date.
I lean in and we kiss right cheeks (so far so good), pulling back slightly we go to the left (almost done) and then pulling away….I hesitate ever so slightly in preparation for the rogue third kiss. Wait for it…wait for it….no! It was not to be. G is a traditionalist and a double kiss kind of fellow. My hesitation went unnoticed (thank goodness).

Whew! I glance around. My friends were laughing and smiling and for once it wasn’t about me. I was fitting in!

Over the next couple of days I mastered the double and triple kiss and by the time I arrived home safely in Canada I felt so damn European!

The next time we meet….I just might lean in for a kiss!

Maybe even attempt a quad!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

There is magic among us......we just need to find it!

Have you ever wondered what you miss when you blink? On average, human beings blink approximately 15,000 times per day. Each blink lasts between 300 and 400 milliseconds (1000 milliseconds equals 1 second). I believe that in those mere milliseconds, those moments when our eyes are closed, we may miss out on magic!

During the 2012 GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference, attendees were given the opportunity to participate in a new and innovative presentation format called Bl!nk

What is 
 An individual Bl!nk Presentation lasts for a minimum of 2 minutes and a maximum of 5 minutes. These are rapid-fire presentations meant to keep the audience engaged. High energy and fast moving!

The Bl!nk Presentations were “introduced so that we can get to know one another in different, meaningful ways and as a result, find connections that we didn’t know existed. These presentations are about what we miss, about discovering the magic among us”.

Created by Judy Kucharuk, Green Meeting Specialist & Sustainability Consultant with Footprint Management Systems Inc. and Elizabeth Henderson, Chief Sustainability Strategist with Meeting ChangeBl!nk was developed as a way to engage Association membership in an exciting new way.

Kucharuk believes that, “through the passage of time, Associations may become predictable with their conference content and the membership can disengage”. Bl!nkwas developed to:

·   Engage new members
·   Curate content
·   Discover connections

Engage New Members: Bl!nk provides an opportunity for new members to introduce themselves in a unique manner which may assist them with building relationships within the Association or Organization.

Curate Content: A Bl!nk presentation can become a way to curate new content for future conferences and education. Through the introduction of Bl!nk presentations, conference organizers can see which content creates the most buzz, the most conversation, the most “retweets”, providing valuable data when moving forward with future conferences or planning educational opportunities.

Discover Connections: A famous saying is, “we don’t know, what we don’t know” and Bl!nk presentations can assist with discovering connections that we didn’t know were there. There is magic among us!

At the 2012 GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference, the Bl!nk presentation format was introduced to the membership.

I would like to thank the following individuals who came forward with funny, engaging, inspirational and informative Bl!nk presentations. My deepest gratitude.

  • Danielle Adams @DNACSR: “Sustainable You”
  • Adrian Segar @ASegar: “Torn About Tech”
  • Mariela McIlwraith @meetingchange: “Germaphobe”
  • Greg Ruby @gregruby: “Things that make me go hmmmmm”
  • Julie Baylor @JulieBaylor: “Sustainability comes in all shapes & sizes”
  • Wendy Scott: “The Dirty Laundry of Sustainable Site Selection”
  • Mitchell Beer @mitchellbeer: Standards – The Aha Moment
  • Elizabeth Henderson @ehenderson: “Ode on a Bedbug”
Thank you!