by Leo Jakobson | October 23, 2018
Marriott's Convention & Resort Network is planning a new community for meeting planners in which small groups will be paired with Marriott CRN executives for five-month seminars focusing on key industry topics.

The core of the Mastermind program will be groups of eight to 10 planners and a Marriot CRN executive who will act as mentor for a series of monthly sessions focused on key industry topics such as culinary trends and strategies for engaging attendees outside of the conference room. 

"Meeting planners have the desire to push the envelope and inject creativity into meetings based on the changing demands of their customers," said Mike Wainwright (pictured), vice president of sales for Marriott's Convention & Resort Network. "I am proud of our vision to have Mastermind provide a platform that brings these talented planners together to knowledge share, brainstorm and build lifelong relationships."  

Each of those sessions will also feature a Marriott subject matter expert to provide insight, but they are not designed to be classes, the company said. Rather they are discussions in which the planners can share their own experiences and insights as well. These sessions, which will be via video for the first four sessions and then live for the fifth, will be continued on the Mastermind Lab, a Web page where members can converse, pose questions, brainstorm and build professional networks that will outlive the formal program. 

The four initial Mastermind groups will begin in March. The program was announced at the IMEX America group travel trade show at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas in October. 

In addition, Marriott's CRN has announced a pair of video education series. The first, :60 Smarter, is a series of short episodes focused on the creative execution of meetings. The second is Meetings. Made Here. A Marriott CRN Travel Show. It's goal is to show properties through the eyes of the hosts.