For those in a hospitality career, attending the World Education Congress (WEC), the global conference for the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) association, is worth getting excited about.

As one of the most respected planning and event associations, with 70 chapters worldwide, MPI provides innovative and relevant education, networking opportunities and business exchanges.

To attend the annual conference as a student is an extraordinary opportunity, and that’s exactly how Collin College student Anthony Garcia felt when he joined faculty members Karen Musa and Linda Wee at this year’s conference from Aug. 2-5 in Minneapolis, Minn.

“I met so many industry professionals and learned so much from them at WEC,” Garcia said. “As a student, this opportunity gave me the knowledge and skills I need to be successful in the meetings and events industry.”

Garcia and Musa agreed that the conference sessions were fantastic, varying in content from technology to food for special diets.

Musa and Wee’s joint presentation, “Industry Engagement in Post-Secondary Hospitality Programs,” went off flawlessly and was well received by peers.

“It was a jam packed agenda executed with military precision, which is everything I expected,” Musa said. “After all, it is a meeting for meeting planners!”

Garcia said he enjoyed the networking events that comprised industry professionals from the U.S. and all over the world.

“There were great opportunities to learn about how others got into the industry and how being a part of MPI has helped their career,” Garcia said. “Everyone provided me with encouragement to learn as much as I can and offered to be a point of contact if I had questions or needed advice.”

Despite many positive experiences, Garcia felt the most significant part of the conference was being able to attend the Future Leaders Forum.

“It provided me with so much insight into what my future career in the meetings and events industry can be like,” Garcia said. “I spoke with people who worked locally and people who planned events globally. There are endless possibilities in this industry, and learning from professionals gave me the confidence to know that I can have a successful career in the future.”

The Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Education plans to launch a student chapter of Meeting Professionals International at Collin College this fall. Interested students should attend one of the following meetings at Preston Ridge Campus Room H231.

8 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 8

11 a.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 9

For more information about the MPI student chapter, contact Karen Musa at kmusa@collin.edu.