Case Study: Executive Advisory Council Meeting in Ireland

Caliopy Glares has a unique, proven, and well curated approach to setting meeting goals, facilitating discussions skillfully and delivering an experience that engages not only participants’ minds but also their hearts and passion for the meeting agenda at hand.  She has an expert skill – albeit innate! – in tailoring her work for each client and group. Her work with our Executive Advisory Council’s mid-year planning meeting in Northern Ireland resulted in accolades from all participants as one of the most productive EAC meetings ever.  Caliopy’s pre-meeting discussions proved invaluable for setting the energizing tone and format in addition to honing in on the most critical priorities for meeting content. Her sensitivity to the participants’ energy and shifting commentaries and questioning approach throughout the meeting ensured that all voices were heard and critical thinking and reflection remained central in all discussions. Her gracious and flexible facilitator-approach to listening and leading encouraged the free ebb and flow of commentary on a myriad of tangents, and ensured that all deliverables were met – and in fact exceeded!”

J. Mara DelliPriscolli Founder, Educational Travel Consortium

The Educational Travel Consortium (ETC) serves nonprofit & for-profit travel professionals to educate, inspire & foster innovative and sustainable affinity travel programs. Every year the ETC convenes its Executive Advisory Council / EAC mid-year meeting to shape the programming for the following year’s annual conference.

However, after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic, the EAC 2022 meeting was re-envisioned with a more strategic focus on the future of the sector, ETC’s unique value proposition for members, and how ETC must adapt its conference and membership offerings to meet the changing demands of the affinity and educational travel market.  Due to the critical agenda of this meeting, and to allow full participation of all EAC Members as well as the ETC team, Caliopy Glaros was hired as an outside expert to facilitate the 2022 meeting, which took place over the course of five days in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Prior to this year’s meeting, Caliopy met with ETC’s founder, J.Mara DelliPriscoli to identify the most important deliverables and decisions to ideally emerge from this annual EAC meeting. She then developed questions that would provide for fruitful discussions among the Council Members. Wanting to leverage broader perspectives among ETC’s membership, Caliopy also developed a short survey that was sent to all ETC members and lapsed ETC members that addressed the critical questions. The survey received an unprecedented 47% response rate. Caliopy then compiled results into a Pre-Meeting Brief, which, along with the key questions, was shared with Executive Advisory Council Members one week prior to the meeting.

Photo Credit: Marc McPherson / Fresh Cut Studios

Three days before the meeting, Caliopy arrived in Dublin, Ireland to meet with ETC staff and plan for the facilitation of the meeting in more depth. In the afternoons the organizing team was taken on guided tours of Dublin, courtesy of Failte Ireland.

Once in Belfast, Caliopy facilitated five half-day workshops that led Executive Advisory Council Members through a series of highly collaborative, structured activities that addressed ETC’s highest priority needs. In the afternoons, Executive Advisory Council Members were hosted by Tourism Northern Ireland and taken on tours of the city and surrounding towns. Every day, the location of the meeting changed – from conference rooms to castles to apple orchards – and was usually preceded by a long bus ride through windy country roads and followed by a hearty Irish lunch. The uniquely immersive format of the meeting – facilitated workshops in the morning followed by well-curated immersive touring in the afternoon and diverse dining experiences in the evening – allowed Executive Advisory Council Members to bond with one another, to reflect on the morning’s activities, and to seek inspiration from the novel surroundings.

Photo Credit: Marc McPherson / Fresh Cut Studios

The meeting produced outstanding results, produced concrete deliverables, and achieved commitment from all members. Executive Advisory Council Members made suggestions on reworking the forward-looking mission and vision of the organization, assessed the state of the travel industry, and distilled the most critical industry shifts into actionable next steps for ETC and the ETC 2023 Conference programming. Executive Advisory Council Members also achieved several breakthroughs around expanding membership and specific changes to member education, as well as made critical decisions about the 2023 format of the conference. Lastly, the Executive Advisory Council Members formed working groups on five critical initiatives and committed to a year-round action plan to work at those issues. Through anonymous feedback submitted during the meeting, Council Members said this was “the most productive EAC meeting” they have ever attended and that they “loved the active and collaborative nature” of the meeting.

You can view a video of the meeting here