Connect Medical And The Mayo Clinic

Connect Medical And The Mayo Clinic

Recently, Health Care Event Planning was asked to become an Executive Advisory Board member for Connect Medical, the medical arm of Connect Meetings. Connect Meetings is a US-based company located in Atlanta with 34 divisions (e.g. sports, expo, medical) that produces conferences and shows which connect professionals involved in travel, destination management, hospitality and events.

The purpose of the Connect Medical Executive Advisory Board is to gain insights from health care planners into the programming and content of future medical industry events as well as how to attract planners to Connect Medical events.

During the executive advisory board meeting, we were privileged to visit the world renown Mayo Clinic and their state-of-the-art medical facilities. The Mayo Clinic is located in Rochester, MN. The history is quite interesting. Over 150 years ago, Drs William J Mayo and Charles Mayo began their medical careers alongside their father William Worrall Mayo, who believed that “2 heads were better than one.”  This led the brothers to invite specialists from many fields to join their practice; thus the Mayo Clinic was born.

What I find fascinating about the Mayo Clinic is its rich association with the Nuns of St. Francis, who to this day are involved in the clinic. Another interesting fact is the Mayo Clinic’s commitment to salaried physicians. In North America, the majority of physicians are paid fee-for-service and that system has its challenges. Moreover, Will and Charles started a fund for medical research and education that was derived from contributing half their income to the fund! The fund continues to this day and permits the transformation of  research knowledge into breakthrough therapies and advances in patient care.

For me, the highlights of the Mayo Clinic were numerous but two examples stand out. The first is the Healthy Living Program. Imagine your local hospital investing in a state-of-the-art kitchen and staffing it with nutritionists and dieticians who could show you how to prepare healthy recipes so that you could attain your weight loss goals and reduce your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease? Further imagine, a gym equipped with all the best machines and staff to encourage you to be fit? Finally, add in yoga classes, guided meditation and other stress reduction strategies. That is what the Healthy Living Program is all about.

The second example of excellence is the Simulation Program. This provides a chance for doctors to practice a variety of situations including but not limited to operations, perfecting techniques and communicating bad news to patients (who are represented by actors).

For more information about the Mayo Clinic, visit

Top 10 Tips for a Successful Venue Site Visit

Yesterday, I did a site visit of the Hilton Meadowvale hotel. I wanted to share some tips on how to ensure you are prepared and what questions to ask during site visits:

  1. As food and beverage costs are usually the greatest costs for meetings and events, you should always ask if the venue has a meetings package. Packages include the venue rental fees and result in cost savings for your client.
  2. Another high ticket item is audiovisual (AV) costs. Most hotels have their own in-house AV company. Always ask if you can bring in your own AV supplier; this is to your advantage as you already have a close relationship with your supplier and trust their capabilities. If the venue does not allow this, do not deal with the venue. As a client, you need to have a choice with who you deal with. Hotels will let you know if their AV company isexclusive (meaning you cannot hire your regular AV supplier) or preferred.
  3. Make sure that there are no hidden fees with the preferred AV option. Sometimes, hotels charge so many extra fees that it makes it cost prohibitive to hire your AV supplier.
  4. Take notes and pictures when looking around the conference rooms; it will help you remember the space and facilitate your decision later, especially if you are looking at several venues.
  5. Ask your host if they will supply a “war room.” This is where you can store materials such as program agendas, swag bags and name tags. During the event, this is where you can hold mini meetings to resolve any issues.
  6. Ask for a written copy of their environmental initiatives. This includes what efforts the venue does to preserve natural resources (electricity, gas water).
  7. Ask whether they have a program for saving costs or earning hotel points provided the client incorporates health, wellness and social responsibility into the event. For example, Hilton Hotels offer a “Meet with Purpose Package” which offers earning 10,000 points  for running an event that includes health and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
  8. Ask if the venue organizes any team building sessions during client meetings. These can include activities such as sushi rolling, paint parties or races.
  9. Determine if the venue has trained its staff to detect human trafficking. If they do not know or answer no, use this as an opportunity to educate them about the issue of human trafficking (also known as sex slavery) in Canada, which tends to occur at downtown hotels, hotels near train stations and the airport.
  10. Ask for extra concessions such as free parking for guests or complimentary accommodations for the client and meeting planner.

For further tips on event planning, visit


Starlight Foundation Halloween Party “Trick or Suite”

Starlight Foundation held its annual Halloween Party “Trick or Suite” at the Markham Hilton Suites. The event, organized by Debbie Arato Entertainment was a huge success. Children were able to enter themed suites and experience a unique Halloween. Normally these children, who have a variety of medical conditions, are not able to participate.
The highlights were the Puppy Room where children were able to interact with golden labs and other adorable pups. The themed rooms included:
  • Star Wars, with a special appearance by R2D2;
  • Harry Potter room where kids could make their own potions
  • The Princess Room which featured several princesses singing Disney Classics
  • The Donut Wall – real delicious donuts lit up to form a pumpkin
  • The Singing Pumpkin Room – Carved pumpkins singing a bunch of songs
Different candy and chocolates were available in every room so the children left very satisfied.
The event was very well organized. Volunteers cleaned up and all rooms so that  families living far away were able to spend the night at the hotel.
Health Care Event Planning’s staff was privileged to be part of such an awesome event! We plan on volunteering there next year. Starlight Foundation hosts these halloween parties in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City.

Cannabis Use: Balancing Rights and Adverse Effects

The Cannabis Act legalizes recreational cannabis use nationwide in Canada in combination with its companion legislation Bill C-46, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code.

It’s been one day since the passing of the Cannabis Act and already some property managers are implementing new rules and regulations to restrict the consumption and cultivation of cannabis on their properties. For example, an apartment complex in Ottawa just sent their tenants a letter which stipulated that “in the interest of promoting the safety and well-being of our residents, this property is transitioning to be free of smoke and cannabis cultivation.” Under the tenancy agreement, the owners are allowed to prohibit occupants and their guests from the smoking of tobacco, cigarettes, cannabis or the burning, smoking or vaping of any substance unless this is required to accommodate a person under the provisions of the Human Rights Code. This means that if a tenant has been prescribed cannabis for medical purposes, then they are still allowed to continue doing so.

Under the new rules, tenants are also not allowed to cultivate, produce, sell or distribute cannabis in the rented premises. Any breaches to these new rules will form sufficient grounds for the landlord to seek termination of the tenancy.

These new rules were put in place to reduce potential complaints from residents about the impact of second hand smoke and odor escaping into the hallways and common areas. In addition, it was stated that “there is an attempt to minimize the adverse health impact as well as environmental and physical hazards associated with mould growth, excessive electricity consumption, fire risks and security issues that can arise if it is known that cannabis growth is occurring at a specific location.”

So it you live in an apartment building or condo, check with the property management company for any new policies and rules governing the smoking, vaping and cultivation of cannabis.

Feature in Convene Magazine: Meetings Industry Responds to Homelessness

A homeless man was following a member of Windy Christner’s team. He wanted cash.

Malak Sidky, the CEO and founder of Health Care Event Planning in Toronto, makes similar connections between human trafficking and homelessness. Sidky is active in Meeting Professionals Against Human Trafficking (MPAHT), an organization founded last year in Toronto to create awareness in the events industry about human trafficking. “Traffickers go out of their way to go to where homeless people congregate and that’s where they’re picked up,” Sidky said. The homeless “are a vulnerable population already, because they don’t have social support. These are the very people we are trying to support.”

Click here to read the full article in Convene Magazine.

Senior’s Expo 50+

Health Care Event Planning and Ronnie’s Home Care Services announce our inaugural . Senior’s Expo on September 30th at the Lebovic Centre (9600 Rutherford). The Expo will feature short seminars by experts in the field, a trade show with many vendors, entertainment and a swag bag. Tickets are available on the Health Care Event Planning website and Eventbrite for $5, however many of our vendors have free ones to distribute to boomers and seniors. Our vendors are from the health care industry, financial services and travel. You won’t want to miss this amazing show.

Relax. Learn. Recover.

Come join us at a Wellness Retreat which will be held on Saturday, October 13th at Sherwood Farm in King City. You can connect with like-minded people and explore your journey to great mental and physical health. Highlights include Laughter Yoga by Cathy Nesbitt, Equine Therapy with Jennifer Schramm, an Organic Skin Care workshop with Sharon Bates and an inspirational Business Coaching session with Claudine Pereira. Lots more activities await you. Contact Malak at Health Care Event Planning for more information. To register, go to

Woodbridge ‘event planner with heart’ wins Business Woman of Year

Malak Sidky is a high achiever. Not only has the Woodbridge resident been named York Region’s Business Woman of the Year, but she also won a second award at a ceremony hosted by the Business Women’s Network of York Region. Sidky attended the ceremony at Thornhill’s Le Parc April 26 to collect the community impact award, presented to a business woman who gives back to the community and mentors younger women in their field. But she was “completely shocked” to be awarded Business Women of the Year at the end of the night.

Health Care Event Planning president Malak Sidky (centre) is presented the Business Woman of the Year award by Business Women’s Network of York Region president Elizabeth Johnston (left) and Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill MP Leona Alleslev. – Photo courtesy of Jessica Reed

Click here to read the full article courtesy of