I got my ;irst job contract as a result of organizing an event. In 1996 I was in Nicaragua writing my thesis within a framework of a United Nations development program. Though my studies and mastering Spanish were my main targets then, I got involved with the project. After the war there were many unsolved
issues, but by bringing together three leaders of organized micro-entrepreneurs, trust was created and we
decided to execute one common marketing event. It became quite successful and received a lot of attention
in the local media, and I was hired by the U.N.
I have had the pleasure to be part of many amazing arrangements, including state visits with dinners
hosted by a queen, but the best thing that remains are the relationships you create through the projects.
One that is tops for me is meeting my Nicaraguan husband.
It would be wonderful if we could strengthen the MPI chapters in Europe. We have chapters with very
committed leaders and active members who give us good grades for our activities, but our membership
numbers are still low. More professionals should become part of the MPI family, and the European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC) should receive the attention it deserves.
MPI Chairwoman Fiona Pelham is the sweetest creature on this planet. Underneath gentleness is the
hardest-working woman who ;ights for the issues she stands for, and she has accomplished so much.
Former White House Director of Events Laura Schwartz brightens up every room she enters. She is
full of positive energy, has genuine interest for people she meets and has a heart of gold. I have seen her in
action, and she also walks her talk.
I moved from Denmark to my native Finland in 2011. In Copenhagen international meeting business
was understood. It got the attention of local politicians and media, and cooperation between different
actors was coherent. This was not the case in Finland. I joined MPI hoping to in;luence the development
of our industry. We took our ;irst baby step by organizing an event headed by Kai Mykkänen, the Finnish
minister for foreign trade, in September 2016 with a theme related to international congresses.
MPI has given me much more than I had ever dreamed of, and MPI Finland Chapter members have
become dear friends. MPI invests in chapter leaders, so my colleague/friend network has extended. I have
had the chance to meet soul sisters and brothers from other European countries, the U.S. and Canada as I
have been trained by MPI. During conventions I have received leads that have ended up in good business
I started with developing work and a “save the world” aspiration. We
cannot change it all at once, but we all can do something. For me the actions
concentrate around a small pottery village in Nicaragua. I have managed to
get the works of these very talented but poor ceramic potters exhibited in
prestigious Nordic museums. I organize these exhibitions in cooperation
with great people such as art experts, journalists and a coffee company that
transfers the works in their coffee containers free of charge. When a piece is
sold it is not only a transaction of a beautiful work of art, but the person who
made it can also send a child to school, buy better food or improve her/his
Paula Blomster is congress
manager for the Messukeskus
Helsinki, Expo and Convention
Centre. She has been an MPI
member since 2012.
Photo by Jeff Loy
MPI FINLAND CHAPTER