Green Meetings: Why, How and Where to Hold Them

Business meetings can vary greatly in size, setting and tone, but the purpose of any successful meeting is to improve the company in some way. A meeting can be arranged to achieve objectives such as increasing sales, optimizing productivity, awarding top achievers, inspiring new ideas or producing a safer work environment.

A green meeting in particular is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “one that is organized and implemented in such a way as to minimize negative impacts on the environment and promote a positive social legacy for the host community.” The EPA recently deemed the meetings and events industry as the second most-wasteful sector in the U.S. due to the far-reaching environmental footprint left behind by air travel, audiovisual equipment, food waste and other elements.

As a result of this alarming news, many key players in the industry have addressed the problem directly and joined the movement to promote environmental sustainability. Some venues have received LEED and other green-building certifications while recycling, composting, green roofs and other eco-measures are becoming much more common. Several organizations including the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) released the ASTM/APEX standards for sustainable meetings further raising the bar on preserving environmental integrity.

At JNR Incorporated we have joined the movement to be socially responsible in our meetings in an effort to protect our planet for future generations. Ways in which we are achieving this include: utilizing local suppliers for gifts, hosting meetings at green-building certified locations, prioritizing email communication over paper collateral and using mobile ticketing, among other things. On-site, we are known to hire local services to repackage left-over food for donation, provide logo’d water bottles with fill stations to participants instead of wasteful plastic disposable water bottles and other sustainable approaches to our meeting coordination efforts. Our home building, Newport Gateway, is even LEED certified and boasts energy efficient HVAC and lighting along with practicing green cleaning and indoor air quality management. Efforts to continuously decrease our environmental footprint are ongoing.

One rather fascinating piece by GreenBiz Group editor Nikki Gloudeman listed the “Top 10 U.S. Cities for Green Meetings in 2014” and the results included a few surprises.

10. Cleveland – Two new neighboring meetings venues, The Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation, were built around the principle of sustainability.

9. Washington D.C. – The Washington Marriott Marquis will open next month as the largest hotel in the city and is expected to be one of the largest properties in the nation with LEED Silver Certification.

8. Philadelphia – The Pennsylvania Convention Center earned a LEED Gold certification for its 2011 expansion and uses a host of products made from 100 percent decompostable [sic] and biodegradable products.

7. New York City – The Javits Center which is Manhattan’s main convention complex has added a seven-acre green roof to change the heat-island effect, reduce ambient temperature of the air and improve insulation while controlling storm water runoff.

6. Nashville – The brand new Music City Center convention center has 845 solar panels, four-acre green roof with a waterproofing membrane and 14 types of vegetation and roughly half of the material used in the building was sourced within 500 miles of the site.

5. Portland – The Oregon Convention Center was the first to earn LEED certification way back in 2004 and will be renovating in an attempt to upgrade its LEED status from Silver to Gold.

4. Orlando- The Orange County Convention Center is the second-largest venue with ASTM/APEX certification thanks to LED lighting and HVAC systems, Green Seal-certified cleaning products, irrigation systems that use reclaimed water and a solar PV system.

3. Chicago – McCormick Place is the largest convention center to earn ASTM certification and has reduced energy consumption by 1.6 million kWh and increased annual waste diversion rate by 10 percent recently to maintain this status.

2. Las Vegas – A city mainly known for excess has changed as far as meetings are concerned by becoming the first and only city in the world to garner next-tier Level Two ASTM/APEX certification for the LEED Gold Sands and Venetian and LEED Silver Palazzo.

1. Denver – Probably the least surprising city on the list due to its status as a pioneer in this area, Denver became the first city to earn APEX/ASTM certification in four separate sectors: destination, meeting venue, audiovisual and food and beverage (F&B).

For more information on how to hold sustainable events, please send us an email at or click here for ten easy tips from the GMIC. You can also read our blog from November of 2013 pinpointing sustainability as one of the five biggest megatrends in meetings and events.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

How Pinterest is Changing the Travel Industry

Pinterest, the pin board-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies, has reached 25 million users. Travel has been identified the top 10 most popular category on Pinterest.

Because photos tend to evoke and have an inspirational component, Pinterest has taken travel planning to a whole new level.  Pinterest is shifting a change in travel planning in several ways:

  • Travel Inspiration: Users can build travel-inspired boards of their “Travel Bucketlists.” Pinners can browse through millions of landmarks, hotels, activities and travel destinations to create their dream vacations. Travelers who don’t know where to start their search can browse themed boards such as: Action Adventures, Italty Inspired, Summertime Hot Spots, Cruising California, or Europe in 30 Days.
  • Real Views and Reviews: Ever been somewhere that looked amazing in a commercial but was not the same thing when you got there? The beaches weren’t really turquoise blue, and the food was subpar rather than 5-Star. Now, if you really want to see how the beaches in Italy really are, you can browse real, user-generated pictures. You can find first hand photos from the real view of your hotel room, a meal at a local restaurant or local activities.
  • Industry Organizations: Hotels, Resorts, Travel Planners and Restaurants have found their social media niche. The travel industry can benefit from having a presence on Pinterest. Travel tips, hotel reviews, discounts, weather and travel advice, give travel organizations an opportunity to create credibility and expertise with users.

As a vast, sharing site with a unique, image-based pin board style, Pinterest’s strong use of imagery makes the social media site a powerful, fun-filled, travel planning tool. Because it is a visual medium Pinterest addresses a broader audience than Twitter or Facebook. One of the advantages of Pinterest compared to other social platforms is that language is not essential, which offers a wider reach.

If you are looking for some travel inspiration of your own, check out a few of JNR’s Travel Boards.

Written by Kelly Woolsey

Honoring the Women of JNR

In honor of March being Women’s History Month, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge a few of the special women who have been instrumental to the success of JNR over the past 33 years.

LuAnn Jalet: LuAnn has been one of the key contributors to JNR for over 30 years. As Chief Operating Officer, Jalet collaborates with the CEO and department heads to insure that the vision of the company is upheld through high values, top quality, and excellent customer service. Her expertise in optimizing the day-to-day operations of the company by improving systems and processes has been vital to the company’s success.

Vicki Kern: Vicki, our Vice President of Planning, began contributing her expertise to JNR over 16 years ago. She is the woman responsible for dreaming up the amazing experiences for our clients. Kern has worked with a multitude of Fortune 500 entities to provide recommendations, insights and program development. Her imaginative mind and superior creativity have earned the utmost praise from our clients throughout her tenure with JNR.

Gina Gennette: Gina contributes her more than 25 years of experience in direct and channel sales as President of the JNR Debit Card Division. She is responsible for implementing JNR’s state-of-the-art TRACTS platform that provides clients with easy access to real time information and reports. Gina’s direction of the debit card division has allowed a multitude of Fortune 500 entities to administer fast, simple and flexible rewards programs to engage their employees and customers.

Diane Herrmann: Diane is our Vice President of Operations and has been a loyal part of JNR’s team for over 17 years. She is given the challenge of turning the incentive travel and meeting trips into a reality. Herrmann is responsible for insuring that every detail of the event is picture-perfect, and guest’s needs are anticipated. Her tireless attention to detail has long been raved about by our clients.

Jenna Paseka: Jenna, Director of Key Accounts, has been working closely with clients and the JNR team to orchestrate the many details required for event success throughout her 15 years with the company. Her repertoire includes world class incentive travel, large scale business meetings, executive advisory boards and new product launches. Jenna contributes to the hospitality industry as a member of both SITE and MPI, where she has served on the Board of Directors for the Orange County Chapter over the last 2 years. She was named one of the “40 under 40” Industry Leaders to Watch in 2012 by Collaborate Magazine, and was awarded the 2011-12 Planner of the Year by MPIOC.

Beverly Laing: Beverly has over twenty years of corporate and association meeting management experience. She was named “Planner of the Year” in 2008 and “Industry Leader of the Year” in 2010 by the Southern California Chapter of MPI. She currently serves on the MPI Southern California Chapter Board of Directors and is Vice President of Finance. In addition to these accolades, she was nominated as President-Elect for the 2013-2014 MPISCC Board.

Jennifer Bowen: Aside from being an avid marathon runner, Jennifer is a veteran Account Manager who has achieved the prestigious distinction of a being awarded a Certification in Meeting Management (CMM) from MPI. Less than 500 meeting professionals worldwide hold this honor. It requires a minimum of 10 years of experience in the industry, expertise in various key areas of event planning, and a history of continuing education within the discipline.

Heather Duckworth: Heather is the glue that holds the JNR staff together as Director of Human Resources. She has over 10 years of experience with the company and completed her Professional Human Resources Certification (PHR) in 2011. Duckworth continues to increase her knowledge of HR by attending law seminars and monthly webinars. She is also a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and stays on top of industry trends.

Now that you have heard a little bit about some of the women that make JNR so special, we hope you will take a moment to say “thank you” to those who have fueled your organization’s success!


There are lots of ways to reward employees, clients, valued partners in business.   Many times, incentive rewards are delivered after a long term campaign that builds enthusiasm and provides motivation for growth achievement.   But sometimes, a short term, spontaneous reward can fit the bill, too, when specific, targeted goals are identified.  As a Travel Planner, I’ve seen clients offer all kinds of programs and events for their guests.  But in the end, they all share a common on-site goal: Providing their attendees with an experience that they could not duplicate on their own.

Well, with a special thanks to my employer, JNR, and to our hotel partners at The Beverly Hilton – I WON!  Three of my colleagues and I were rewarded for our partnership with a fabulous opportunity to view the red carpet arrivals at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards!

We were so thrilled to be taking photos from the bleacher seats as the celebrities arrived, hobnobbing in the lobby bar during the show itself, and then having more photo opportunities as the stars made their ways to the various post-event parties at the property.

Talk about an experience we couldn’t duplicate on our own!  Not too many times can you say you hung out with Hugh, Ben, Leo, George, Jennifer, Ann, Jody, and so many more.  (Yes, of course we are all on a first name basis now!)

Being able to share this exciting opportunity with my co-worker friends made it a great experience–one I won’t soon forget.  I truly believe that the best experiences are those that are shared.  That’s the beauty of incentive travel and corporate events:  When designed well, the shared experiences provide long lasting memories.

With 2013 ahead, I look forward to working with the JNR Team to plan unique travel experiences that will make your participants and honored guests feel a special as I did when enjoying my loyalty reward.


Vicki Kern

Vice President, Travel Planning 

 See our Facebook page for additional celebrity photos

Peace of Mind is a Great Incentive for Travel Planning


I’ll admit I’m a bit of a control freak, but it usually pays off. If I plan ahead, then I can let go and enjoy myself when it comes time to relax. You might say spontaneity is difficult for me, but if I’ve allowed for free time in my plan, I can be just as spontaneous as the next guy!

In my job at JNR Incorporated, I format our client proposals, laying out the details of the travel incentive programs, meetings and special events that we present to our clients. This has provided a wonderful opportunity for me to learn how to research and plan out my own travel experiences.

Since I introduced my husband to a travel program grid for a family trip we were planning to Maui about 8 years ago, we have never looked back. These grids are a detailed listing of what we have planned for each day. Some might think this sounds a bit too structured for a vacation, but once you lay out the day-by-day details, you can see if you’re over-scheduling yourself, if you’ve allowed time to relax in between full-day excursions. You don’t want to return from vacation in need of another vacation just to recover!

This day-by-day grid is also a great place to keep all of your reservation information, so you have it ready at a glance, just in case you can’t find your original reservation. Picture sitting at an airport in Hawaii on a hot and humid summer afternoon, with all of your luggage piled around you and a couple of antsy kids…You can’t find your rental car reservation information and you’re unable to remember the name of the company you booked with. You inquire at all of the rental car counters outside the airport and call all the major companies you can think of but are still unable to find your reservation. Not a great way to start a vacation. Live and learn. My husband will never live this moment down (as evidenced by this blog, where it can live on in infamy).

So, I recommend that you take the time to plan to relax. I’m sure you’ll find the time to be spontaneous!

Liz Hennessey-Brine
Senior Desktop Publisher , JNR Incorporated