ORLANDO, FL—Normally, you go to a meeting and you either come back empty-handed or with a goody bag of branded items that you may or may not need. Teneo Hospitality has turned the tables and made its networking events and meetings interactive, while helping those in need. These events are hosted in different cities across the U.S.—from the East Coast to the West Coast.
At these events, meeting planners are given backpacks or tote bags to stuff with items for the less fortunate. For example, at the launch of its 2017 program at Second Floor in Manhattan, backpacks were stuffed with personal hygiene items to donate to the New York Rescue Mission. “It is quite the undertaking because Teneo personally goes out and purchase all the items. These are items that homeless people will need—like socks and hygiene items, things you will find in a drug store,” expressed Mike Schugt, president of Teneo Hospitality Group.
“On this particularly early March night, it was cold. The Rescue Mission was expecting a high demand, so they were very appreciative,” he explained. Each bag contained 58 practical items, including dental floss, hand cream, feminine products, toothbrushes, umbrellas, blankets, Band-Aids, razors, snacks and socks designed especially for the homeless. Over 160 bags were filled that evening and delivered to the New York Rescue Mission.
Events like this have also occurred in Atlanta for the Covenant House and in Washington, DC, for a shelter for abused women. In San Francisco, the company took a different approach and provided name-brand shoes for the residents of a children’s shelter. “The kids went to school with their cool shoes, and it made them feel really good about themselves. What we do is not just about necessity—it’s about raising self-esteem for whatever entity we are supporting,” said Schugt.
Teneo has taken its efforts international as well. In November 2016, the company held its three-day summit in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. At this annual event, it partnered with a local children’s shelter. A few of the children staying there spent some time with the executives. “About five or six of the children came to experience what we were doing. They don’t really get that type of attention. They were extremely grateful,” said Schugt.
Teneo plans on taking this program “well into the future” as feedback from member hotels and clients has been overwhelmingly positive.
In 2017, Teneo will give back in 14 different cities including New York, Boston, Dallas, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta. The company plans to identify each city’s need in assisting the homeless.
“The best part of it all is that everyone participates with our team. I think it does just as much for us as it does for them,” Schugt concluded.