In 2002 two forward thinking meeting planners, Nancy Zavada and Amy Spatrisano, founded the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC). This global organization established a gathering place for the collaboration of professionals in the meetings and hospitality industry who were dedicated to instituting sustainable practices. Around 2005, GMIC was admitted as a member in the Convention Industry Council (CIC), which has since been renamed the Events Industry Council (EIC).
In 2009 well-known Florida-based meetings industry veteran Steven Pollock joined GMIC and initiated the process to create the GMIC Florida/Caribbean Chapter. Over the next few years both GMIC and the Chapter struggled to gain an adequate following and in 2015 GMIC notified the EIC that it was going to cease operations. The leadership at EIC did not want the industry to lose the source of knowledge that was provided by GMIC. As a result, the EIC absorbed GMIC’s knowledge base into the creation of a new signature program, creating the EIC Sustainability Leadership Committee in 2016, and GMIC existed no longer. Steven became an inaugural member of the EIC Sustainability Committee, on which he served through the end of 2019.
When GMIC shut down, the few people who were still involved in what had been the GMIC Florida/Caribbean Chapter decided to carry on. SENFC, the Sustainable Events Network, Florida & Caribbean, was officially born as an independent organization upon the filing of corporate papers with the State of Florida on November 3, 2017. Steven, who had been the closing president of the GMIC Chapter, became the founding president of the new SENFC association of sustainability-focused individuals. On March 13, 2020 the founding vice president Francis Purvey succeeded Steven as president, and Joanna Berens became the 2020/21 vice president.
Since 2016, the group has grown and provided support in many collaborative programs in furtherance of our mission to lead the meetings and events industry in the advancement of sustainable practices in Florida and the Caribbean.
Working with the National Association for Catering & Events (NACE) local and national leadership, the first SENFC acknowledged food rescue was accomplished at their national convention at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida on July 19, 2016. Watch the video documenting the effort. In the ensuing years, SENFC has supported sustainability initiatives and events of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the Florida Society of Association Executives (FSAE), the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), Live Nation (Tortuga Music Festival), Discover the Palm Beaches (Summer Tourism Celebration and The Palm Beaches Pledge), the NFL (Super Bowl LIV) and Biz Bash among others.
Recognizing the importance of engaging young professionals, SENFC has partnered with Florida International University/Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management (FIU), Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and the University of Central Florida/Rosen College of Hospitality Management (UCF) on many educational and experiential programs.
Additionally, SENFC has been a supporter of many food banks and agencies including Feeding Florida, Food Rescue US, the World Wildlife Fund, as well as the operational efforts of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Looking to the future, SENFC has been developing the website to be a repository of helpful guidance. On it can be found a wealth of information about food rescue, recycling, recordings of our online workshops, informative blogs, and contacts of our supportive community … our individual & corporate members, and our partners.