Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Farmer

Mary Farmer

Director, Online Programs, Glion Institute of Higher Education

Mary Farmer is presently Director of Online Programs for the Glion Institute of Higher Education in Bulle and Glion-Montreux, Switzerland and lectures in the Graduate School at Glion. For more than a decade Ms. Farmer has lectured at the University of British Columbia, University of Tilburg, Leiden University and Nipissing University. She has over 30 years' experience as consultant, manager and corporate executive and has lived and worked extensively in Asia, Europe and North America. Her career began in international development in Southeast Asia where she was Project Manager for bi- and multi-lateral aid projects for CIDA, the World Bank, USAID, JICA and others. Ms. Farmer is a consultant and thought leader in global business and individual and organizational performance. Her passion is around leadership, communication, people and talent development. She has extensive expertise in influencing and coaching C-Suite and other senior leaders and specializes in workplace innovation, creating high performing teams and inclusive working environments, maximizing organizational effectiveness, development of inclusive communication strategy and succession and workforce planning design. Her many years of training, facilitating, coaching, speaking and lecturing in highly diverse environments gives her real credibility in multinational business and non-government organizations alike, and she delivers results by designing and delivering sustainable, pragmatic programs that address systemic issues requiring change. After starting with Price Waterhouse in Vancouver, Ms. Farmer helped establish Price Waterhouse Associates in Jakarta and was Indonesia's Crown Agent representative. She was advisor on integrated and special education to the Indonesian Minister of Education, and served on the Curriculum Development board of Indonesia. Ms. Farmer was senior consultant and trainer with the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam, after which she launched her own highly successful cross-cultural and diversity and inclusion consulting, coaching and training firm, Global TMC International. For more than a decade she served global clients (including Philips, Ahold, Air Asia, Air Products, TNT, Shell, Vopak, Oce, Heineken, Medtronic, Honeywell, Avery-Dennison, 3M, the Mars Corporation, ABN Amro, American Airlines, Fortis, Cisco, ING Group, Air France-KLM, Oxfam, the Dutch and Canadian Ministries of Foreign Affairs) in designing programs and strategy for leadership development, post-acquisition integration, diversity and inclusion, communication and cross-cultural and cross-border business effectiveness. In 2010 Ms. Farmer was invited to take over as Director, Global Diversity and Inclusion, for Philips in Amsterdam to reframe D&I within the company and set strategic direction internationally, including a focus on gender balance, cultural diversity, non-OECD nationals, and implicit bias. Following studies in Journalism and Cultural Anthropology, Ms. Farmer holds an MBA in International Management from Leiden University and is doctoral candidate in Organizational Behaviour at the University of Amsterdam. She holds dual Canadian and Dutch citizenship and resides in Switzerland. She speaks fluent English, Dutch, Thai, and Bahasa Indonesia, and has working proficiency in Lao, Malay, and Flemish. She speaks 'statistically bilingual' Canadian French and a smattering of Mandarin and Spanish. Mary is a member of the European Institute for Managing Diversity.

Ms. Farmer can be contacted at mary.farmer@glion.edu

Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.