When he won Super Bowl LIV as starting right guard for the Kansas City Chiefs in February 2020, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif proved himself a champion. While that would be the pinnacle of the year — maybe even a lifetime — for most people, it was only Duvernay-Tardif’s opening act. What he did next boosted him from champion to hero.
Instead of continuing to play the sport he loves, Duvernay-Tardif decided to apply his considerable talents where they were needed most: on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian, who graduated from McGill University Medical School in 2018 with a Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery degree, announced that he would opt out of the 2020-21 football season and instead work as an orderly at a long-term care facility in the Montréal area.
In a conversation with moderator Holly Ransom at 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Jan. 13, Duvernay-Tardif will share with PCMA Convening Leaders how he “reskilled” and selflessly stepped up to care for patients. “The Ultimate Act of Sportsmanship: Reinventing Yourself to Help Others” is presented by Business Events of Montréal, Le Palais des congrès de Montréal, Québec City Business Destination and Centre des congrès de Québec.
“PCMA Convening Leaders has always been a landmark event for the industry, and Business Events Montréal is proud to have been partnering with the conference for so many years,” said Yves Lalumière, CEO of Tourisme Montréal. “We share a commitment to education and innovation and, this year, the theme of reinvention particularly resonates with our industry’s new reality. That’s why the story of Montrealer Laurent Duvernay-Tardif seemed perfect for this event; it’s a story of courage and resilience, just when we need it most.”
Duvernay-Tardif’s part of the his session was filmed in one of the OASIS Immersion rooms at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, CEO Robert Mercure said. “We are convinced that you will enjoy the presentation and we hope that you may come and visit the permanent spectacular rooms OASIS immersion,” he said, “which sets the Palais and Montréal apart on the world stage, and will help business-restart efforts.”
The sponsors hope that Duvernay-Tardif’s story will inspire and reinvigorate attendees as the meetings and conventions industry looks to come back stronger than ever this year.
“It is always a pleasure to support the meeting industry,” said P.-Michel Bouchard, CEO of Québec City Business Destination and Centre des congrès de Québec. “Now, more than ever, we must learn to come together to evolve and adapt and come out stronger. What better way than to celebrate the resilience of our industry than by presenting an amazing athlete from Québec — and the Sports Illustrated 2020 Sportsperson of the year, no less — during PCMA CL. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a remarkable example of adaptability and commitment. We look forward to hearing him speak.”
As events and meetings begin to launch in 2021, Montréal and Québec City have been working to offer virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Business Events Montréal has been collaborating with Team Montréal Partners for months to make sure that planners won’t have to manage hassles related to the pandemic. They have developed a sanitary protocol, launched a video series to visit Montréal from a distance, made cancellation fees more flexible, and completely removed attrition fees.
The Palais des congrès de Montréal convention center continues to respond proactively to the event-hosting requirements prompted by COVID-19. A new leader in hybrid events, it houses various state-of-the-art studios — five are functional already — as part of its Palais Média Propulsion service, in order to increase international visibility.
In June, Québec City Business Destination hosted a virtual educational tour for 80 planners. The three-day event included a comprehensive tour of the city and included presentations from local suppliers along with live experiences. The Québec City Convention Centre wrote a Health and Safety Plan that was approved by Québec’s Health authorities and permitted the Imagine Van Gogh Exhibition to be held during summer 2020.