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I started in the world of meetings and events as a travel agent. A local hospital asked me to work with them on a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program that would be combined with a ski getaway.
The hospital education department planned the program as they were certified and I planned the travel, events, and coordinated the conference.
At that time I lived in Mesa, Arizona as did the majority of the physicians. For those who have not been to the Phoenix area, you need to know that the Salt River runs through there. However, the river is dammed up and most of the time there is no water in the Salt River. Water is released to avoid overflow of the lakes. Today,  the Phoenix area has turned some of the river into beautiful parks. But, at the time that i was planning this meeting, there was only one bridge spanning the river that would allow you to get to Phoenix from Mesa and Tempe.
Disclosure: This was my very first CME group and my very first time taking a group anywhere.
Now, to continue. The Phoenix has very little rain. After all, it's a dessert. Right? Well, for two days prior to our little trip it rained steadily. The lakes were full, the water was released into the Salt River Bed. There was now limited access to Phoenix via the Mill Avenue Bridge in Tempe.
About dinner time, every person on signed up to go on the trip called me. What do we do? The flight was an 8 am flight. How will we ever make it to the airport?
My only suggestion was to suggest that they either leave an hour earlier than they normally would, or drive into Phoenix and stay overnight at a hotel. About half left for Phoenix that evening and the other half left very early in the morning.
The entire trip and the program was tremendously successful, with dine arounds, reception, ski races, etc.
What would I do differently? If the river and bridge system were still as it was (there are several bridges now), I would have given the same advice, but there would have been a disclaimer in the registration material about not being responsible for weather or floods causing a participant to be delayed or to requiring additional arrangements due to the weather.
I was fortunate that the participant's in the program were accustomed to the flooded river occurring from time to time, so they worked it out. If I were planning this today, I would do things quite differently and be sure that I did a SWOT analysis and every risk management step to assure a safe trip.

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