November 2, 2021

Holly Duckworth | The Business of Meetings Podcast

Today, we have the pleasure of speaking to Holly Duckworth! Holly is a Mindfulness Specialist who has had a fantastic career in the meetings and events industry! She has spent the last decade working in the mindfulness space. Holly has written several books and recently formed the American Mindfulness Association.

In this episode, Holly tells her story, talks about what she does, and shares some great tips for making mindfulness part of your business and everyday life.

We hope you enjoy our conversation with Holly today and benefit from her excellent advice!

Holly Duckworth’s bio

Holly Duckworth, CMP, CAE, CWMF, has been called the trailblazer of mindfulness for meetings. Owner of Leadership Solutions International for 20+ years she has worked to change how we think about the impacts of stress and meetings. As a certified workplace mindfulness facilitator, she leads the 2021 IMEX mindfulness efforts in Re-energize Reef. She is the founder of the American Mindfulness Association to advance mindfulness a key strategic business practice. As the author of 4 books at the intersection of leadership, sales, and mindfulness, Holly is a sought-after global keynote speaker. Look for Holly as a featured live mindfulness trainer on Insight Timer App, or as the host producer of the Everyday Mindfulness Show with more than 150 episodes, or as a co-facilitator of the monthly Chaos to Calm Challenge for mindful leaders. She has been recognized by Smart Meetings Magazine, BizBash for her innovative approach and commitment to the health and wellbeing of meetings for planners and participants.

Holly’s journey

Holly’s journey in the meetings and events industry started when she worked as the Director of Corporate Communications for a baseball team in Oregon. Someone suggested that she should work for the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Portland, Oregon. She did so and loved the job! It allowed her to take her first leap into more formal meetings and conventions.


While working as the Convention Services Manager for the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Holly linked up with Meeting Professionals International. Several years later, MPI recruited her to work for them.

Starting her own company

Managing MPI’s volunteer chapters in the Western US remotely eventually evolved into Holly starting her own company and writing books on association leadership and meetings.

Stepping away

The stress and overwhelm of the meetings caused Holly to step away from the industry.

The American Mindfulness Association

Holly got a degree in mindfulness. Then, she blended the meetings, associations, and mindfulness to found and create the American Mindfulness Association.

Leaving MPI

Although she loved her work with MPI, Holly reached a point where she knew that her skills, talents, and services needed to be offered to organizations worldwide, so she left MPI and wrote her first book, Ctrl+Alt+Believe: Reboot Your Association for Success.

A trailblazer

Holly was one of the early trailblazers in making mindfulness mean business. She educates people in applied mindfulness practices.

Mindfulness versus meditation

Mindfulness is being fully present and non-judgemental in the present moment. Meditation is one of many possible practices that you can use to become fully present in the moment.

Infuse some mindfulness while washing your hands

While washing your hands, take a moment to feel the water temperature and the soap on your hands. Take a breath, exhale, and feel your stress flowing down your whole body, and down the drain.

Mindfulness in meetings

Take a moment before stepping into a meeting to center and focus yourself, and visualize what you want to happen in the meeting. If you feel stressed in a meeting, use the affirmation “I am at peace”. Inhale and say to yourself, “I am”. Then, exhale and say “at peace”. You can also send an energetic message to anyone stressing you out to ease the tension.

Being present

Be present and in the moment before moving into an experience, like a sales meeting, a trade show, an event, or a conference. You can do it anywhere and anytime.


IMEX has always been committed to wellness. Holly will be doing a mindfulness activity at the upcoming IMEX conference in Las Vegas.

Seven Practices to Be a Mindful Meeting Professional

Holly created a tool to help people become more grounded and calmer while at work, a sales meeting, an incentive trip, or even a trade show. She calls it Seven Practices to Be a Mindful Meeting Professional. You can download it here.

Setting an intention

You should set an intention to put your energy in motion for each day. It can be just one word, like joy, happiness, or calm. Repeat the word as you move into the day. It is a great practice to share with your team at a sales meeting.

Mindfulness practices

You can practice mindful movement by being fully present while walking or riding a bicycle.

Be present in the moment while eating a meal. Take a moment and fully experience all the food on your plate. You can also encourage everyone at the table to express something for which they are grateful.

Tips for being mindful at trade shows

  • Permit yourself to be authentic.
  • Allow yourself to be fully present with whoever is in front of you.
  • Take a break if you feel you need some time out.
  • Use this time to grow closer to others in your vulnerability, and notice those who are calm and present despite everything going on.
  • Permit yourself to say no to things you do not want to do and say yes to your mental wellbeing.

Relaxation Reef

Holly will be offering mindfulness meditations and training sessions at Relaxation Reef at the IMEX conference in Las Vegas in November.

Holly’s books

Holly co-authored the book Sell More, Stress Less: 52 Tips to Become A Mindful Sales Professional. It has a mindfulness tip for each week of the year.

Another of Holly’s books is a daily wellness check-in reader called Everyday Mindfulness: From Chaos to Calm in a Crazy World. It has a daily reminder to set an intention, a daily inspirational quote, and an inspiring story for each day.

Connect with Holly Duckworth

On LinkedIn

On her Website

Email Holly:

Holly’s podcast Everyday Mindfulness Show

Download Holly’s “Seven Practices to be a Mindful Meeting Professional” here.

Connect with Eric: On LinkedIn | On Facebook | On Instagram | Website

If you’d rather watch the video of this interview, subscribe on YouTube.

About the author 

Eric Rozenberg

For two decades, Eric Rozenberg has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and produced conferences in more than 50 countries across diverse industries. His focus is creating meetings that are not only breathtakingly memorable but which bring corporate strategies to life and amplify team motivation/performance.

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