Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

January 2014

PCMA's 20 in Their Twenties: The Future of the Meetings Industry

By Christopher Durso, Executive Editor

I love that every day is different and that I am continuously learning. All of my co-workers, especially my boss, encourage me to think outside of the box and challenge me to take my creativity to a higher level.

What's the best day you've had in the meetings industry so far?

The best day that I have had in the meetings industry so far has to be June 29, 2013, the last day of the annual lia sophia Conference. I had been in my current position for just over a month, and for that past month I had been applying everything I had learned in school, feverishly, to the fast-approaching conference. After many long days and nights at the conference site, being there that last day and seeing the tasks that I was a part of come to fruition completely reaffirmed my decision to go into the meetings industry. I look forward to having many more great days in the meetings and events industry.

Where would you like your career to go?

Right now, I'm not sure where my career will take me, but my dream is to someday be the director of meetings and events for a corporate company.


Katie Dolan
Convention Services Manager, Ottawa Tourism Ottawa, Canada

What do you like most about your job?

I'm a people person; my job affords me opportunities that make me feel like I'm in my element. I love networking, building relationships, and meeting new people.

I also feel strongly that tourism and meetings are individually rewarding industries; combining them makes for a career that I'm excited to be a part of.

What's the best day you've had in the meetings industry so far?

I was accepted into the ICCA Forum for Young Professionals in Barcelona in 2012. The excitement and pride I felt to arrive and represent Ottawa was something I had never quite experienced before. I was thrilled to meet the other 19 people in the class, from around the world. I considered myself extremely fortunate that I was given the opportunity to learn from them, along with the amazing mentors on site. I was honored to be there, and rejuvenated about our industry. I had never been so focused to take something all in and make the most of a professional experience. I can honestly say that I have never learned so much; the three days of sessions were extremely beneficial to me, both professionally and personally. I came home with fresh/new ideas, and ready to take on more. This experience made me more certain that I wanted to continue evolving my career in the meetings industry.

Where would you like your career to go?

I have the drive to keep moving up the ladder within my organization, and will strive to lead my department one day. Perhaps even lead our destination marketing organization down the road. A more immediate goal for me is to move into a sales-manager position, as right now my duties are focused mostly on convention services. I have been exposed to, and have gained, experience on the sales side, and it's an area I am currently being mentored to move into. My ultimate goal is to be viewed as an influential leader in tourism and in the meetings industry. I believe that working for a destination marketing organization gives me the best of both these industries that I am passionate about.


Vivian Fleet
Sustainability Officer, Metro Toronto Convention Centre Toronto, Canada

What do you like most about your job?

I love how every day is different, and that I get to work with fabulous people. My imagination and creativity are always being called upon, and there is great support from the company to drive ahead with our sustainability and environmental programs.

What's the best day you've had in the meetings industry so far?

That's a hard one! I don't think I can narrow it down to just one, but I love it when programs such as our Recycling Ambassadors (when teenagers volunteer to educate and guide attendees as to how to recycle properly during a show) are positively received by our guests and clients.

Where would you like your career to go?

I would like to work with building operators and architects to develop entirely sustainable and net-positive venues — hotels and convention centers that not only run efficiently, but actually improve the surrounding environment and are healthy work spaces for all those that pass through their doors.


Megan Tate
Manager of Event, Meeting, and Travel Management, Petco Animal Supplies Stores San Diego, USA

What do you like most about your job?

What I like most about my job is that no two days are the same. I have the opportunity to work on such a wide variety of meetings and events, and I'm constantly challenged to be more strategic and improve upon the work that I do.

What's the best day you've had in the meetings industry so far?

The final day of any big event that I am responsible for brings such an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and success as well as pride in the incredible team I work with.

Where would you like your career to go?

I would like my career to continue to stretch my abilities, broaden my skill set, and provide continued leadership roles. I'm excited to see what opportunities for progression are ahead.


Ryan Barth, CMP
Sales Manager, Visit Indy Indianapolis, USA

What do you like most about your job?

Selling Indianapolis is a dream come true, because this is my hometown and I love everything it's become over the last 20-plus years.

What's the best day you've had in the meetings industry so far?

Feb. 5, 2012, in Indianapolis, when we hosted Super Bowl XLVI. The entire country was focused on Indy, and we hosted the most successful Super Bowl the NFL has ever experienced.

Where would you like your career to go?

How about the future owner of the Indianapolis Colts! I'd settle for an executive position here at Visit Indy, too.


Rosa Garriga Mora
Event Designer Barcelona, Spain

What do you like most about your job?

I love the fact that by being involved in meeting design, I help clients solve business problems, rather than just planning the logistics of a meeting (which is also a very challenging task, but very different). By helping them increase the value of their meetings and measuring it, I feel like I really contribute to their business and the industry in general.

What's the best day you've had in the meetings industry so far?

It's probably the day I made my debut as keynote speaker. I thought it was going to be the worst day of my life — my first time on stage, facing 150 meeting professionals and university staff at a Spanish business school, giving a 45-minute presentation on ROI for meetings and events. Nearly all were older and more experienced than me; why should they even listen? I must have practiced the entire presentation more than 30 times; for the last couple of weeks I delivered it on Skype to my mother every day. When I walked on stage, my heart was pumping like mad, until I noticed they were all looking at me, paying attention, like I was the big expert! After less than a minute, I felt really calm, like the audience gave me an injection of a tranquilizer, and I just enjoyed it. I really knew my stuff, just did what I had done so many times already, and it really worked!

Where would you like your career to go?

I have found my passion in meeting design, creating meeting value by applying a whole range of social sciences, from psychology and social neurology to the theater, education, and communication. Combining all this with the ROI Methodology, setting proper meeting objectives and measuring the results, I feel I have an emerging insight into the creation of really powerful and valuable meetings. I am still just a novice; I want to learn from the experts and apply in practice as a meeting designer. I want to share with others as I learn, teaching at universities, which I really enjoy, and to write and publish what I learn on my journey.


Mindy Halpert
Conference Manager, Consortium for School Networking Washington, D.C., USA

What do you like most about your job?

What I like most about my job and working in the meetings

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