What You Wish You’d Known at the Beginning of Your Career

The Windmere Ballroom of The Peabody Orlando was filled to the brim yesterday afternoon at DMAI 2013, where a panelist of top DMO professionals discussed the things they've learned over the years, the ways in which the tourism and meetings industry has evolved, and the direction in which it's headed.

Some of these CEOs started out has caddies, others as tour guides, but no matter their entry-level position, all of them broke into the field unaware of what to expect.

Panel of CVB presidents and CEOs at a DMAI 2013 General Session.

Here are the things they’ve learned throughout their careers, that they only wish they’d known back then:

“I wish I’d realized the critical importance of advocacy from all parts of our industry.”

-Tom Norwalk, president and CEO, Visit Seattle

“I’ve found that this industry moves at the speed of light, and we need to know how to respond. We can’t just make change for the sake of making change.”

-Martha Sheridan, president and CEO, Providence Warwick

“It’s important to understand practical application when it comes to crisis management. When I worked for Visit Florida, on April 20, 2010, with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we needed to react quickly, and it’s hard to practically apply things you read in books 10 years ago.”

-Chris Thompson, president and CEO, Brand USA

“Success is less about individual accomplishments and more about the relationships that you form.”

-Stephanie Brown, executive director, Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau

“I learned about the importance of value proposition. We have to remember that for the communities we serve, while what we do is a lot of fun, it’s really about economic development.”

-Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination D.C.

“You learn that collaboration is more important that doing it for yourself.”

-Will Seccombe, president and CEO of Visit Florida

Sarah Beauchamp

Sarah Beauchamp was formerly assistant editor of Convene.