20 in Their Twenties

20 in Their Twenties Class of 2017

Members of PCMA’s fourth class of outstanding young business-event professionals talk about their dreams and the best day they’ve had in the meetings industry so far.

20_twenties_logoIt’s said that with age comes experience, but PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties program flips that conventional wisdom on its head. Because the meeting and event professionals who are honored are rather young and have already accomplished much more than their years would suggest.

This year’s group is no exception. “This is our fourth class,” said PCMA President and CEO Deborah Sexton, “and with each one, we are struck by the passion and insights these individuals bring to the business-events community. It is our honor to recognize excellence in these bright and innovative leaders.” 

20 in Their Twenties is supported by the PCMA Education Foundation and Visit Seattle. Honorees were required to be age 29 or younger and employed full time in the business-events industry, and to demonstrate why they should be considered leaders in their field. Selected by a committee of industry veterans and previous 20 in Their Twenties winners, they receive one year of PCMA membership; registration and travel expenses for PCMA Convening Leaders 2017 in Austin this month, where they will be honored from the stage; registration for the 2017 PCMA Education Conference in New York City in June; and mentorship opportunities with industry leaders—although they don’t seem to need much help in making a splash.

20s_line

070-cnvm-jan17

DEREK ANDERSON

Director of Communications and Member Services Washington State Association of Counties Olympia, Washington, USA.

What do you like most about your job?

As a “government” meeting planner, I am constantly challenged with limited budgets, outdated technology, and long-lasting traditions. These challenges are what I love most about my job. I am pushed to find creative solutions to keep our meetings fresh and engaging for all of those who attend. The chance to influence how government meetings are run and reshape expectations is incredibly rewarding.

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

The day I had several elected officials announce they had finally upgraded their cellphones. A few months before this announcement, I had a large conference where I pushed attendees further than they wanted to go by incorporating QR codes, iPads, and social media throughout the entire program. While it was a struggle at first to get attendees engaged, we were successful in the end by opening eyes and encouraging some flip-phone diehards to join the smartphone era. It was this moment where I realized that experiences in meetings can have an impact on attendees, and reshaped how I viewed my career.

Where would you like your career to go?

At some point, I would like to branch out in my career and experience what meeting planning is like in the private sector. Eventually, I would like to own and operate a small event-planning business in the Pacific Northwest.

20s_line

071-cnvm-jan17

HOLLY LAMMERT

National Convention Sales Manager Explore St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

What do you like most about your job?

I love the aspect of having the opportunity to meet new people every day, and of course, being hospitable and welcoming newcomers into the city I grew up in and love so much!

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

The best day I’ve had in the meetings industry is when I spearheaded bringing customers from Jefferson City, Missouri, into St. Louis Union Station on a private railcar for the first time since the 1970s. It was a very rewarding experience to see my clients having so much fun!

Where would you like your career to go?

My goal since I joined Explore St. Louis a little over two years ago was to become the national convention sales manager for the D.C. region—and now that I have achieved that, I have since considered growing into the director of sales role one day.

20s_line

071-cnvm-jan17MORGAN PREWITT, CMP

Event Manager, McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, USA

What do you like most about your job?

The people! They are some of the best people I’ve ever met. It’s a diverse group, full of all types of personalities. In this industry, we work 12- to 14-hour days, and it is great to have such an amazing and supportive team around me. I moved to Chicago for my dream job. I would’ve never thought I would gain a family.

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

The best day I’ve had in the meetings industry was my first big show at McCormick. I was still new to the convention center, and this show was slightly scary because of the size and caliber. It took an incredible amount of work, time, and support from everyone, and we pulled it off. I doubted myself at first, but I was taught pressure breeds excellence. It was an amazing event across the board.

Where would you like your career to go?

Every day something great happens that causes me to think bigger. While attending Howard University, I interned at Events DC, working under Chinyere Hubbard. She is my inspiration and role model. To see a woman as the VP of marketing with all male colleagues speaks volumes. I still remember the chills I had while watching her lead an executive meeting. I strive to be at that point in the future. And after that? Well, there aren’t many female general managers/CEOs over convention centers and arenas.

20s_line

072-cnvm-jan17MATTHEW FOX

Director of Registration Meeting Management Services, Washington, D.C., USA

What do you like most about your job?

Easy: the people. It’s working with my clients to design and service the perfect program. It’s talking to my partners/vendors/reps/network to get the perfect proposal. It’s collaborating with my amazing team and staff, bringing a sense of fun yet professionalism to our day-to-day lives. And it’s welcoming the participants and attendees; being that first face/point of contact, to ensure their day and experience is a positive one. Love what you do, be positive, and it’s contagious.

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

Opening morning (and the following days, too) of a conference in Las Vegas for 10,000 super-excited hairdressers. My team and I worked for many, many months transitioning the on-site registration process from pre-mailed paper badge sheets to an on-demand, all-digital registration. We were able to keep registration open through the event, save money, be green, and get the cool factor going strong!

From registering on site at branded iPad kiosks, wireless session scanning at the doors, and participants being able to change their breakout selections at the digital “ticket exchange” (think huge flat-screen TVs with 20-plus breakouts displayed on each, one TV for each time slot, with real-time class availability, just like a stock-market ticker), we took our client from old school to the future. The morning started off with a pep rally of hundreds of staff and volunteers to get the energy flowing, followed by open-ing registration where we processed thousands of people in just a couple hours with barely a hiccup. It was so cool to see almost a year’s worth of work look and run so seamlessly. It was well worth some of the sleepless nights leading up to the event.

Where would you like your career to go?

Is up an answer? Undecided—I still have many decades ahead of me and cannot commit just yet! But I do live and breathe the meetings industry, and I cannot see myself anywhere else.

20s_line

072-cnvm-jan17

MEGAN MARTIN, CMP

Senior Meeting Manager, National Conference of State Legislatures, Denver, Colorado, USA

What do you like most about your job?

What I love most about my job is that I work toward something greater than myself. The programs that I work on bring some of the greatest minds together to make real change. I know that what my organization and I do has a real impact on the lives of many people.

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

Besides the day I found out I won this award, my best day in the meetings industry is every time I step on site for one of my events. I get to see months of hard work and dozens of pages of paperwork come to life. Watching our team come together to execute our plan is an incredibly gratifying experience.

20s_line

073-cnvm-jan17 NICHOLE STEELE

National Sales Director, Experience Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

What do you like most about your job?

My favorite part of my job is teaching people about Grand Rapids and showing them why it’s the perfect place to hold their convention. I am proud to bring meeting planners to Grand Rapids to experience for themselves what a collaborative, innovative, thriving city we have in West Michigan!

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

The best day I’ve had in the meetings industry so far was in January 2015. I had been working on a large piece of business for about nine months, and we were up against a tier-one city. I received the email that we had won the bid and the conference would be coming to Grand Rapids in 2017! I was able to see all of my hard work over nine months result in my largest booking. It’s an indescribable feeling of accomplishment.

Where would you like your career to go?

I honestly love my current role at Experience Grand Rapids and the city I live in. I plan to continue and grow with Experience Grand Rapids for the duration of my career.

20s_line

073-cnvm-jan17LINDSEY WALKER, CMP

Manager, Strategic Events Visit Anaheim
Anaheim, California, USA

What do you like most about your job?

As a strategic events manager, one of my favorite parts of my job is using my creativity to make experiences come to life. From the conceptualization of an event to the headliner jumping on stage — it’s all about taking a blank canvas and transforming it into a space for people to come together, share ideas, and make connections. One day I may be working with internal departments to develop a one-of-a-kind experience here in Anaheim, and another day I may be traveling across the country to host a client event. Each day is different and provides me the flexibility to use my creativity to design and execute an unforgettable experience.

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

There are many different days that come to mind when thinking of the best day in my career so far, but there is one event that stands out. The City of Anaheim looked to us for guidance and leadership in designing and executing the grand opening of ARTIC—the Anaheim Regional Transit Intermodal Center. 

We planned and coordinated a VIP grand opening followed by a community-engagement and -awareness event. From hardhat site visits and transportation vendors, to food trucks and hiring entertainment, this event gave experience and exposure in something we had not done before. Our successes were measured by attendance at the events as well as our partnership with the city, and strengthened relationships with the community and stakeholders. Seeing it all come together was very rewarding; it was a truly educational and fulfilling experience for me.

Where would you like your career to go?

Looking in the near future, I see myself holding a leadership position that gives me the space to evolve my craft, push the envelope of what is possible, and continue to grow. Ultimately, I seek to advance the industry, make a difference in the lives of those I work with, and leave a lasting legacy in the industry. I have been very lucky to have great role models and mentors in my career, and they have been an inspiration to the kind of leader, communicator, and all-around person that I aim to be.

20s_line

074-cnvm-jan17NAIDA STRUYK, CMP

Senior Meetings Planner, National Contract Management Association, Ashburn, Virginia, USA

What do you like most about your job?

Being in an industry that I’m so passionate about at such a young age is something I’m so thankful for. The most rewarding aspect of my job is collaborating with a wide variety of professionals to produce the best events possible. Whether they are speakers, vendors, partners, or staff, we all have the common goal of inspiring attendees to take away ideas and connections that enable them to become more engaged, be more productive, and grow professionally.

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

Being recognized as one of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties has to be up there as one of my best days! The on-site conclusion of events is always very special to me, too. It’s a very proud moment to work on something for one, two, three-plus years and see it finally actualize successfully. It’s a tangible accomplishment that not all industries can experience.

Where would you like your career to go?

Throughout my career, I’d like to gain exposure to more sectors of the industry to make myself a well-rounded event professional. As my career progresses, I would like to give back to the industry by mentoring others. And of course, I’ll continue to take advantage of the fact that my career allows me to travel the country.

20s_line

074-cnvm-jan17ALEX DEERING

Senior Tradeshow and Marketing Events Specialist, Intuitive Surgical, Sunnyvale, California, USA

What do you like most about your job?

While I love the planning phase of each program/event, nothing beats the adrenaline, excitement, and organized chaos that takes place on site. I love watching all of the planning come to life; it’s such a great feeling. I also love the team collaboration and bonding that takes place while on site at an event — catching eyes with a teammate or someone who was in the thick of the planning with you and saying, “We did it!” is also extremely rewarding.

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

It is so hard to pick just one! The best days of my career thus far have been working on programs that were designed to celebrate others’ achievements. Creating memorable and lasting experiences for these individuals and their families validates why I love this industry and the opportunity we have to make an impact on others’ lives.

Where would you like your career to go?

As scary as it is to say this out loud, I have no idea where I would like my career to go, but I’m okay with that! There is still so much to learn, so much to experience, and with those experiences I know I’ll continue to define what I want most from this career. One thing I know for sure, I’m going to buckle up and enjoy the ride!

20s_line

074-cnvm-jan17TESSA KALFELL 

Convention Services Manager, Visit Seattle, Seattle, Washington, USA

What do you like most about your job?

I love being an expert on all there is to do and see in my own backyard, then getting to share everything that I love about Seattle with meeting planners.

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

The day I was hired at Visit Seattle and given the opportunity to continue in the meetings industry.

Where would you like your career to go?

I would like to continue to learn and progress to one day be running my own convention-services team.

20s_line

075-cnvm-jan17ERIC KINCAID

Corporate Sales Manager Destination DC, Washington, D.C., USA

What do you like most about your job?

I can truly say I love what I do! In my personal life, giving back to my community is very important to me, so the most rewarding part of my career is the reality that what I do every day impacts the lives of others. The fact that I get to promote a city that I love, meet and network with people from all over the world, and at the same time provide jobs and economic development still blows my mind every day. Also, from the amazing food scene, unique venues, and of course the ‘3 Ms’ (museums, monuments, and memorials), Washington, D.C., truly is home. I don’t “sell” it to my clients, but rather get to experience it with them and fall in love with the city all over again.

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

The best day in my career was the morning I received the phone call saying I received the PCMA 20 in Their Twenties award for the Class of 2017. At that moment, all was well with me. The call solidified that everything I have accomplished so far has made an impact in some form in the industry. The idea that I was receiving an award reenergized me and gave me further enthusiasm to want to do even more within the industry, in particular with PCMA. As the cliché goes, this put the icing on the cake!

Where would you like your career to go?

Being that I love hospitality and tourism, I would like to become a thought-provoking leader in the industry. Short term, gain my HMCC (Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate), become a CMP, and get promoted into a leadership-level position within the CVB/DMO world. Longer term, I would like to start my own consulting firm bringing together international destinations and underprivileged communities to give them access to see different cultures and tourism around the world. I also would like to create and own my own brand of hotels. Kincaid Hotels has a nice ring to it, if I say so myself!

20s_line

075-cnvm-jan17

KATHY SINNEN, CMP

Associate Manager, Meetings and Fellowships, American Orthopaedic Association, Rosemont, Illinois, USA

What do you like most about your job?

Meeting planning is very exciting because of the variety it offers. Each day is different and is very fast-paced. I love that my job allows me to constantly learn and build upon my skill set. My favorite part of my job is being on site at our Annual Meeting. It is extremely rewarding to see all the items that I spent months or even years planning come together like a well-oiled machine. Being in medical-meeting planning yields a high level of satisfaction, because I know that our conference provides our membership with education that is critical to improving orthopedic patient care. 

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

Outside of being selected as one of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties, obtaining my CMP certification was definitely my best day in the meetings industry thus far. The amount of time I spent studying was all worth it when the “passed” notification came up on the testing screen. It was a goal I had set for myself as a meeting planner to improve on my knowledge of the industry and solidify myself as an educated and ethical planner.

Where would you like your career to go?

I am extremely fortunate to work for an association that allows me to thrive through my passion for orthopedic education and meeting planning. I would like to continually grow within the American Orthopaedic Association, eventually serving as the director of meetings and fellowships. Along the way, my goal is to serve as a mentor to meet-ing planners entering the industry while continuing to volunteer my time to PCMA and other noteworthy associations/causes.

20s_line

076-cnvm-jan17-r1WEINI TAN

Senior Business Development Executive, Sarawak Convention Bureau, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

What do you like most about your job?

Winning. I love winning conference bids. I love winning tricky bids when Sarawak seems to be the least preferable destination and we are going up against tough competitors/well-established destinations. I love winning a client over when all hope seems dimmed and all odds are against us. I love winning the hearts of the delegates through the destination experience. My job gives me a sense of accomplishment, it challenges me, it feeds my hunger to win.

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

The best day would be getting promoted to a senior business development executive at the age of 23 in my current organization — Sarawak Convention Bureau.

Where would you like your career to go?

My short-term goal would be taking more of a managerial role, leading a team forward and inspiring younger generations to join the industry. I want to be a mentor and role model. My long-term goal for my career would be establishing a state-level convention bureau for my hometown, Kelantan, and elevating Malaysia and the Southeast Asia region to the next level in the business-events industry.

20s_line

076-cnvm-jan17-r1VANESSA E. BASS, CMP, HMCC

CEO, Foresight Event Management Manager, Sudler & Hennessey, Newark, New Jersey, USA

What do you like most about your job?

I am very much a social butterfly who enjoys meeting new people and establishing new relationships. My job provides me with the opportunity to do just that. It is gratifying to be able to prove to clients, time and time again, that their trust in me is not misguided. These relationships are built on honesty, sincerity, and commitment. It is rewarding when clients contact me to state how I have made their jobs much easier and how much they enjoy working with me. It is a constant reminder that my work ethic and career choice are meaningful. I am doing what I want to do and my career is heading in the right direction; and, in due time, I’ll be exactly where I want to be.

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

Prior to my finding out that I was an honoree of the PCMA 20 in Their Twenties Class of 2017, my best day that I have had in the meetings industry was attending Pharma Forum in New York City. I knew that I was passionate about meetings and event planning; however, I have been searching for my purpose in the industry and often contemplate the legacy that I will leave behind. Attending Pharma Forum and meeting with other professionals who share common interests and goals has sparked my creativity and rekindled my passion. This event showed me that my career path does impact others’ lives, and others trust my leadership and ability to get things done. I know that if I remain driven, continue sharing innovative ideas with other professionals, and seek guidance from those in the industry, there are no limitations as to what I can accomplish. Now that I am honoree of the PCMA 20 in Their Twenties Class of 2017, I am certain that many more opportunities will arise; it will provide me with the chance to thrive and leave behind a remarkable legacy for others to follow.

Where would you like your career to go?

I aspire to one day own my own hotel. Before that becomes a reality, however, I wish to gain experience and exposure in the corporate arena by holding prominent executive positions with varying responsibilities. I’ve had the opportunity to plan and manage both small and large events alike, and understand what it takes to execute a flawless event. Before taking the plunge and owning my own hotel business, where I expect to host all event types, I intend to learn the ins and outs of the industry so I can be more prepared to respond to potential risks or threats that may occur throughout the lifecycle of an event.

20s_line

077-cnvm-jan17ALLISON PERRELLI, CMP

Director of Meetings, Conference and Logistics Consultants Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, USA

What do you like most about your job?

It’s never a dull moment. Working for a third party, I am involved with many different conventions at one time, so it is a neverending cycling of crunch times before an event. This really makes everyday office life engaging. It’s the best of both worlds, balancing so many tasks at once and then seeing the outcome on site.

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

Hands down, being on site in Paris at Le Palais des Congrès overlooking setup day, seeing all of the months of planning and uphill battles with different cultures and language barriers come to life. It was such a great sense of accomplishment to successfully manage a 3,500-person conference internationally, and a great boost to my career.

Where would you like your career to go?

With all of the skills and experience I have gained over the past 10 years in the industry, the options are endless. Being in such an amazing profession and industry, it can really take you anywhere you can imagine. For myself, I can’t really pinpoint exactly where I will end up, but I can say that it will have been an amazing journey getting there.

20s_line

077-cnvm-jan17CHRISTINE FRYE

Sales Representative, National Trade Productions, Alexandria, Virginia, USA

What do you like most about your job?

I love the incredibly diverse array of companies that I interact with on a daily basis. As a third-party exhibit and sponsorship sales representative for a vibrant assortment of associations, my job requires me to be proficient in the nuances of the industries that our clients’ shows represent. I greatly enjoy the challenge of representing a diverse clientele on the front line. One minute I can be on a call with a large multinational pharmaceutical company, and the next with Sister Louise from a small religious nonprofit. It requires a great deal of dexterity to manage multiple clients of such vastly different industries and professional backgrounds, but I love the experience that each new day brings.

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

It is difficult to pinpoint just one day! I find a calling in the hospitality industry by welcoming others to a destination or specific event. In my previous roles representing the dynamic destinations of Philadelphia and Germany, every day was exciting and new. The roles often required hosting high-profile stakeholders and local dignitaries on behalf of the destinations. I loved being a local ambassador to showcase the destination and make the guest feel at home there. My best days ended with hearing, “I didn’t know what to expect before coming and I now have a completely different — and positive — impression! Thank you for your warm hospitality!”

Where would you like your career to go?

My personal experiences in global travel have led me to believe that face-to-face interactions between people of different nations, facilitated by international tourism and travel, have the power to change hearts and minds and contribute to international peace. This belief has led me to aspire to be an executive for a convention and visitors bureau (CVB). I value the work they do connecting visitors and convention attendees through face-to-face learning experiences in their host destinations. In addition, I appreciate how CVBs help sustain local jobs and businesses by driving economic impact to the destinations they represent. As I advance my career, I seek to gain well-rounded experience and education in the meetings and travel industries. Some dream opportunities include planning the Rotary International Convention, working with a German messe (convention center) in a U.S. subsidiary or abroad, or operating large local events with a destination management company (DMC). With each new role, I would like to gain management experience and learn to develop teams. I am looking forward to a long career in this industry!

20s_line

078-cnvm-jan17

JOHNNY D. MARTINEZ

Head of Marketing and Business Development, Shocklogic, London, England, UK

What do you like most about your job?

At Shocklogic, not one single day is the same. With our technology solutions, we support more than 550 clients in 68 countries that range from medical associations and membership-based organizations to outdoor festival organizers and corporate brands. My team at Shocklogic are like my family, so we treat each other with love and respect. We understand that by really working as a unit, we can always achieve more. I love you, Shocklogic!

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

On Jan. 18, 2014, after a tough selection process, I became one of the youngest participants to attend the exclusive IAPCO Annual Seminar in Wolfsberg, Switzerland. This is the most renowned and respected educational program in professional congress organization, and over five days I had the pleasure of learning and working with superstars from the meetings industry. My team and I worked overnight to deliver the plans for a mega medical congress, and we were recognized for having the best content.

Where would you like your career to go?

I’ve identified three key career goals that I’ll be achieving in the next 10 years:

  1. I will become the CEO of a technology company like Shocklogic, and will lead thousands of employees in providing hardware and software solutions to meet the challenging needs of the whole event lifecycle of any global meeting, convention, or business event. The idea is to create an integrator company that collaborates with other technology companies to meet every event need in the industry.
  2. I will become a world-renowned speaker for industry events organized by key international players such as IMEX, IBTM, ICCA, PCMA, MPI, and IAPCO. I will revolutionize attendee engagement through innovative meeting-design practices.
  3. I will become a top lobbyist and spokesperson of sustainability in the events industry. In order for our industry to survive, we must make sure that our planet survives first. I’m therefore responsible for leading the industry in implementing environmentally friendly strategies.

20s_line

078-cnvm-jan17

KAITLYN PALATUCCI, CMP

Washington, D.C., USA

What do you like most about your job?

My dream job would be both challenging and impactful. The work would allow for creativity and flexibility, while wearing many hats and juggling multiple tasks. Also, would love an office with double monitors—double the productivity!

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

I have had several best days in the industry so far! Every opening day of a show is better than the last—seeing your months and sometimes years of preparation finally come to life is incredible.

Where would you like your career to go?

I would like my career to continue to grow within the meetings industry while absorbing and learning as much as possible. My long-term goal is to work toward my CAE and find an association or company where I can grow into a C-level position to help propel the mission.

20s_line

079-cnvm-jan17

ANDRIAS J. WHITE, CMP, CSEP

Senior Event Manager Events DC
Washington, D.C., USA

What do you like most about your job?

As senior event manager for Events DC, I have the honor and privilege of creating world-class experiences with unforgettable impacts. I enjoy taking the vision of our clients and developing detailed action plans that bring their creative visions to life. Working in a large, multipurpose facility like the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, I play a key role in leading our internal departments and service providers to meet the very specialized needs of the diverse groups we serve. Each event is unique and critical in its own way. No two days are the same and no two days are predictable, but each day is an exhilarating challenge and a true joy.

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

In September 2016, I serviced the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 46th Annual Legislative Conference. I worked directly with representatives from the White House, Hillary for America, and the United States Secret Service to pre-pare for the Phoenix Awards Dinner, which featured appearances by President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, members of Congress, political figures, and celebrities. It was an honor to be part of the intensive planning process and to manage on-site logistics and security protocol with the lead senior event manager, service partners, and stakeholders for such a historic and truly remarkable black-tie event.

Where would you like your career to go?

My career goal is threefold. I am a lifelong learner, so I am most excited about continued opportunities to gain experience in the many sectors and best practices of live events, meetings, and conventions in the hospitality industry. Through my continued educational efforts, I hope to feed the curiosity of students and colleagues through adjunct teaching and industry guest speaking. Last but certainly not least, I hope to continue providing internship and hands-on learning opportunities for others. I would not be where I am today without experienced professionals who challenged and believed in me early in my career. I am dedicated to paying it forward and contributing to the strength of young professionals in our industry.

20s_line

079-cnvm-jan17

AMANDA MAROCHKO, DES

Events and Marketing Manager, TQ Amsterdam, The Netherlands

What do you like most about your job?

I love that I’m inspired by my peers on a daily basis. TQ serves as a technology hub for startups, and I’m fortunate enough to work on the event programming for this industry. I’m continuously learning from those around me, and I’m able to integrate new and emerging trends in the event-technology realm.

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

There are two standout moments that I’ve had in my career thus far. In 2015, I was invited to speak at ACE of MICE in Istanbul on the topic of bringing association events back to Turkey. There was a lot of political uncertainty in the region at the time, so being able to be there to connect with local event and meeting professionals was particularly important. Secondly, I would have to highlight the opening of TQ, which occurred at the beginning of October 2016. We were honored to have Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte officially open the venue alongside our partners and members from the community. We created a virtual-reality installation with Google for Entrepreneurs that allowed attendees to bike through our other venues around the world — something that was not only uniquely Dutch, but also show-cased our global network. 

Where would you like your career to go?

Events and technology have always been a passion of mine, so I would like to continue my career at the intersection of these two dynamic industries. As a web developer and an event professional, I see myself starting my own event-technology company within the meetings-support sector.

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso is executive editor of Convene.