Career Path

Wendy Holliday

Executive Director, PLM World, Wellington, Ohio

Wendy Holliday Headshot 2016EDUCATIONBachelor’s degree in business administration, master’s degree in education, Kent State University.

MY FIRST INDUSTRY JOB Program officer in the student-activities office at Kent State University. I worked in early advising and scheduling and new-student orientation. Kent was one of the first universities in the country creating communities within freshmen course-scheduling and housing. It is what I like to call “planned serendipity” — allowing students to form bonds without knowing we were helping behind the scenes. The concept is something I still use in events today.

MY PREVIOUS THREE JOBS Vice president of attendee acquisition and experience, Velvet Chainsaw Consulting; vice president of marketing and member services, National Association of College Stores; and assistant director of communications, special projects, and strategic partnerships, Certified Angus Beef.

WHAT I DO PLM World — an independent user community for the Siemens PLM Software product suite — doubled their size in the past month. Change can be exciting but also stressful, even if it is positive change. It is my responsibility to honor the past yet grow into a future that includes expanded education offerings, increased conference attendance, year-round member communications, and a mattering approach to sponsorships (sponsorships that attendees actually look forward to engaging with a vendor).

MOST INFLUENCED IN MY CAREER BY Gail Hull. She led the early-advising and scheduling program at Kent State University.

WHAT I LEARNED FROM HERThrough her example, I learned how to lead a team, build morale, encourage staff to excel, ask for a raise, stand up for myself, and have a little fun, too.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT MY JOBI love that I am back in association work, leading a team and making a difference. I have been so impressed with the PLM World staff and board. Their commitment and excitement about PLM World has been inspiring.

MY NEXT BIG CAREER GOAL Well, I am new to PLM World — I only started here in March — so my career goals are to see us double our attendance at our annual meeting, expand our sponsorships, and expand education with year-round digital offerings.

MY ADVICE FOR YOUNG MEETING PROFESSIONALSTake the time to invest in yourself — take the time to learn. Education does not have to be a formal course; there is a lot of great free education out there in a variety of formats. I moved from the nonprofit world to consulting and back again. My time in consulting really made me see a difference in learning approaches and priorities. Consulting agencies put a priority on learning. Often as meeting planners, learning falls to the back burner as we work to put out fires. But we all must take the time to learn to enable us to grow.

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.