In Celebration of International Women’s Day, we are profiling inspiring women in the meetings industry. This article, on Jennifer Glynn, president of SITE, is the fourth in a five-part series:
Jennifer Glynn, CIS, CITIP, managing partner at Meeting Encore Ltd. and Intuitive Conferences + Events Inc. who spearheaded the creation of SITE’s Certified Incentive Travel Professional designation, took the reigns as president this year. Not only is Glynn passionate about the industry, but she believes in being an active volunteer and mentor.
Andrea Doyle (AD): You are an exception to this, but do you feel the glass ceiling, the invisible barrier that blocks women from top jobs in the hospitality industry, still exists?
Jennifer Glynn (JG): The barrier that women face is no longer a glass ceiling, but a matter of how to ‘be everything to everyone.’ Although there are more stay-at-home dads than ever before, the majority of women continue to manage the home, scheduling and care of children and/or aging parents. Women are great multi-taskers, and this is strongly demonstrated by working women who are managing professional work obligations, being the best they can be at their careers, and scheduling their family’s lives.
Some of the growth of women-owned businesses comes from a woman’s need to be able to ‘control’ her own schedule, for example, working from home or working early mornings and late nights, in order to drop kids off at school.
In the last 15 years, the industry has become more flexible with working from home, flex hours, and job sharing, and a number of industry leaders have leadership training specific to women’s advancement. Support for these initiatives will allow more women to progress up the corporate ladder.
We do need more representation of women on corporate boards and within government in order to continue to push equal pay for women.
(AD) Is there anyone who mentored you early in your career, or helped you become the type of leader you are today?
(JG) I was blessed to work with many great leaders in our industry directly and indirectly. I learned from them and my peers in the industry. Sometimes learning even more from the bad leaders.
Due to my volunteering in the industry, I have been privileged to have learned and developed my leadership skills through my involvement in SITE, FICP and MPI. I had the opportunity to lead committees, task forces, and boards that put my leadership skills to work. I encourage people to get engaged with their industry associations, you get out of it, what you put into it.
(AD) What is your proudest accomplishment?
(JG) I am proud of the team that my partners and I have continued to build at Meeting Encore Ltd and Intutiive Confererences + Events. Our teams are well-regarded in the market as partners to both our clients and our supplier community. Our motto is, ‘Trust in M.E.,’ and we work hard to select and develop individuals that represent that. Meeting Encore is celebrating its 30thanniversary this year.
(AD) What are the challenges that keep you up at night?
(Jennifer Glynn): Time. Time to contribute and accomplish all the goals that I have for our family, our companies, for SITE, for our home renovations, etc. My husband would say that I start the projects around the house and he has to finish them, as I am on to the next big idea/project.
Divisiveness. The world today seems to be getting more divisive and people are looking out for more of their own interests. Would love to see more collaboration and support for each other in the world.
Health. At an age now that we realize we are not indestructible. Our parents are getting older, friends and family battling illness. It makes you take stock and focus on what is really important in life.. the people in our lives.
(AD) What attributes and/or qualities have you developed that have helped you become successful?
(Jennifer Glynn) Probably stubbornness combined with a desire to push my comfort zones. I am always asking Why? It didn’t bode well for me in math class, but it has proven beneficial when trying to navigate my career. I have always been someone that didn’t wait for someone to offer me a job or a position but would approach them with a new position or market that I can develop. Thankfully my past employers were willing to take a risk on my ideas.
(AD) How do you define success?
(JG) Living my best life, whatever that means at the time. It is constantly changing.
(AD) What is the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
(JG) That I am insecure and overthink every decision. But this pushes me to try harder.
(AD) How did you get started in this industry?
(JG) I naturally fell into this industry again through volunteering. At high school and university, I was the organizer, planning events and gatherings. I went on to University of Guelph for a Bachelor of Commerce in Hotel & Food Administration. My career took me from managing bars and restaurants to hotel on-site sales, global sales and then on to the agency side for the last ten years. This industry means so much to me. It has allowed me to explore the world and has brought me friends around the world.
(AD) Is this what you envisioned yourself doing?
(JG) Honestly, I thought I would stay on the hotel side and continue to work up the corporate ladder. But I was presented an opportunity to own a business and then the rest as they say is history.
(AD) What does the future hold?
(JG) Continue to live my best life.