Meeting Planning Career Advice from the Pros

career advice, meetings
Our favorite meeting planning career advice from a survey of 708 women

In our soon-to-be-released joint survey of 708 women by Prevue Meetings & Incentives and the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), we asked respondents to share meeting planning career advice with those who were just starting out in the industry.

The hospitality industry is known to lag behind others when it comes to breaking the glass ceiling — and new research by Prevue Meetings & Incentives and the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) found the same to be true. About half of respondents, both planners and suppliers, reported holding positions where they believed that being a woman had prohibited them from advancing any further. So we asked respondents to share their best meeting planning career advice, and here are 15 of our favorites:

“Don’t compromise your integrity! Your personal brand is everything, and nothing remains a secret. It’s a very small industry and word gets around.”

“Have an end-goal in mind, seek continuous training and professional development opportunities to get there, find a mentor who can guide you and offer advice along the way.”

“Never stop learning and wear flats.”

“Building a career is a lifetime endeavor – and not built in one day or on just one event. You too, someday, will be approaching 60 and faced with the confidence and energy of youth pushing you out of the way. Treat those ahead of you as you will hope to be treated later.”

“Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and stand up for what you think you deserve.”

“If you are interested in an upper level, managerial position, then do not accept an admin/support role even if it will get you valuable experience. Once you are labeled this way, it is close to impossible to change that perception.”

“Grow thick skin and be prepared to work for a crowd that generally only lets you know when you have done something wrong.”

“Work as if the business is your own and always think of the attendee experience when making decisions.”

“Be true to who you are….don’t put up with anyone telling you that you cannot do or be what you want due to being a woman. Being a woman is powerful, use that power in the appropriate way.”

“Lead even if you don’t have a title.”

“Present ideas, solutions and strategy in an analytical and professional manner. Do not allow emotion to cloud and presentations or judgments.”

“Look to other women as role models, learning both what and what not to do. Try not to see them as competition, but as people who very likely have dealt with/are dealing with the same challenges that you are.”

“Be ready to explain the value you add to the company at any moment. Make it your elevator speech. My experience is that what I consider multi-tasking and just getting things done and not complaining translates to, ‘it must be easy because she is handling it so well.’ Men, in my opinion, would be telling everyone about all the work they did to accomplish this task—and thus be recognized as doing something amazing. Be ready to brag!”

“Believe you are qualified and don’t allow someone that simply has more confidence to take what should be yours.”

“Align yourself with a company that has a good solid growth path for you.”

“Be an influencer, not a follower.”

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Barbara Scofidio
Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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