My Biggest Inspiration…

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“Cooking is one of my biggest inspirations. I love to watch the cooking shows, to cut out recipes and then try to make them at home. On my bucket list for 2016, is to take a cooking class.”—Ana Aponte-Curtis, retired VP, events planning for the NAACP, and chairwoman of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners

“My greatest inspiration is my 32-year career in the hospitality industry. I am motivated and inspired by working in an industry that allows a housekeeper to put her children through college or a bellman to support his family. The work that we do in the hospitality industry changes the quality of life for people in the very neighborhoods where we live. I don’t know of any other industry that is as inspiring and motivating in this way. I got into hospitality because I wanted to be in the service industry, but I stay in this industry because it has the power to change lives.”—Julie Coker Graham, CEO and president of the Philadelphia CVB (and the first African American woman to head a major metropolitan convention and visitors bureau)

I got into hospitality because I wanted to be in the service industry, but I stay in this industry because it has the power to change lives.

I am very fortunate to be able to say that I live my inspiration every day. I’m not perfect, and life isn’t perfect. It’s unpredictable, and sometimes seems unbearable. So I take a moment in those times to acknowledge just how tough life is, but then take a moment to remember just how great life is. I am inspired by the beauty of life, the love of others, and my deep belief that whatever I am doing, whatever I am facing, I am perfectly nestled in the Creator’s will, and my life—even when it’s throwing rough stuff at me—is divinely ordered.”—Mazda T. Miles, CMM, chief event strategist for Perfection Events Inc., a 20-year-old event-planning company based in Philadelphia

My students are inspiring. I’m currently teaching a class at a local community college. The women—there are no men in the class—are bright, eager to learn and look forward to having a great career in our industry. I hope they achieve what they set out to do, in whatever position they are in. I will do what I can to help them get there.”—Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, executive VP and COO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events

“I try hard to break down my areas of success by the different aspects of my life. For example, in my professional life, success means being extremely passionate about what I do. It means valuing and supporting my employees and achieving my goals. Personally, it means spending quality time with my family—especially since we live in different cities. It also means being a good citizen of my community. Every night before I go to sleep, I write down three small successes that I’ve had that day. This simple act enforces positive thinking, which leads to more positive thinking, which leads to more success. And I don’t mean to say that they have to be three really big successes to write them down. It can be something as simple as I greeted a co-worker with a friendly smile.”—Hallie Sculler, CEO and founder of The Great Office Escape

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