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Tips on How to Succeed in Meetings & Events Industry

By Julie Ann Schmidt, CMM, CMP

THE MOST COMMON QUESTION asked by emerging leaders when they are looking for career advice is: “What should I know that I don’t?” And a common comment from people down the road in their career is: “Back then I didn’t know what I know now.” Here’s the best advice I’ve received that I think still rings true this many years later.

>> It’s all about relationships. This industry, while large in size, is still like a small town where everyone knows everyone. People move around from the supplier to planner side and back; and from company to company. The relationships you build along the way can help you in your career.

>> Own your reputation. Because our industry is so close knit, you will develop a reputation that will precede you, so start early and define for yourself what you want that reputation to be and carry yourself accordingly. You hear about owning your brand all the time, but your reputation is even more valuable.

>> Know your numbers. Early on I had a job where I had to track a number of data points annually for my review. We also had to crunch the numbers and compare them to the previous year’s numbers and be prepared to discuss them during the review. I was surprised as I moved on in my career that other employers did not require this of me and found future employers impressed with the data I maintained on my work load and production. Knowing your numbers is the best way to show a boss or a future employer how valuable you are.

>> Be honest. Being less than truthful in your business dealings always hurts you in the end—this gets back to owning your reputation and the fact that everyone talks to everyone.

>> Know the value of mentoring. Find mentors that you can learn from and seek advice from. The value of mentors cannot be overstated. Not all mentors have to be someone that you know or speak to; if Oprah provides you with good advice on her TV show and magazine, then she is a mentor to you. But also remember to give back and provide your mentoring skills to others—do not always assume that the mentor is older and the mentee is younger.

What is the best advice you have been given?

Julie Ann Schmidt, CMP, CMM, is the founder of the Global Emerging Leaders Community (GEL). GEL is a one-stop shop for all things in the industry geared towards emerging leaders. The organization is a portal that gives emerging leaders with zero to seven years in the industry help to embark on their career path.