Keshena Patterson – HelmsBriscoe

Keshena Patterson

Manager, Global Accounts and Site Selection Specialist, HelmsBriscoe

Houston, Texas

Describe your job.

I am a site selection specialist or, as it is commonly known, a third-party planner for HelmsBriscoe. I help event planners find hotels for their conferences, meetings, and events that require group sleeping room blocks, at no charge to them. I have been doing this for three years now.

How did you get started and what got you from there to today?

I got started from a healthcare background. I was doing corporate travel involving trade shows and conferences, and I really thought this industry was fun and interesting. I still do, and I love it, even with the pandemic changing so much of it. Hospitality is a lot like healthcare in that when you enjoy what you do, you’ll always do it.

Do you have a favorite type, size, or style of event to plan?

I actually like planning incentive trips and sales kick-off meetings. They always have an objective: The event should be fun and motivating for the attendees. Also, the event production usually is
top notch.

What’s your best experience of turning lemons into lemonade?

Being a third-party planner in a pandemic, when your income is solely based on live events, is the lemons. I think continuing to move forward with grit, remembering why I started in this business, and keeping positive affirmations on hand is
the lemonade.

What’s your proudest moment so far in your career?

It’s always been when I can genuinely help people. When I know I can do something that will be beneficial for them, that’s a good thing.

How has your business adapted to the ongoing uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic?

It has not been easy one bit; it’s definitely a challenge. But I think about how I will celebrate once I get to the other side of things, because it will be a great testament to what I do.

How do you keep up with industry trends and cutting-edge developments in the convention and meeting business? What new event industry trends are you excited about?

I keep up on social media. I am on several events industry circulation subscriptions, and I follow a lot of the major trends from HelmsBriscoe, as we have a great community with news that gets shared daily. I am excited about how live events will have a new flair of getting together. I think we will enjoy them more and be a little be safer.

What are the essential skills that every newcomer into the industry should possess?

Patience, period!

What is your main takeaway from navigating the events industry during a pandemic? What changes made during the pandemic do you think will still be around in a few years?

I think hybrid events are probably going to stay around for a while because the industry has really adapted to the idea. Change is constant, and you’ll need to know how to adapt quickly and with grace.

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