Annette Zarriello, CMP, CMM
ABC Supply Company
Why did you choose to become a meeting professional?
I think it chose me. For many years I provided administrative support for corporate meetings and events in the company I worked for until I was presented with the opportunity to learn the management side of planning. I jumped at the opportunity and made a commitment to learn, learn, and learn some more. Especially now, learning and being able to remain current on future developments in the industry to take my meetings and events into the future remains my top priority. Learning never stops.
What was the most challenging/fun event you have been involved in to date?
Each year, I get to plan our annual sales meeting, trade show, and managers meeting. As with all large meeting, it comes with its challenges and requires a strong sense of attention to detail. However, year after year, I get to work with outstanding members of our management team and each and every meeting turns out to be flawlessly executed, exciting, and fun.
What are the greatest rewards of being a meeting professional?
Interacting with our associates and customers and delivering creative events. I am overjoyed when I see smiles on their faces!
How has COVID-19 affected you personally?
Not personally—I am very fortunate to not have contracted the virus.
Have you or are you in the process of planning any virtual/hybrid events?
At this time, we are not planning large virtual or hybrid events. Smaller meetings are currently held on Zoom.
Are you in the process of planning any in-person events in the remaining months of 2020?
I have one small meeting on the books.
What do you see as the future of the travel and tourism industry?
After 9/11, we were afraid to fly. That fear turned around and people returned to airline travel, and they will again. The airline industry is working hard to create safe travel experiences for their customers. Face-to-face meetings will come back. It will be slow to start; maybe a hybrid form but we will have face-to-face meetings again. We are a resilient and determined industry and it is my role to show our attendees how we are providing safe meeting environments.