Meeting Professional to Watch: Jennifer Clark

Jennifer Clark, Owner

Emerge Events

Hattiesburg, Miss.



Can you provide some of your background as a meeting professional?

I started my event management company, Emerge Events, in February of 2011. For the last 10 years we have produced a variety of events, including expos, conferences, festivals, concerts, business meetings, and more.

Why did you choose to become a meeting professional?

I have a passion for connection people and inspiring personal and professional growth. This is what meetings and events do.

What was the most challenging/fun event you have been involved in to date?

I think I am right in the thick of the most challenging time in my career. It is brutal watching how hard the pandemic has been for other small business owners, other event professionals, and the events industry in general. But I am inspired by others who are figuring out how to move forward, even though it is difficult. We are all learning new things, figuring out how to operate in the new normal, and doing the best we can to keep our heads above water.

What are the greatest rewards of being a meeting professional?

I love being a catalyst for connections and growth. I enjoy hearing stories of how people who attend my events make meaningful connections or grow personally or professionally in some way.

How has COVID-19 affected you personally?

My last in-person event was on March 4, 2020. It was an event planning conference. COVID-19 was mentioned just a couple of times, but not with any significance. How could we have known that just one week later, our world as we know it would be changed so drastically or realized that our industry would be so affected, where even many months later we cannot see an end in sight? I have not produced an in-person event since then. Every event between then and now has been canceled, postponed, or shifted to virtual.

Have you or are you in the process of planning any virtual/hybrid events? If so, which platform are you using?

I am extremely grateful my mentor in the event planning industry is Liz Caruso, an expert in all things event technology. I participated in her Ignite program for event professionals that have transformed my business. I have also joined in on her conferences and webinars about event technology. This has greatly helped me navigate the world of virtual events, since it can be overwhelming. I am using Conference Tracker by Engineerica for my upcoming conference, and I also use Zoom, Streamyard, and numerous other platforms regularly.

What do you see as the future of the travel and tourism industry?

The travel and tourism industry will bounce back. It will take a while to get back to where it was, and it may never look exactly the same as it did, but it will bounce back in some new way or another.

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