Marjaneh Majarwitz, CMP, President
Can you provide some of your background as a meeting professional?
I have been in the event industry as an independent meeting professional since 2009. My prior background included project management and engineering. Skills gained from these careers, including negotiation, budget and timeline management, and risk management and logistics allowed me to make a smooth transition.
Why did you choose to become a meeting professional?
I have always enjoyed working with others and meeting new people, and I’m highly self-motivated and conscientious about my work. These ‘ingredients’ are perfect for a career as a meeting professional. I also really enjoy learning about new properties and venues as well as new methods involved with hosting events.
What was the most challenging/fun event you have been involved in to date?
Being contracted as a freelance project manager in 2019 to support one of my clients’ national programs in Orlando was an amazing experience because I was embedded in all of the action. I was the liaison between the property and client during the program, but I ended up doing much more than that. Troubleshooting, communicating, coordinating, problem solving, and oversight were required all in real time.
What are the greatest rewards of being a meeting professional?
Hearing the satisfaction and positivity expressed in my clients’ voices when everything comes together and an event is a complete success is the best reward. Coupling this with having the provider also seeing the event as a great experience from their perspective makes this even better. When the entire team works together to achieve the ultimate goal of a successful event, this reveals the power of what people can achieve when they support each other, and this is uplifting.
How has COVID-19 affected you personally?
Obviously, due to postponement of events and uncertainty of future plans, opportunities and business revenue are impacted not only in 2020 but through second quarter of 2022. Most of my clients remain reluctant to host in-person events regardless of all the procedures in place. As a business owner, I learned to prepare for inconsistent cash flows early, so most of my payable commitments are tied to revenues.
Have you planned or are you in the process of planning any virtual/hybrid events? If so, which platform are you using?
Many of my clients have decided to postpone their events to future dates, while some are using virtual options as a short-term replacement mechanism, using Zoom due to its low cost and ease of use.
What do you see as the future of the travel and tourism industry?
The event industry thrives on face-to-face meetings. Hands-on experiences, attendee engagement, networking, and human interaction will always be main elements in the event industry, and virtual meetings cannot replace this. Even simple things such as body language or being able to whisper to someone in a side conversation are unique elements. However, with lessons learned from the current pandemic, the event industry will also adapt and, ultimately, strengthen. Hybrid events will become more popular and may even be the norm.