Tarshi McCoy, CMP, CHSP, TMP, Executive Director
New Bern Riverfront Convention Center
New Bern, N.C.
Can you provide some of your background as a meeting professional?
I have been in the industry for more than 25 years between working at several hotels and working at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center. My meeting professional career started when I became the director of sales of a hotel in a quaint North Carolina town.
Why did you choose to become a meeting professional?
I didn’t choose this career; this wonderful path chose me. During my time in college, I took a front desk job at a hotel and I was inclined to learn more of the hospitality industry. I enjoyed the diversity of the guests, and it became a passion of mine to help plan the perfect event that the client has envisioned.
What was the most challenging/fun event you have been involved in to date?
New Bern’s 300th anniversary entailed a week-long event from delegates of Bern, Switzerland. We planned city-wide actives during the event, closing out the week with formal foreign and domestic delegates and an international ambassador.
What are the greatest rewards of being a meeting professional?
Having an amazing team that can execute events from beginning to end brings the incomparable satisfaction of being able to see an empty room come alive through hard work and strategic planning. It has its own unique visual beauty that nothing else can compare to. The greatest reward is being able to hear the feedback from meeting attendees and the planners on how well the event went and the eagerness to return.
How has COVID-19 affected you personally?
COVID-19 has set a halt to being able to see and make more unforgettable memories with my loved ones. However, I thank God for the smaller impact it has had on my career. I have been able to continue working during this pandemic because the facility where I work has been undergoing renovations. The downside to all this has been my limited interaction with my mom. Just like others, she has underlying health issues that put her in the high risk category. Two of my children are living in high risk cities which make travel unacceptable.
Have you planned or are you in the process of planning any virtual/hybrid events? If so, which platforms are you using? If not, what are your thoughts on virtual/hybrid events?
Currently I am not doing any virtual/hybrid events. However, here are my thoughts on virtual events: The biggest challenge with hosting a virtual event is choosing an ideal online platform and having the connectivity to ensure all attendees have an impactful experience. Hybrid events have been easier for me to master, and I have noticed they have been increasingly utilized in today’s constantly changing markets and business environments because they allow a larger number of attendees at an event. They offer the ability to have more flexibility and to pivot quickly if an unfortunate circumstance arises.
Are you in the process of planning any in-person events in the remaining months of 2020?
Yes, we are strategically planning around the current governor’s order on capacity limits.
What do you see as the future of the travel and tourism industry?
The travel and tourism industry will continue to be prevalent in a limited capacity. Although COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives, there is still a market for tourism, just in a different light.