Janice Pauline, Director, Business Events
National League of Cities
Can you provide some of your background as a meeting professional?
I started in the meetings industry in 1990 working for the Senior Executive Association (SEA). After few years later, I then was at a crossroads in my career. I was torn between going into private practice as a mediator and continuing my career in the association/meetings world. As I was reflecting on my options, my husband asked me one simply question. “What do you want your typical workday to be like?” It was then clear to me that I wanted to work in an industry which attracted smart, fun people with the common goal of bringing people together to learn and connect though high quality, informative, and engaging events. It was 18 years ago I joined the National League of Cities (NLC) at the director of conferences and training and now serve as the director of business events. It is very rewarding work and I can say without a doubt I have zero regrets about my choice to pursue a career in the meetings industry. I love what I do.
What was the most challenging/fun event you have been involved into date?
One of the most challenging events I’ve faced was after the horrific terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 had just taken place and our country had been rocked to its core. Our lives changed forever and how we went about travel and meetings changed forever. Figuring out proper programming, convincing people to travel, and facing my own fears about traveling were all very overwhelming. Here we are, 19 years later, and our country again is being rocked at its core.
What are the greatest rewards of being a meeting professional?
The greatest rewards of being a meeting planner are the incredible experiences I have had, the amazing people I have met, and the exciting places I have been. As a friend in the industry once said, “We get to live a lifestyle that is way beyond our means.”
How has COVID-19 affected you personally?
COVID-19 has been like nothing any of us have ever experienced or could have ever imagined. . I pray every day that my friends and colleagues in this industry are okay and are staying strong. On a personal level I am immensely blessed as I have had the opportunity to slow down the very harried pace of my life and be more present with family and friends.
Have you or are you in the process of planning any virtual/hybrid events? If so, which platform are you using?
We held a few virtual events this summer and are currently preparing to host our annual convention virtually in November. We used Engagez this summer and will be using Pathable for this fall.
What do you see as the future of the travel and tourism industry?
I’ve been told I am an optimist, but I like to believe I am a realist. With that in mind, I see a bright future for the travel and tourism industry. People want to explore new places and visit old ones, and I believe we will come together and travel to meetings and tour places near and far.