Meeting Professionals to Watch

Creative, innovative, resilient, and dedicated. These are just a few of the adjectives that describe ConventionSouth’s Meeting Professionals to Watch in 2021.

The individuals honored this year were nominated by industry peers or selected based on their recent accomplishments and involvement in the meetings industry. They represent a variety of industry sectors, including association, corporate, government, and educational organizations. There are also independent planners and others specializing in specific areas of expertise.

What cannot be truly measured is just how much the everyday personal and professional lives of these meeting pros have changed since the calendar turned over to 2020.

Last year, we noted planners expressed frustrations about tight budgets, last-minute changes to agendas, and issues with weather, transportation, and room blocks. Twelvemonths later, these types of issues would likely be at the bottom of the list when it comes to concerns for those in an industry that has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 has made a huge impact on my business and my programs. All events I had booked for my clients this year were either canceled or rebooked for another year,” noted one planner.

Because of the impact of COVID-19, many of these meeting professionals have had to pivot from their normal experiences, and jump into the unfamiliar territory of virtual and hybrid meetings. While some planners extoled the virtues of virtual meetings, the general consensus within the group is that they are a short-term necessity and will be around to stay, but cannot replace the camaraderie and human connection found at in-person, face-to-face meetings.

The 25 meeting professionals profiled here have all had their own unique paths into the events planning industry, with differing challenges and triumphs. However, they all share the same passion for the industry and truly believe the best days are ahead—but not without struggles.

These top 25 meeting professionals shared stories about how and why they got into the industry, and their thoughts on 2021 and beyond.

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