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Celebrating the event professionals' journey

Raise your hand if you have attended a conference or event that has left you inspired and motivated. Perhaps you forged new relationships with industry peers or cross-departmental colleagues. Maybe you learned new skills that took your career to new heights.

This Global Meetings Industry Day, we celebrate ‘The Event Professionals’ Journey’ as we tip our hats and say thank you to our event professionals for delivering and showcasing the undeniable value that business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and events bring to people, businesses and communities.

Speaking with some of our Event Travel Management (ETM) leaders, we discover what they love about being an event professional, their insights into the industry and how they stay adaptable and innovative in a modern event management landscape.


What do you love the most about being an event professional and why?

Tracey Edwards – Global Strategic Lead and General Manager ANZ

“There is a lot to love about being an event professional; from showcasing new destinations and experiences – to bringing people together to collaborate and network, building relationships, and providing the opportunity for people to learn. I believe you will always walk away from an event with newfound information and relationships.”

Tami Reier, CMP, CMM – SVP & General Manager, North America

“Being an Event Planner requires meticulous attention to detail, which I love. Creating a well-executed program that inspires and educates attendees is incredibly rewarding. It is incredible to see all the hard work from the planning phase come to fruition while on-site. In addition, I have been blessed to see the world and meet so many great colleagues, customers and suppliers in places that I would not have had an opportunity to do outside of this industry.”

Creating a well-executed program that inspires and educates attendees is incredibly rewarding.


Events and meetings bring people together in meaningful ways. What would you say are the biggest benefits to businesses and their people?

Mike Leeson – General Manager Events, Europe

“Building relationships, strengthening company culture and engagement are some of the biggest benefits. Having the opportunity to meet face-to-face with colleagues and peers, creating social interaction, as well as discussing work and sharing ideas, is invaluable and something that is far more difficult when conducted virtually. That said, any type of event, if conceived and delivered in the right way, can strongly convey a company’s ethos and objectives, truly engage its audience, and build a sense of belonging and loyalty.”

Marla Everett – Director Consulting Solutions, North America

“Being together face-to-face builds relationships and human connection. These factors are crucial for business productivity and teamwork. Perhaps more importantly, the emotional connection to a business drives loyalty.”

How do you strike a balance between technological innovation and maintaining a human touch during events?

Tracey Edwards

“We leverage technology for pre-event engagement, utilizing it for information sharing and promotion. During events, we incorporate technology for gamification, creating a human touch with opportunities for learning and creating memorable experiences. Our event apps facilitate communication, gamification, agenda updates and meeting matching, ensuring efficiency without compromising human interaction and engagement.”

Tami Reier

“As the attendee demographics change, technology and innovation have become even more important. Delivering exceptional registration sites and mobile apps etc, is an expectation, not a luxury. Providing the tools needed is critical to communication and planning, but allowing for in-person, face-to-face connections during the event is also incredibly important to the attendee experience.”

What steps do you take to truly understand and build a strong relationship with corporate customers, ensuring their vision aligns with the event's execution?

Mike Leeson

“We embody our ETM philosophy of ‘Connected Experiences’ by building strong client relationships, understanding their business culture, and aligning event objectives. We delve deep into their goals, audience, and messaging, integrating these throughout the event lifecycle for a connected experience, from invites to post-event action, ensuring tangible ROI and attendee satisfaction.”

Marla Everett

“We remain curious and inquire about their enterprise-level goals and match them with the event-level objectives that will produce the best attendee experience. After listening to their requirements and vision, we map out options for achieving it. Often, when brainstorming, the sky is the limit and it drives a client to imagine possibilities. Many times, the vision is then scaled to what is feasible. By dreaming big first, the client gets a feel for what is the highest priority.”


In an industry where each event is unique, how do you stay adaptable and innovative in your approach to meet the diverse needs and preferences of businesses and event attendees?

Mike Leeson

“We stay adaptable and innovative by fostering a creative mentality within our team, embracing new ideas, technologies, and diverse approaches. Collecting and acting on data and feedback from various sources helps us understand evolving trends and preferences. Keeping events fresh and engaging, whether through new technologies or unique venues, is essential for success.”

Collecting and acting on data and feedback from various sources helps us understand evolving trends and preferences.


Marla Everett

“This comes down to a client’s goals and having the experience to know the options that will help meet them. I have often said that we must be the most Type B of the Type A personalities. Every event must have a basic structure and well thought out plan. Our job is to know what to do when things change and still pull off an exceptional event.”

How do you envision the role of event professionals evolving to meet the changing needs and expectations of clients and attendees?

Mike Leeson

“In the past, the role of an Event Planner has been more focused on the organization, budgeting and logistical details of an event. While that is still a fundamental part of the job, Event Planners now need to evolve into a more creative role to be able to innovate and work with customers to produce new concepts and bring to life original ideas to deliver more unique and memorable event experiences. I also think there will continue to be a trend towards incorporating advancing technology, in a meaningful way, to engage attendees further and create a more personalized experience both virtually and in-person.” 

Marla Everett

“The concept of an ‘Event Strategist’ is gaining momentum. The strategist is the architect of either a single event or enterprise-level solution for all events within an organization. The goal is to develop a structure and a blueprint for optimizing an event and then allow a meeting planner or coordinator to execute the event. The strategist is becoming necessary because event planning incorporates so many important disciplines, including legal, risk, security, technology, data, and logistics, and weaving them together requires a high level of expertise.”

What significance will events play in the future for a rapidly evolving global landscape?

Tracey Edwards

“Events will remain integral in the future, catalyzing innovation, collaboration and positive economic and cultural impacts. The format and execution of events may evolve, but their fundamental role in connecting people and driving progress will continue.”

Events will remain integral in the future, catalyzing innovation, collaboration and positive economic and cultural impacts.

Tami Reier

“Collaboration travel has gained traction and popularity in recent years. In North America, we are witnessing a growth in the number of programs executed as well as an increase in corporate spend on meetings and events, which speaks volumes of the importance placed for in-person engagement. In a recent survey conducted by ETM North America, 95% of customers indicated they will have the same or more meetings in 2024 compared to last year. As more employees are working from home, having that in-person connection is critical to education, motivation and driving company culture.”

Seeking a team of professionals to elevate your next event experience?

Contact ETM today.