Serving as a volunteer leader sometimes feels like a family affair — quite literally, in some cases, for recent SITE and SITE Foundation presidents.
With many countries celebrating Father's Day this month, a few SITE leaders reflected on the people who first showed them the ins and outs of our industry.
“Our industry home”
My father, Ray Bloom, entered the incentive travel industry back in the late 1980s when he launched EIBTM in Geneva. The first trade association to support the show was SITE and he has always had a special connection with the community as a result. He spent many years on the SITE Foundation Board of Trustees and encouraged me to join in 2015.
My father always felt strongly about the mission of both SITE and the Foundation and its ability to really impact the industry and community through research, education and scholarships. He also encouraged me to join the Trustees to learn about the value of volunteering in an organisation like SITE and the joy that comes with building strong, lasting industry friendships.
I would say that both of us have now experienced and benefited from such friendships and I am truly grateful for that. For both of us, SITE is very much our industry home.
SITE Foundation President, 2020
CEO, The IMEX Group
“My biggest champion”
I feel so lucky as I have the most amazing mentor in Patrick [Delaney], who served as SITE President in 1992 — back when I was 9 years old!
I had a total immersion into the industry from a very early age through Patrick. I so admire the work that my Dad does in this industry. He is a real champion for the hospitality industry, lives and breathes the connections that he makes, and values the power we have as incentive travel professionals to make memorable experiences for guests when they come to our destinations.
Our shared SITE connection has always been particularly special. I learned from Patrick how important it is to get involved in volunteerism roles, and how you truly get back what you put in.
It was such an honour to follow in his footsteps, particularly as I was able to do it in a timeline that worked for me. Being a Mom of two young children, your career path is not always straightforward, and my Dad was my biggest champion when it came to putting family first and creating a volunteer path that worked for a working Mom. Being a working parent himself, his advice and support has been invaluable.
SITE President, 2021
Vice President of Business Development, DMC Network
“THE home for incentive travel"
After working for many years on the publishing side of the business for Incentive Magazine my dad, Peter Edmunds, started a representation firm called Edmunds Direct. I joined him after leaving college and traveled to do sales calls and trade events such as IT&ME. We represented hotels and publications for about five more years after I came on, and then I branched out to a “competing” opportunity that made the dinner table conversations very interesting.
Still, my father instilled in me that SITE was THE home for incentive travel. For years, I'd heard about the Crystal Awards and Global Conferences. Then, SITE SoCal luncheons and the Young Leaders conference were the catapults to my industry involvement.
SITE President, 2022
Vice President of Meeting & Incentive Sales, AIC Hotel Group
Wishing everyone in our community a happy Father’s Day, for those choosing to celebrate the holiday this month!
Final author’s note: I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank my dad, too: also responsible for jumpstarting my interest in the MICE industry. Thank you, Paul Nolan, for sharing your love of writing and media with me; for generously rifling through your Rolodex whenever I ask (yes, it’s still front and center on his desk); and, most importantly, for letting me tag along with you to my first IMEX America almost a decade ago as a wanderlusting college senior — and everything that’s sparked since.