INSPIRATION

What impact has the industry made on you, your family, and your community?

by Megan Leslie

David Riddell Scholarship Recipient

Each year, SITE Foundation proudly presents a few of its members with David Riddell Scholarships to support their Global Conference registration and attendance costs. 

Here is the original essay submission from Megan Leslie, one of this year's recipients who will be joining us at Global Conference 2024 in Istanbul from February 26-29. 

by Megan Leslie

To my mind, the event industry embodies a harmonious whirlwind of activities. It represents an eclectic blend of strategic planning, streamlined management, and efficient execution of numerous events. The industry is synonymous with an energetic, high-paced environment, marked by an endless stream of concurrent activities. As event professionals, we need to become problem-solvers, coordinators, and flexible innovators, always ready to tackle any curveball that might be thrown our way.

As a child, I wasn't clear about the career path I wished to tread. Being athletic, my leadership abilities were manifested mainly through sporting activities. The time to commence my college journey dawned, and I initially chose Entrepreneurship as my major, attributing it to my innate creativity, organizational skills, and critical thinking abilities. But as I dove deeper into my studies, I realized that while these traits were intrinsic to my character, I was keen to leverage them to mold a different reality. Following this revelation, I switched my major to Resort and Hospitality Management, focusing on Event Management.

My parents endorsed this decision,confident that my skillset would help me thrive in this industry. Shortly after graduating from college, I embarked on my professional journey as an Event Coordinator with Incentive Meeting Services. The excitement of this new journey was invigorating. The industry welcomed me with open arms, presenting an intense learning curve. The hands -on experience I gathered during the initial three months in the job imparted more knowledge and insights about the event industry than my three years in college. This isn't surprising as the event industry is renowned for the practical knowledge it offers. Mentors played a significant role in my learning journey, guiding me to create and execute plans to completion. After a year in the role, I found that the specifics of the job weren't entirely in sync with my capabilities. However, I knew I wanted to continue my journey in the same industry. The people I'd met, the unforgettable experiences, and the continuous learning opportunities were far too valuable. I was certain that this industry had made an indelible mark on me and steered my professional trajectory in a direction that I wished to continue exploring.

This industry has had a profound impact on my life, my family, and my community. Personally, it has not only shaped my professional growth but also fostered my personal development. The experiences and the people I've met have enriched my understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives, encouraging empathy, adaptability, and resilience within me. This exposure to a global community has also helped me cultivate skills such as problem-solving, leadership, and team coordination, which transcend beyond my professional life. I have also been very keen on being a leader at some point during my professional career. I always thought it would come in a few years, once I reached a managerial position, but I was wrong. I can already see it in me, that I have become a leader not only to myself but to my peers in the workplace. I am able to help and lead my coworkers in the office on a daily basis. While doing this at work, it makes me want to be a part of something bigger and to be a leader in more than one organization. One professional goal for myself in the next two years is to become a leader in my SITE Chapter. SITE has been a big part in my professional growth already, I want to give back and show more people what it can do for them!

For my family, they've seen the transformation in me as I grew in this industry. They’ve seen me evolve from a college graduate into a diligent professional, facing challenges head -on and navigating my career path. They've seen me confront challenges and skillfully chart my career path, although their perception of my job is somewhat romanticized due to the travel and global exposure it offers. They've cheered me on through the peaks of my profession, such as the memorable FAM trip to Cancun that my mother was invited to, a trip she still enthusiastically recalls to everyone she meets. However, they have also been my support during the more demanding and taxing days this job entails, which can often be exhaustive. My family has also been proud and envious of me while working in the events industry. They rave to all their friends about me! I have also taught them a few travel hacks from this profession that they use quite often!

In terms of the community, my involvement in the events industry has positively influenced local businesses and vendors. As the Social Director of the Daughters of the American Revolution, I've hosted numerous community events, utilizing my professional expertise to bene fit our local society. The perks of being in the events industry have equipped me with the ability to source venues, organize catering, decorate spaces, manage volunteers, and adhere to budgetary constraints, all for the successful execution of an event. Every successful event serves as a reminder of the unique nature of the event industry and its potential to affect individuals, families, and communities alike.

The event industry is more than just organizing gatherings; it's about creating lasting memories, fostering friendships, forging connections, and bringing plans to fruition. The industry's influence seeps into every aspect of life, subtly yet significantly impacting individuals, families, and communities. I hope to continue into this industry head first, leaning as much as possible, for as there is so much more to experience! This industry has impacted me in more than one way, by helping with my professional growth goals, networking with top executives and creating lifelong memories and experiences! These are some of the ways the industry has left a significant impact on me, my family, and my community.

Written by

SITE Staff

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