Winning Young Leaders share their industry secrets

Recapping the May 12 SITE Young Leader webinar

Two voices from SITE’s Young Leaders program teamed up with another two powerhouse industry professionals to deliver SITE’s latest webinar in mid-May.

In a conversation moderated by Rajeev Kohli, industry veteran Rhonda Brewer and Young Leaders Kev B. Shannon and Andres Castro shared their winning incentive travel ideas. 

All of the speakers were hoping to inspire those tuning in to challenge themselves and their teams to create award-worthy incentive programs, especially with applications for SITE’s Crystal Awards program opening later this year.

Here were just some of the questions panelists asked each other — and the audience — to weigh in on.

What’s the first thing that pops up when we say “award-winning program”?

Webinar panelists tossed out phrases like “incredible experiences,” “unable to replicate on their own,” “something people talk about forever,” “creative content,” and “collaborations.”

How do awards come into play when marketing and selling services to clients?

Winning programs translates into the perfect opportunity to present standout case studies, said Kev. It also helps you unite suppliers and other partners early on when planning a program, Andres added — especially if a repeat win is one of the goals you have for the experience you’re working to deliver. And it’s an exciting way to engage clients, said Rhonda, rounding out the discussion.

What else can you use to push for more program creativity?

Site inspections should not be underrated or underutilized, panelists agreed — and tighter budgets sometimes present the best opportunities to be creative, too!

Is sustainability over-hyped, under-hyped, or getting the right amount of attention right now by incentive professionals?

Panelists agreed the degree to which sustainability gets coverage and attendance varies by client and by industry.

Kev also pointed out that while sustainability is certainly getting attention, translating that attention into action can fall by the wayside.

Rajeev ended by challenging everyone on the session — and SITE itself — to continue educating ourselves and doing more to showcase truly sustainable actions we can all take, in the programming we deliver. 

How do you learn from your mistakes?

Refreshingly, it was also much-appreciated for the two younger voices on the panel to share some sympathy-inducing moments they’ve experienced so far in their careers and the lessons they took from them.

Find Kev and ask him about his “dancing” mix-up, or ask Andres how he learned the hard way to double-check all Pantone and other color values given by a client!

But what about the Crystals?

Rajeev brought the webinar to a close with a few tips for anyone looking to submit when SITE Crystal application submissions open later this year.

Monitor deadlines, don’t put things off until last-minute (it’s a lot of writing, he said!) and give yourself enough time to take breaks or even sleep on certain ideas before pressing the submit button, advised Rajeev.

Written by

Sydney Nolan

Sydney Nolan


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