Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

January 01 2013

Visit Virginia Beach: Helping You Give Back in 2013

By Sarah Beauchamp and Katie Kervin, Assistant Editors
PCMA Convene

What's new for meetings and conventions in your destination that you're most excited about?

The CVB is excited to offer groups the opportunity to be matched with a local or international charity or nonprofit organization seeking volunteer support. The corporate social responsibility (CSR) program “One Beach, One World” broadens the reach for groups wanting to help others. The enhanced program has partnered with several organizations in six key areas: combating homelessness, hunger, and domestic violence; assisting youth and the elderly; supporting the armed forces; restoring and protecting our environment; international outreach; and general community service.

Also, planners can get acquainted with our well-trained and experienced staff via the “Meet the Team” feature on the Virginia Beach Meetings website. Unique and distinctive photos and bios are designed to express all of the individual personalities comprising the dynamic group of people that work to create meetings and events unlike any other.

What are meeting planners asking for now that they weren't asking for a year or two ago?

We are experiencing more meeting planners asking about CSR opportunities. It appears that more groups are very interested in learning about the giveback programs that destinations are offering groups as part of their conference schedule. To this end, we launched the new CSR website, “One Beach, One World,” that offers customized giveback programs for groups to select when they meet in Virginia Beach.

What is your leadership style?

I approach leadership from a perspective that is very open, flexible, and collaborative. I believe that the most effective leaders need to be open to new ideas and approaches to solving some of these new challenges. I don't believe that you can continue to operate the same way you have the past few years and expect to win in this environment. Additionally, you need to be flexible enough to accept innovative thoughts from a community of diverse thinkers. I believe that the most effective leaders are the ones that sincerely listen to all the voices in their organizations. If people don't feel valued they will disconnect. As a leader I need to prevent the disconnect from happening.

What are you most looking forward to in 2013?

I'm looking forward to less partisan bickering, new job creation for the jobless, and getting our fiscal house in order. I truly believe that nationally all of us need to get back to being excited and energized about what we do and where we live! Unfortunately, the past few years have been a tough period for most of us. The good news is, as the economy improves, our attitudes become more positive. This renewed spirit in our people not only helps our country, but it will create a renewed enthusiasm in the meetings industry!

Who has been your mentor in the meetings industry?

Jack Berry, Greater Richmond CVB; Bob Imperata, Visit Pittsburgh; and Jim Ricketts, Virginia Beach CVB.

Al Hutchinson
Vice President of Convention Sales & Marketing, Visit Virginia Beach

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