Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 09 2014

Meet GMC PCMA Board Member Heidi Edinger, CMP, CASE

Jill Formeister
If GMC PCMA Board Member Heidi Edinger, CMP, CASE weren’t in the hospitality industry, she would be a chef and have her own bistro. Instead, she has built a solid career in sales.  She currently is the Regional Director of Sales – Midwest for the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.  

“I work with corporate and association groups in the Midwestern states to bring their meetings and conventions to Dallas,” Heidi said. “I love to be able to market my destination to people who have either not been there or have not been for some time. It’s great to be able to share all that is fun and exciting in Dallas with people for the first time!”

Heidi explained that her biggest challenge “is to continually figure out how to stay relevant, ahead of my competition and to constantly reinvent the way that I do business. It is crucial to be nimble in this ever-changing industry.” She said that the Dallas CVB is progressive and is always looking for ways to upgrade and improve their technology and resources and how to do things differently. “Our leadership gives us the freedom to be creative and to come up with new ways to secure business and they empower our staff. We have even developed a Mentor program within the CVB to help grow and nurture our staff, which I think is pretty compelling.”

To stay current, Heidi reads a lot and studies trends and things happening in our industry and others to make sure she is well versed on developments affecting her clients.  

Stress is inherent in the industry, and Heidi experienced its effects during a health scare about a year ago. “I had an experience in my last position where I found myself in the hospital, thinking I was having a heart attack from too much stress at work. I was working way too many hours and allowed the job to consume me. It was a huge wake-up call and now, I turn the phone and computer off at a reasonable hour each day and shut work off. I also finally have someone in my life who deserves my time and focus so he is a good reason for me not to work so much!”

Now, in her free time she “loves to cook, play golf and tennis and spend time playing with my dogs. My boyfriend, Dennis, and I love to travel and sail so we’ll be doing a lot of both this summer.”

Heidi credits prior bosses David DuBois (now President and CCO of the International Assocition of Exhibitions and Events) and Dawn Poker (currently Senior Vice President, Chief Sales and Member Relaitons Officer at CUES) as mentors who significantly impacted her career. PCMA has also contributed to her career growth. “I have made some amazing friends and contacts through PCMA.  I have gained great knowledge about our industry through education offered by PCMA and from my experience serving on committees and now on the GMC Board of Directors, which has helped to hone my leadership skills. My membership in PCMA has been so valuable in many ways.” She noted that the key to getting something from an association like PCMA is to really put something into it. “You must get involved! Volunteering on a committee, participating in events and engaging with other members is key to everything.”

Here is a fun fact about Heidi: She played flute from age 6 through high school and was a champion flute player in Illinois. She played flute, piccolo, and percussion – “kind of an odd mix.”

Asked about a favorite song, she identified “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. “It is upbeat, uplifting and you just cannot help but smile and sing along when you hear it. That is where I am in my life today!” A recent Facebook quiz revealed that Penelope Cruz should play Heidi in the movie about her life. “I am good with that, except that I don’t have an accent!”