James Youngblood, CEO, Heart Rhythm Society, saw many sides of the hospitality industry throughout his early post-grad days.
After grooming horses at a racetrack, owning a natural foods restaurant in the Ozark Mountains and working as a catering manager at an Omni in Texas, James eventually transitioned to a position in the meetings industry at the American Heart Association.
The new position provided plenty of professional development opportunities. James managed all of the meetings and education for more than 200 meetings each year at the AHA, including an Annual Meeting with more than 30,000 attendees. However, he was still searching for more than his current career path was offering, and his involvement with PCMA gave him one of the most important intangibles in career growth: the power of perspective.
Bringing Leadership Skills to Life
"PCMA gave me the opportunity to truly see myself as a leader," James says. "Until I began to get involved in committee work, I hadn't made the connection that I could fill a true leadership role."
After serving on a range of committees, James eventually stepped into the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors – a role he says inspired him to accept his position as CEO of the HRS.
"Working with the Board was the most collaborative and committed vision I've ever seen," James says. "There was a real sense that we were doing something that mattered to the future of the organization. On a personal level, it helped me understand how to make my career shift from meeting leadership to organizational leadership."
Powering the Future with the PCMA Education Foundation
Today, James continues to contribute his knowledge to PCMA through his continuing work with the Foundation Board.
"It's an exciting time for the Foundation," James says. "We're clear about the role of the Foundation, how it supports the work at PCMA and how all of our donors can make a difference for the future of the industry."
James' passion for PCMA makes him a natural fit for the founding donor class of the PCMA Education Foundation Legacy Society.
"I believe in PCMA. I believe in what it does. I believe in the potential that it gives to its members," James says.
Be a Leader. Be a Donor.
You can strengthen the PCMA Education Foundation and help emerging leaders refine their own career potential. Join PCMA to help tomorrow's meetings and events professionals take advantage of opportunities to learn, grow and seize their futures.
See who else is giving. Visit the PCMA Foundation homepage.