After another year of disruption, members of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2022 are proof positive that adaptability is a requisite skill for business events industry professionals. Christina Strohschneider, sales manager for associations at Austria Center Vienna, talks about the initiatives she has seen spring up during the pandemic that she hopes will stay with us.
What do you like most about your job?
I love working with people, with different clients from different backgrounds; because of this, no day is quite the same. As sales manager for associations, I additionally get a glimpse into the scientific universe, which also gives me the chance to expand my horizon and learn something new every day.
What has this time of disruption taught you about the industry — and yourself?
If this year has shown me one thing about this industry it is that we are one big family that supports each other even in the most challenging times. Despite most of us being competitors, the industry always is a very caring and helpful environment.
Personally, I truly discovered my passion for this industry; it is where I feel at home. No matter how difficult the situation was, I always wanted to stay in this industry.
How do you see the industry changing as a result of the pandemic?
Apart from the growth of virtual and hybrid elements, I see that companies are more risk-averse now. Clients are more hesitant when it comes to signing contracts and GTCs (general terms and conditions) are more critically reviewed than ever before.
Also, I see strong trends in the direction of legacy, sustainability, and inclusivity — I truly hope that these topics will continue to be of high relevance in the future.
What creative initiative or innovation have you seen this year that you believe should remain in a post-pandemic (or living-with-the-pandemic) world?
I recently discovered the Diverse Speakers Bureau, which aims to increase diversity and enable people from diverse backgrounds to access paid opportunities on speaker panels. They also train and support potential speakers to be confident when sharing their knowledge or telling their stories.
Another initiative I really like is #EventProfsBreakShit, where event professionals got together to test various event tech together — using their experience as organizers as well as attendees. They have tested Spatialchat, Swapcard, Shindig, and many more together.