Fueled by the Foundation: A Millennial Making a Big Impact in Meetings

Author: Desiree Bromstad       

Get to know Naida Struyk, one of the rising stars in meetings and events.

Naida Struyk

After earning her CMP and a spot in PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties Class of 2017, Naida Struyk has continued to build momentum in the meetings industry. She’s moved into a new role as a meeting specialist at Manufactured Housing Institute and helps manage the organization’s packed calendar of events. “I’m passionate about this industry,” Struyk said. “I thrive on the interaction and collaboration. Every event has so many moving parts and people, and that’s what makes it fun.”

What do you love about this industry?
It’s great to be a young person here! There aren’t many job sectors where your ideas are really sought after when you’re “green” in the field. Many in the events industry are trying to draw younger generations to their meetings, so it makes sense to have young people at the table.

What advice would you give to someone else starting out in this field?
Join PCMA! It’s unparalleled.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a young person in this field?
So many associations have great tenure, and this means I’m almost always working with people older than I am. It can be intimidating to be on a team with people who have decades of experience. But I know it’s important my voice is heard, especially when we’re trying to address the unique expectations of millennials.

Who has been a waymaker for you?
My mother. She’s worked hard throughout her career to become the vice president of finance for an IT company. She really had to make her own way, and she’s always encouraged me to advocate for myself. She taught me that you can be strong in your ideas and also act with kindness and integrity. She’s a living example of how to “be,” and I carry that with me in my own career.

Professional Motto: Work hard. Be kind. I think it’s important to do both in every situation. You treat the banquet staff the same way you treat the manager of the property.

Event Planning Super Power: Customer service with a smile. I always have a positive attitude, and this helps me thrive in high-pressure situations.

Best Advice Ever Received: Keep pushing forward. My “waymaker” mother instilled in me a sense that I could do or be anything. If I don’t achieve my goal initially, I may just need more experience or education. But I don’t give up.

The PCMA Education Foundation is committed to helping young members of the meetings industry like Struyk by supporting the 20 in Their Twenties program. Do you know a rising star who should apply to be part of the class of 2019? Or do you happen to be one of those stars? Apply here.

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