Convention Sales Manager, Destination DC; Washington, D.C.

Members of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2019 see a bright future for the business events industry, a future to which they plan to contribute. Kara Hsu shares her impressions of and expectations for the industry.

What do you like most about your job?

The people! I love getting to work with clients and partners in the hospitality industry. There is no other industry with such diverse perspectives as hospitality. On a daily basis, I meet planners from all industries and it is fascinating to learn something new from each of them.

Where would you like your career to go?

It is hard to say what my next step will be, but I know I will continue pursuing my passion to make the events industry more sustainable. I dream about inspiring every city, community, and conference to be environmentally-friendly, so that one day it is not just a topic of conversation, but a standard practice. I will continue to find ways to push D.C. to the forefront as one of the best cities to host sustainable conferences. Keep an eye out for our new research about sustainable meetings in D.C. early next year!

What’s the best day you’ve had in the meetings industry so far?

A tradition we have at Destination DC is delivering cherry pies to our Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Chicago clients every spring season. It is a special time in D.C. as we anticipate the beautiful National Cherry Blossom Festival and thank clients for their business with a seasonal pie. This year, I led our team deliveries in Chicago as we shared close to 120 cherry pies with our clients. Year after year, it is so rewarding to see planners light up with gratitude when they realize it’s “pie day.” I truly cherish these moments of excitement and in-person interaction with my clients.

What will be the biggest change in the industry over the next 20 years?

The biggest change in the industry is going to be making our events less wasteful and have a smaller carbon footprint. I believe it takes people caring on every level — from the trade-show exhibitors to the venue, the planner, and the CVB. We all can do our part in making conferences environmentally friendly. Challenge yourself to make one positive environmental change to your conference and I bet it will be a good investment now or in the next 20 years!

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