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. Khadijah Nimrod shares her impressions of and expectations for the industry.
What do you like most about your job?
Reflecting on my career journey thus far, I have been so fortunate to experience an abundance of exceptional career opportunities, specifically focused on events. One of those opportunities presented itself in 2016 when I accepted a position with Destination DC under the inimitable leadership of President & CEO Elliott Ferguson III. Within the 2 1/2 years that I’ve had the pleasure of working for Destination DC, I’ve been challenged and enlightened, both personally and professionally.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the desire to pursue a career that would allow me to constantly interact with others, learn more about the hospitality & events industry, introduce me to new skill sets and put me in a position to further my career goals. Working at Destination DC has allowed me to accomplish all of these goals and more. Not only do I live in Washington, D.C., but I’ve been afforded countless opportunities through my job to represent and see this city firsthand. Engaging with various people from all walks of life and cultures under one building and seeing them whole-heartedly contribute to the success of this organization is outstanding. I do not consider Destination DC to be a “traditional CVB” to work for, but rather an experience for which I will always be grateful.
Where would you like your career to go?
Working in such a dynamic and transformative industry, I find it significant that I, too, am ever-evolving. The career goals I set forth five or 10 years ago are not the same as they are today, and with each new experience and achievement, I’ve learned to remove the ceiling from my goals and conquer anything I put my mind and heart to.
Currently, my ultimate career goal is to be a well-renowned, international special event planner and the chief executive curator of my own special event company. (Which I can say I’ve already accomplished this year!) I envision myself planning global special events while connecting and collaborating with a multitude of diverse people along the way. To know that I will merge my purpose and passion into a fulfilling career, while simultaneously making a difference in the lives of others, is what is most-satisfying.
My desire is to build my brand as a trusted resource upon the foundation of creativity, collaboration and commitment. I also intend to be a positive role model and mentor for those who think their career goals are unattainable or impossible. These are the goals I envision for my career but as I’m growing, learning and experiencing new levels, I’m sure my career will be one to remember.
What’s the best day you’ve had in the meetings industry so far?
The great thing about our industry is that there are so many “best days.” Each day, no matter what role I play or where I serve, is different. That’s exciting for me.
I cannot recall a “best day,” but I can share moments that absolutely confirmed this is where I was meant to be: meeting one of my event planner role models, Andre Wells, at a Jack & Jill gala; flying overseas to Paris to assist and perform in the Rick Owens Paris Fashion Week show; interning at three high-profile event planning companies; studying abroad in the Bahamas to learn about event marketing and management; coordinating the operations for my first-ever trade show, MRKT VG, in Las Vegas and New York; connecting with suppliers and planners from all over the U.S. at the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners Annual Conference (which led to me landing a job at Destination DC); or attending the Summit 21 women’s lifestyle and creative conference, where I was able to network with so many amazing women in the events industry.
I can go on about my “best days,” but I will say the most memorable day thus far was when I was named to PCMA’s 20 In Their Twenties Class of 2019. I never imagined winning this award would be in my future, but I am so thankful and blessed to be a part of such a monumental class of future business events industry leaders.
What will be the biggest change in the industry over the next 20 years?
I believe the most fascinating thing about our industry is its capacity to withstand the test of time, technology, culture, and resources. In an ever-evolving industry, change is inevitable and I can only imagine what is to come in the next five years, much more in the next 20. Event professionals are constantly seeking new ways to make events more influential, impactful, and successful. Now more than ever, we are becoming increasingly aware of the information that is pushed through our meetings and events and how it directly or indirectly affects consumers.
Technology in its rapidly growing nature will probably be the biggest change in the industry over the next 20 years. How consumers interact with each other, or how planners and suppliers engage with clients, will be challenged by the force of technology. I predict the meetings industry will become more virtual, thus providing new and unique opportunities to enhance the attendee experience.