Laura Matley

Ottawa Tourism

This year, PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties program honors exceptional young leaders in the business events industry. Class of 2024 member Laura Matley, Manager of Business Events at Ottawa Tourism, shares why she thinks sustainable event management is an opportunity for the business events industry, but also will create challenges for event professionals.

What is an opportunity and/or challenge you see on the horizon for event professionals?

There is a growing emphasis on sustainable event management. Event professionals embracing and advocating for eco-friendly practices may experience heightened support and recognition, aligning their events with the worldwide movement toward environmental responsibility.

If you could transform the industry with the snap of your fingers, what would be the one thing you’d change for good? 

The substantial amount of waste generated by events is a concern that resonates with many in the industry. While I wish we could address this issue with a snap of a finger, the reality is that change takes time. Still I can’t help but envision a future where all events seamlessly incorporate sustainable practices, contributing to the well-being of the destination and also aligning with a broader commitment to caring for our planet.

What do you like most about your job?

I take pride in contributing to the growth and development of the tourism sector in Ottawa. By attracting and organizing events within the city, I get to play a crucial role in strengthening the local economy. This involves bringing business to our hotels, venues, restaurants, cafés, and shops. Also, I find immense satisfaction in connecting with new people and diverse events from various industries and walks of life. This aspect of my role is equally fulfilling as it allows me to engage with different perspectives and contribute to the vibrant tapestry of events in Ottawa.

What role do you think digital events have to play in the industry?

Digital events play a significant role and will continue to provide valuable options for delegates who often travel globally to attend conferences. Unforeseen events can disrupt plans, and having a digital component at conferences ensures that attendees still can partake in the experience. Digital options also facilitate connections with delegates worldwide, regardless of geographical constraints or time zones, opening up possibilities that enhance accessibility and broaden the reach of events.

Members of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2024, supported by PCMA Foundation and Experience Columbus, were recognized at PCMA Convening Leaders 2024, Jan. 7-10 in San Diego, California.

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