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. Laura Neufeld shares her impressions of and expectations for the industry.
What do you like most about your job?
What I like most about my job is having the opportunity to bring people together for one unique reason. I believe my organization, MCI Group, says it best: When people come together, magic happens. As the event organizer, you get to play a unique role in shaping a collection of individual experiences, that when combined, achieve a common goal. It’s a privilege build this kind of a community.
Where would you like your career to go?
My ultimate career goal is to leave a legacy, to create something remarkable. What this means to me is to grow and develop with the times. To be open to change. To challenge that statue quo so I meet the changing needs of my audience. To push the envelope and try new things until something truly remarkable happens to leave a lasting impression. Some of these small, special moments have happened already; like a private dinner at Wolf in The Fog restaurant in Tofino, BC, where our guests gave the head chef a standing ovation. They believed his was the most special meal they ever had.
My ultimate goal is to continue to create these remarkable moments, but on a larger scale while still maintaining the integrity of the experience. I want to create something on a global level that is cohesive, because of well thought-out touch points. People will walk away with an inspiration that they’ll never forget.
What’s the best day you’ve had in the meetings industry so far?
In October 2017, I was executing my first solo event. During one of the evening functions, I witnessed the months of planning come together in the most cohesive way. Every detail, from the menu to the decor and colors, the entertainer, the gifts, branded touch points, etc. all gelled, creating a completely united experience. All of the event elements spoke to each other; it all made sense. What made this my best day so far was witnessing the guest experience and knowing we had created a once-in-a-lifetime moment for those in attendance.
What will be the biggest change in the industry over the next 20 years?
The un-meeting will completely disrupt the traditional methods of meetings and events. Choose-Your-Own-Adventure formats will become more popular. It will become more and more about getting attendees out of the ballroom and into innovative spaces instead.
Ultimately this approach will lead to increased attendee engagement. Opting in — rather than being forced in — to a session will result in buy-in from your attendees. In order for organizations to successfully utilize this trend, they will need to work to curate the options so that no matter what path is selected, it will lead back to the event’s goals and objectives. Furthermore, the options must be designed to appeal to all learning styles, catering to the hands-on learners or the folks who need quiet time to decompress the information received. There will be something for everyone. One cohesive final touchpoint — bringing all unique experiences back together — will be vital in closing the loop and bringing home your event messaging. I believe empowering your attendees to choose how they engage in your conference or event will be the biggest (and lasting) change in the industry over the next 20 years.