After a trying year for event professionals. members of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2021 have proven resilience is a key skill in their toolkit. Mariya (Nikodimova) Georgieva, Delegate Service Specialist at Kenes Group in Sofia, Bulgaria, shares her thoughts on what the pandemic fallout has taught her about the business events industry.
What has this year of disruption taught you about the industry?
This year showed me how very adaptive the industry is. Even in those initial months full of question marks, fear, and chaos, we continued doing what we do best — we found solutions and quickly coped with the new reality, learning many new skills and evolving, even starting from scratch in some aspects. Seeing this stability and progress in the industry was crucial for me, as it gave me hope for the development of the overall global situation, too.
How do you see your job changing as a result of the pandemic crisis?
My job became quite different in the virtual world. On the one hand, my day-to-day experience changed dramatically — working from home and not seeing colleagues daily shifted not only the communication within and between teams, but every one of us had to establish a new structure for managing the work and work-life balance in those times of almost complete isolation and uncertainty.
On the other hand, we quickly switched to virtual events — something that I had no experience with before. This required numerous changes, from adapting the registration and completely upgrading the program of the events in order to match the virtual reality, to learning new skills, and working with new systems. Although it was hard in the beginning, I believe I made the best out of this unexpected situation.
What new skills has the pandemic led you to pursue?
Leaving aside the new technical skills, not being around my team pushed me to think of creative solutions and to make a lot more decisions on my own. In the beginning, I was a bit hesitant, but with the time and seeing the positive outcomes, the confidence in my problem-solving, decision-making, and leadership capabilities significantly grew. The pandemic also stimulated my interest in expanding my knowledge of the industry and I took the IAPCO Congress Project Management Course. The course introduced me to new concepts, broadened my perspective, and gave me a lot of food for thought. I am also advanced in time-zone calculations now.