After another year of disruption, members of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2022 are proof positive that adaptability is a requisite skill for business events industry professionals. Megan Walsh, CMP, DES, director of conference services & career development at the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) in Rockville, Maryland, shares what she has learned about the events industry and herself during the pandemic.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten from someone in the industry?
Throughout my dad’s 40-year career in the hospitality industry, he shared a lot of great advice. One piece of advice that has always stayed with me is, “You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.” I try to always give my best in everything I do, personally and professionally.
What has this time of disruption taught you about the industry — and yourself?
The word “relationship” now has a more meaningful impact for me. Everyone realized that we were sharing the same obstacles. These challenges were overcome by everyone working together. Our members, our hotel partners, our vendors, and our own staff members realized that in order to accomplish our goals, strengthening our relationships and building trust would be the key to success.
What new skills has the pandemic led you to pursue?
I was able to learn from successful event leaders how to adapt to the “new normal” in the meeting and events industry. One of the key observations I learned from these leaders was how important it is to be able to adapt quickly to changing needs and situations. Realizing this, I took the opportunity to prepare for and pass my Certified Meeting Professional exam at the same time I was participating in PCMA’s Digital Event Strategist course. It was an exceptionally hectic time but I am proud to be a part of an industry that proved its resiliency.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Working for MCAA has given me the drive, passion, and enthusiasm to keep learning and growing professionally. I have been preparing myself to one day step into a role with the ultimate level of responsibility when it comes to events. In five years, I hope to be in a position where I can lead our team to plan and execute the highest level of meetings and events while providing our members with great value and memorable experiences. Additionally, within this role I would look forward to mentoring my team and sharing everything that I have learned throughout my journey to make us the best team we can be.