“My next career goal is to merge my profession with my passion for inclusion and making sure that young women who want to grow, in a business sense, have the room or space they need,” said Morgan Prewitt, CMP.
Morgan Prewitt, CMP, didn’t even realize she could make a living as an event organizer until late in her studies at Howard University, but once she had a plan, there seemed to be no stopping her.
The 2012 graduate, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, already has worked as a planner for an association, a nonprofit, and a convention center. Since last fall, she has been a Chicago-based event marketing manager for a major technology company. (In keeping with her company’s policy, Convene cannot disclose its name.)
During her time at Chicago’s McCormick Place, Prewitt was named to both PCMA’s 20 In Their Twenties Class of 2017 and the Crain’s Chicago Business 20 In Their Twenties Class of 2017. “That was absolutely amazing,” she told Convene. “And I don’t take for granted these times in my life. Being recognized for my efforts made it a little bit easier to understand that even though I was young, I did belong where I was.”
Prewitt, who earned a CMP in 2016, recognized two early work experiences that schooled her in the events industry and inspired her to pursue a career in it — a five-month internship at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. and getting involved with PCMA’s Capital Chapter. She shared her career journey, starting off with those experiences.
Interning at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center: I worked … under the vice president of communications and marketing, Chinyere Hubbard, who is one of my mentors in life. She is an absolutely amazing, strong individual. She graduated from my alma mater. I thought, “This is who I want to be.”
She would bring me into these giant meetings with all these execs. … She would make sure that I was in the room and that I understood that to be a woman — to be a Black woman — at the table was super important. At that point I had no idea what they were talking about, but she made sure I had an understanding of the depths of what goes on at the convention center. I appreciated that and I am incredibly grateful to her.
Discovering PCMA: I actually knew nothing about PCMA or that I could work in the events industry before my final year at Howard. I had planned very large events [at Howard] but I hadn’t considered I could do it as a career. It was just something I enjoyed doing … and I was good at it. Project management and kind of organizing everything is my jam.
My senior year I saw a flyer for a meeting of an organization called PCMA. I’m said to myself, “What is this? . . .” The meeting had a great panel, including one person, Tyra Dyson [CMP, DES, manager, event logistics for APIC (the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology)], who is my mentor to this day. They were talking about the events industry, everything under the hospitality umbrella, and what you could do in those industries. I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’m majoring in marketing and classical piano, but I’m really good at planning events — and I can make money from this!” So I got involved with the student group of the PCMA Capital Chapter in my senior year.
[Tyra Dyson] brought me in and made sure I had all the tools to know what I wanted to do within the industry. No matter what I needed in the beginning of my career, and I needed a lot, she was always there. She and PCMA … brought me into the industry.
Everyone at the Capital Chapter was absolutely amazing to help [me as a] student; they were super helpful. I remember my first meeting was at the Hotel Monaco and I was scared, but everyone was just incredibly welcoming. They also helped me find my first post-grad job.
First Job: Meetings, Exhibits and Sales Coordinator at the Council for Exceptional Children: At that point in my life, that was my dream job. Throughout my life, I had volunteered with children with special needs. … I’m very passionate about it. … [That job also] was my introduction to the world of associations. Who knew there were thousands upon thousands of associations for anything and everything under the sun?
I was there for two years, and I was 22 or 23 years old. We worked on one annual event, and I was working from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. I thought, “Associations are great, but I want that fast-paced event life that I see on TV. I want to wear jeans to work. I want to travel all over. I want to have multiple events a year. I don’t want to just work on one event a year. I want all of it.” Lo and behold, I got exactly what I asked for [in my next job].