Rachel Bruce

American Fisheries Society

This year, PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties program honors exceptional young leaders in the business events industry. Class of 2024 member Rachel Bruce, Meeting Programs Manager at the American Fisheries Society, shares why she thinks digital events will continue to play a major role in the future of the industry.

What do you like most about your job?

I have a passion for bringing people together and engaging with diverse communities. I enjoy being able to put my organizational and communication skills to use in my work tasks to produce high-quality meetings and events. I also enjoy being able to collaborate and work with so many different types of people — my colleagues, members, attendees, and stakeholders. On site at events, I feel great joy in seeing all of my work come together and seeing the attendees enjoy themselves, meet new friends, and learn skills and [gain] knowledge from educational sessions. I also enjoy the traveling aspect of the job and getting to interact with new communities, cultures, and in new environments.

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

A major role — my organization and many others pivoted to digital events as a temporary solution during the pandemic and are still continuing to thrive with digital events, even though most events are back to in person. Digital events can reach a broader audience than in-person-only events. At my organization, we are now getting more international attendees who are able to attend virtually.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to secure a top leadership position in event management where I can use my skills in producing first-class strategic events and inspire emerging event professionals to perform at their highest levels. As the business events industry continues to evolve, I aim to challenge the status quo by adapting to emerging trends so I can meet the needs of my team and attendees. I strive to create meaningful events that resonate with attendees and provide a platform for connection and knowledge sharing.

I also hope to use my professional experience and career growth to give back to the future generation of business event professionals. As a mentee in the PCMA Capital Chapter mentorship program, I’ve gained valuable knowledge and guidance, thanks to my mentor sharing her wealth of experience and knowledge. I hope to also serve as a mentor for future emerging professionals.

What made you choose the events industry as a career?

As a kid, I would travel with my father to his annual meeting and always had so much fun exploring the meeting rooms, exhibit hall, and collecting all of the free tchotchkes at each booth. I found it so amazing that my dad created and organized an event that people traveled to from all parts of the world. This inspired me to volunteer at the conference in the summer and go to his office to help him with his meeting preparations. In college, I continued to organize events for my clubs and secured a summer internship doing meetings and events for a scientific organization.

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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