This year, PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties program honors its 10th class of exceptional young leaders in the business events industry. Class member Sibley Guilianelli, CSEP, CIS, registration manager at Creative Group, shares how she became an advocate for “raising your hand” and communicating clearly during the industry’s continued time of uncertainty.
What skills have been key to your success during these uncertain times?
One of the biggest keys to success for me has been communication. As we began to shift into new meeting formats, our clients and partners shifted their goals, and our teams maneuvered to stay one step ahead. Over-communication became key. I became an advocate for “raising your hand” (physically or with your Teams emoji) to ensure we were aligned with goals and processes that would lead us, and our attendees, to success.
What do you like most about your job?
We’re a people-centric industry and some of the best parts of my career have centered on the moments created with and in service of our people. Relationships with your peers and partners are built on the foundation of serving our participants, members, and attendees. Fostering strong internal and external partnerships allows for unforgettable experiences driven by the goals of the people we serve and the creativity of those we work with.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten from someone in the industry?
The best advice I have received is “ask questions and pursue knowledge.”While our own experience provides incredible lessons, engaging with peers and professional organizations, like PCMA, sets you up for long-term success and allows you to better understand new perspectives, trends, and solutions.
What have you learned about yourself — and the industry — during the past few years of uncertainty?
This industry is filled with passion, and I am proud the be one of those passionate people. During some of the most challenging moments, I experienced agility within our team and dedication by our organizations to continue delivering events and education in new ways. I witnessed team members and partners overcome unexpected challenges to meet the ever-growing needs of our stakeholders. As we immerse ourselves in face-to-face meetings again, the passion of those in our industry continues through creativity in how and where we meet. But these innovations are only made possible through the passionate people driving us forward.
What advice would you give students who are interested in pursuing careers in the events industry?
I would recommend they take time to engage with an industry association and connect with professionals to ask questions. The industry has so many facets that it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start and where your passions lie — understanding the roles of those involved in each portion of an event can help immerse those new to the industry in all the possibilities they have to explore, whether it’s planning, hotel sales, AV, etc. — there is no shortage of exciting opportunities.