manner. Also, as a meeting professional, get to know about the industry and the membership of the association or the company for which you are working. As a meeting professional, you are an important driver of the success of your organization.
What do you like about your job? I very much like being part of the team that creates the strategic direction of my organization. What we do as meetings and education professionals is for the members. Management of these areas of responsibility results in delivering content that impacts who the members are and who they will become, and ultimately how the industry is viewed.
What’s your biggest challenge? My personal biggest challenge, to be honest with you, is keeping up with the constantly evolving technology. I love the creativity and innovation that comes with this job, but how to use new technologies to my advantage — I try, but that’s probably my biggest challenge.
What do you see as the future of the meetings industry? Face-to-face meetings are not going away. The good thing about technology is that so many products can comple- ment face-to-face, and what we’re doing now as meeting professionals is figuring out how to best utilize the options. While face-to-face gatherings will still be valuable, they are much less focused. Small groups gather and talk, but they are on their mobile devices at the same time, so are not as dedicated to the conversation. In session rooms, attendees are continuously on email, tweeting, etc. Even committee and board meetings are challenged for individuals’ time and attention. It will be up to educators and meeting professionals to know how best to make sure meetings with decreased attention by participants still provide knowledge and outcome benefit. n — Christopher Durso