Why People and Passion Are Essential to Your Career

By Kelsey Ogletree, January 27, 2017

Amid endless books, articles, podcasts and bits of advice floating around about advancing your career, the two things I’ve found to have the greatest impact on the ol’ climb up the ladder are people and passion.

I’ve only been in the meetings industry about four years, but during that time I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many of you through Connect events, industry shows, site tours and more. Several of you have served as inspiration for our magazine content, and as teachers and mentors in educating our editorial team on the nuances of the meetings world.

At Connect in Grapevine, Texas, last August, I met Todd Mickey, COO of Applied Meetings & Hospitality Solutions. I asked Mickey to share the best career advice he’s ever received.

“No matter who you are talking to, whether it’s the president of the United States or a homeless person on the street, treat them the same and you will always be successful,” Mickey told me. “Today this is exactly how I operate, and it has made all the difference.”

His advice reminded me of an encounter I had last year at IMEX meeting Caesars Entertainment’s Michael Massari for the first time. Though I was a wide-eyed journalist, as well as a slightly overwhelmed first-time attendee, the senior vice president of the massive company spent most of our conversation asking me questions: What were my goals for the future? Where did I want to go? And finally, how could he help?

Wow. Humble Massari clearly hadn’t gotten to his position by being selfish. He’d used his innate skill of building people up and rose up the ranks as a result, not as a means to an end.

Another essential part of career growth is passion. With long hours, hectic travel, crazy last-minute schedule changes and endless details, a career in meeting planning is not for the faint of heart—nor for those who don’t absolutely love it. When I look at teams from DMOs and DMCs spending their weekend away from family to showcase their city to a group of planners or media; or when I see education presenters at shows like Connect or IMEX who arrive hours early to ensure everything is just right before attendees arrive to learn; or when I see people like our own Director of Events Angie Ahrens traveling for weeks on end, always showing up to shows with a smile on her face and a get-it-done attitude, that’s when this industry becomes more than a job.

As we dive into 2017, remember to be kind. Be passionate. Go forth and love what you make. Thanks for your continued support of Connect!

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