Posted by nroames on Aug. 27, 2019  /  Education, NEC  /   0

What a whirlwind of a week!  So much to do and learn and yes, take back to enhance what I do as an event planner.  See, this was my first experience attending the 2019 SGMP NEC Conference and I don’t regret one minute of it!

From the time I got on the plane at Dulles International Airport until I returned home, what I experienced at the NEC was priceless.  It was not my intention to attend the conference this year however, a co-worker sent me an application for the NATCAP region scholarship and since I’m a risk taker, I applied.  And when I least expected it, there came the email saying “Congratulations!”.  It couldn’t have come at a better time because my day had started a little rough.  Once I accepted, the planning to get me to Detroit began.

I didn’t know what to expect from the conference because well . . .. I had never attended a SGMP meeting and even though I had co-workers who had attended the NEC the previous year, until you experience it for yourself, living it through someone else’s eyes is not the same.

First up, “So this is your first time at NEC.”  I learned the ins and outs of what to expect for the week.  For the first time attending, I think I navigated very well and of course with a little help from my co-workers!  The reception on Tuesday evening at the Fillmore was great!  Great food, great entertainment and I even had a caricature drawn.  It was a lot of fun!

The opening keynote with Michael Dominguez was just what the conference needed to get us fired up!  He was very energetic and definitely set the tone for what was to come in the workshops.  I attended “Top 10 F & B Questions Answered” with Tracy Stuckrath and she was so engaging, I decided to attend a second workshop with her “ADA:  What’s F&B Go to Do With It?” even though it was my plan to attend another workshop.  Later this day, I got to play dress up and attend the Sam Gilmer Award Banquet.  It was great to see all the participation that happens in the SGMP around the country.  We are very serious about what we do in the hospitality world!

“Human Trafficking” with Christopher Szxzygiel was an eye opener! The thought of young girls and boys being targeted for this crime is painful and to know they are held up in hotels was heartbreaking.  Christopher was very knowledgeable and made me feel that I must be aware and make my clients aware of what is going on in their surroundings.  We all have a responsibility to become aware of this crime and report suspensions when we have them.  Great job Christopher! 

The session I learned THE MOST was in “Meeting Apps:  Planner’s Perspective” with Phil Rappoport.  See, I’m a little (okay, a lot! LOL!) technological challenged.  This means that anything that has to do with modern technology, I run for the hills!  What became very apparent to me is that I have to get with the times and face fear and take the leap.  I made some goals for myself to embrace some of the technology I have been avoiding daily.  I don’t want to be left behind while the world around me keeps moving.  I have to move with it!  And to confirm what I was feeling leaving this session, the conference closed with Crystal Washington’s “Future of Technology for Event Professionals.”  Talk about getting what you need when you need it, this was a perfect ending to a perfect conference.

My experience was amazing!  I met and networked with other meeting professionals that has inspired me to become more involved with my regional chapter of SGMP, to possibly teach a workshop or two and definitely contribute to more articles for the website.  I’m looking forward to attending in St. Louis in 2020. 

Coming home, I looked out the window as we flew through the clouds and pondered all the possibilities and opportunities to come for me to thrive in a career I love!  I definitely will share what I have learned!  Detroit NEC, you didn’t disappoint!

Event Planner Damita Frye


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