On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Factor Meetings took on the task of gathering the testimony of those women leaders of the global Meetinsg Industry, who through their career have brought great value to the sector.
Last May, Amy Calvert was elected as the CEO for the Events Industry Council, a major authority of the MICE industry worldwide. With more than three decades of career, Amy Calvert is ready to enhance all the educational offer of the organization, as she did previously at Visit Baltimore, where she worked as the Senior Vice President of Convention Sales.
Amy has a degree in English Literature and Art History by the University of Maryland, College Park. After that, her first role was accomplished into a HMO in New Jersey as Marketing Coordinator.
She also got an internship at the former Radisson Annapolis Hotel, where she did learn about food and beverage operation.
Amy has always excelled within the Meetings Industry, having served for the Long Beach Convention Bureau, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and most recently for Visit Baltimore.
Do you think it is important or necesary to commemorate the International Women’s Day?
I absolutely do. I think as an industry, hearing things like this, having that sort of intentional step back to think about expressing enthusiasm, support and attitude for the great women that work in our industry is absolutely the right thing to do. I think as an industry, when you think about the things that we value and the things that we champion, celebrating International Women’s Day is very important. We’re all about equity and inclusion and creating welcoming environments. And I think this celebration of this nature falls right in line with those values.
What do you think about the the woman’s role in the international meetings industry?
I think the global events industry is a very creative industry and a very diverse one. So, there are many women that serve in leadership roles across the globe.
And that is continually growing. We are in our commitment to equity and inclusion. It’s important for women and some men to think about how they are mentoring women of all ages. I mean, they’re the workforce. We have a lot of role models and a lot of women that I’ve seen their careers grow over time.
I myself have started out working for an hotel as a catering coordinator and feel very blessed and grateful to be serving in this role now. I wouldn’t have been here if it weren’t for the support of my fantastic group and some of the mentors that I was working with. I’m glad when I think back on my time in this industry, that was very great.
In your point of view, do you think that women have more facilities or challenges to develop their careers in meetings industry?
I think this is an industry that really does celebrate women and champions women. So, I don’t think disproportionately the event industry as it isn´t a more challenging place for women than another industries.
When you think about diversity, inclusion and gender equity I don’t think we’ve arrived there yet, but I also don’t think that this industry is more challenging than others for women.
Which has been the most challenging problem you faced as a woman in the meetings industry?
I think one of the things that particularly I experienced in this industry, when I began my career almost 30 years ago, we were in a different climate. There were not as many women leadership positions as there are now, and not necessarily were opened for women to sharing their voices and having a seat at the table. So I think early on was no equal.
I have to think about who were those role models that I followed, but as I said before, I was very fortunate to work for a company that had women in key leadership roles, working for those hotels and those women were fantastic role models.
At a time where there weren’t as many as there are now, that was a bit of a challenge, but it was certainly one that I was able to navigate.
Now I´m trying to encourage new potential people coming into our workforce to think about us on a global scale and to think about in all the different opportunities they can find in the ecosystem of meetings, other than just event organizing, there are so many skillsets that we’re looking for. Whether is meat marketing or technology…
What has been the best advice you have been given to success as a professional in this industry?
Probably as a leader, the best advice that I’ve been given is to lead with your heart and your mind.
I also think another great advice is that we have to make ourselves available to ongoing communications and collaboration and meeting people where they are, with humility and empathy. So I would say those are two things that I like to remind myself on a regular basis.
Finally, can you give us some advice for a woman who want a successful career like yours in the MICE industry?
You must think about what is your vision, what really motivates you, what’s your passion. And then, going out there and collaborating and found your connections and your network. I found that I have been very fortunate to serve in some volunteer positions in a variety of organizations in the events industry.
And I’ve always got so much more in my volunteer time. And a lot of it is this building of your network and fortunately for me that was very helpful for most of my career.
Really figure out what is your passion and go out there and focus on building connections and your network and be great looking at what is interesting, what is happening in the world and with the people around you.