A few months ago Annamaria Ruffini, President and CEO of Events In & Out, Italy, and member of the Executive Committee for SITE, was invited to be a speaker at the Asia-Economic Forum in Xi’an, China to present a seminar on the events industry. Here's her feedback.
The Forum was carried out in the presence of politicians, economists, bankers, scientists, Nobel prize winners, business influencers, tourism and “M.I.C.E” experts. Thrilled about the great opportunity and, without even asking why but only where they found me, I said “yes” and started to prepare.
During four days of lectures, meetings and networking activities, I took the opportunity to talk to everyone: “Oh how interesting! You are a banker from India, which city? I’ve been to India several times.” “Pleased to meet you, a scientist from France? Yes, the opening ceremony was impressive, and offered a great variety of food … I see, you know it’s so difficult to meet everyone ‘s taste!”
If a bartender could create a new cocktail out of my conversations the recipe would be: three parts millionaire globetrotter, two parts enogastronomic expert, two parts a chattery Italian lady renting the Colosseum for a private event (as in a comic movie of the early Sixties where the hero was selling the Trevi Fountain to an American millionaire) and bits of a technical expert with a sprinkle of human nature.
One of the most frequently asked questions at the Forum was, “What brings you here? In which sector of the Conference are you involved?” How much easier it would have been to say, “I’m a naval engineer specialized in submarine design and I work for…”, an answer that is straight to the point.
Instead I replied, “I am President and CEO of Events In & Out, an Incentive House and DMC based in Italy. My profession is about Tourism at large - it’s economy, it’s communication, it’s human behaviour… and it’s fun. Tomorrow there will be a specific session on events at which I will be the moderator and speaker.”
Spreading the word, the room was crowded with industry people and luckily three fans were part of the audience: a banker, the general manager of an international port and a scientist. At the end of the session I approached the three and asked if they enjoyed the session. With great surprise, and pleasure the scientist answered: “It’s clear what you do and it matters a lot. However, may I suggest you better define your job with direct, easy and meaningful words?”
Describing a profession is a matter of finding the right words. I realized that my need was a common sentiment in the incentive travel industry. The primary reason for creating a new brand for SITE is to provide incentive travel professionals worldwide a clear and common definition for what we do.
The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) is a global network of incentive travel and motivational event professionals. In addition to the new brand, SITE will introduce new, comprehensive, incentive travel education during the SITE Global Conference 2014, 14-17 Nove mber, in Rotterdam, Netherlands. To learn more about SITE and to register for the SITE Global Conference 2014 visit www.SITEglobal.com
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