Women’s history in the United States has made groundbreaking strides in the last 200 years. From Sojouner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” speech in 1851 to the 2020 election where Kamala Harris was voted in as the first woman Vice President. Women’s History Month has grown in the last century from one day in 1909, to a week in 1978, and finally expanded to last the entirety of March in 1987 with a vote from Congress. Every year a proclamation is made by the President to continue March as Women’s History Month. As we are nearing the end of March, we spoke with the women of MeetingPlay about inclusivity and diversity, and their advice for fellow women in the events industry.
As named by the National Women’s Alliance, 2021’s Women’s History Month Theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced”. Because of the long running history of movements for equal pay, the right to vote, and the fight for standing and power within the workplace, in 2019 women made up more than 77% of the meeting, event, and convention industry.
“MeetingPlay is no stranger to women in leadership as our own Co-CEO, Lisa Vann, is a woman. The events industry is already female dominate as is, but MeetingPlay fosters an inclusive atmosphere because of who our leadership consists of. It’s empowering to see a strong female in charge. Lisa sets a positive example for women in her organization by encouraging us to be confident in our actions, direct in our speech and kind in our thoughts.”
- Michelle S., Account Manager, MeetingPlay
The events industry began long before lecture halls and emcees. Events has evolved to a space where it was once about creating friendships and trade between neighboring tribes in Egypt. Most notably, Cleopatra would host what we will call “networking” events along the Nile River for these purposes. Queens in European history hosted and planned lavish events for their constituents and, here, is where events as we know them evolved in American history.
Speaking with Women in Events
Vanessa C., Account Manager with the MeetingPlay team, thinks that working in the events industry can be tough, and “women, in particular, feel the need to be perfect in everything they do.” Vanessa also offers sage advice to fellow women working (or starting) in the events industry: “Remind yourself that even if not everything goes 100% to plan, it’s ok. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect all the time and be kind to yourself every day.”
“We’re all moms, dads, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles and the company understands that. Particularly during this global pandemic with kids at home doing virtual school and families having to make difficult choices financially, MeetingPlay cultivates a place where these things are not just accepted but lifted as a priority for our employees. We work hard at what we do, but we also know that taking care of ourselves and our family is the most important thing of all.”
– Jennifer K., Executive Director, MeetingPlay
Aimee M., Business Development Manager of MeetingPlay, echoes the sentiment: “If you have a true passion for events and feel it running through your veins, don’t let anything stop you (not even a pandemic). There’s always a way if you follow your instinct and let go of fear.”
Many of the women we spoke to give power to the empathy and compassion most often seen among women. “Spend more time listening than talking,” Brandee P., MeetingPlay’s Director of Marketing advises. “If you keep an open mind, stay positive, and complete tasks with a ‘learn everything’ mindset vs. a ‘know everything’ mindset, you'll go far.” Michelle S., an Account Manager with MeetingPlay, agrees “women are naturally empathetic, compassionate, and perceptive. These are traits that should be expressed while planning events, especially virtual.”
“My advice is to remind yourself that even if not everything goes 100% to plan, it’s ok. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect all the time and be kind to yourself every day.”
- Vanessa C., Account Manager, MeetingPlay
Virtual innovation in the events industry grew because event and meeting professionals collectively banded together and became an unstoppable force after March of 2020. Michelle started with MeetingPlay during the pandemic, and she has direct experience working with customers and meeting planners during this difficult time. She continues, “we are working with clients that are not only new to virtual, but they are also navigating the current pandemic and their day to days have changed as well. It is imperative we show empathy and compassion to others, especially women, in the events industry during this time.”
“Be yourself, be kind to your clients and partners, and never be afraid to speak up! Have another female and male mentor in your back pocket. Learning from the experienced individuals in the industry is going to be key to your success. Seek out someone you are inspired by and someday it will be your turn!”
- Kari L., Business Development Manager, MeetingPlay
For women just starting out in the events industry, it can be difficult to find a foothold. When we asked Jennifer K., MeetingPlay’s Executive Director, for her advice for women in the industry, she shared her own experience. “Within the first 5 years of my event planning career I managed political events, pharmaceutical meetings, weddings, corporate meetings and tradeshows,” she states. She attributes her success to having exposure to a variety of different types of events and industries, “that experience helped me to be a more well-rounded professional and helped guide the rest of my career.” Caitlin G., Inventory Specialist & Coordinator with MeetingPlay, offers women in the event industry to “be confident in yourself and always support your team!”
“If you have a true passion for events and feel it running through your veins, don’t let anything stop you (not even a pandemic). There’s always a way if you follow your instinct and let go of fear.”
- Aimee M., Business Development Manager, MeetingPlay
Brittney F., a MeetingPlay Account Manager, advises that finding a mentor to get proper guidance in the events industry is important for your growth, no matter your age. “Find a mentor and be a mentor,” she states. “It doesn’t matter your age. It doesn’t have to be a formal dynamic through your company or a volunteer program. We’re fortunate to have so many women around us in this industry and we all have something to share and something to learn at every stage.”
The MeetingPlay Difference
"Brainstorming possible ideas with a room of different experiences brings more to the table in terms of viable solutions."
- Veronica F., Front-End Developer, MeetingPlay
While MeetingPlay strives to be on the forefront of virtual technology and customer service, we believe it does not happen unless the culture and environment we create for our employees is inclusive, diverse, and understanding. Our leadership excels at listening to their employees and growing as the organization does to ensure a safe environment for all. We asked women in the organization what they felt made MeetingPlay different, and how the company fosters an inclusive atmosphere for women, as well as women in events.
“At MeetingPlay we are a family, we are made up of strong women who are mothers and wives that always support each other professionally and personally. We are each other’s cheerleaders.”
- Caitlin G., Inventory Specialist & Coordinator, MeetingPlay
Vanessa C. answered the call once more, and in her words, states that “MeetingPlay has a unique dynamic where we are all willing to go the extra mile, not only for our clients, but for each one of our team members.” This idea of “going the extra mile” for both clients and team members is one reason why we can, and have, created incredibly unique events and successfully hosted an awards show on our platform. Vanessa continues by explaining that it is this type of attitude and teamwork that makes her time with MeetingPlay fun and rewarding. “I never hesitate to ask for help or advice because I know that my team has my back!” Kari steps in once again and echoes this ideal, “across departments and regardless of sex, all employees at MP are treated as equals – encouraging each other to grow and be our best!”
“I started working for MeetingPlay while in the second trimester of pregnancy. Not only did the company not rule me out of consideration for the role, but I never felt out of place starting with this company while pregnant. I had training, shadowed, and worked on shared and solo projects before taking leave. The company was accommodating to doctor appointments and leave, and made sure I was in no way held back in taking on my role.”
- Brittney F., Account Manager, MeetingPlay
An overwhelming majority of responses stated that open communication without fear of judgement, and knowing that, without a doubt, your team members want to see the company succeed, is what makes working at MeetingPlay rewarding for personal growth, especially for women in the industry. “MeetingPlay values everyone’s opinions equally,” Aimee responded. “It is a group effort with 100% open communication where all input is encouraged to continually improve day after day.” Veronica F., Front-End Developer with MeetingPlay agrees, “brainstorming possible ideas with a room of different experiences brings more to the table in terms of viable solutions. Seeing more women in leadership positions and being their authentic selves sends a clear message that one can succeed here without having to change your core.”
“Here at MeetingPlay, it's ideas, teamwork, positivity, and grit that lead to advancement. Those values are all about a person's core integrity, not their gender.”
– Brandee P., Director of Marketing, MeetingPlay
At the heart of MeetingPlay is support for both our clients and our employees, but because of the excitement every employee of every gender has working with MeetingPlay, we can create virtual events unlike any other. MeetingPlay offers the ability to create an event that is uniquely yours, including virtual sponsor booths, gamification, and networking for your attendees with our AI matching technology. When you choose MeetingPlay, you choose a team that partners with you and every other member through the entire journey from development to leadership.