Each Friday on the MeetingPlay blog, we take a step back from our typical event professional tips and posts, and share a bit about us. We pause and reflect on the amazing #eventprofs that make up the hardworking and talented team members of MeetingPlay - from our mobile event app developers, marketers, account managers, COO, to today our very own CEO - Joe Schwinger.
Meet MeetingPlays #EventProfs - AKA CEO, Joe Schwinger:
1.What was your first
job – tell us about it.
Great question. The reality is that my first job really defined who I am today but let me answer with two jobs!
1. While I was out of school for the summer, just 12 years old, I took a job with my Uncle at his recycling company. The company collected scrap metal and cans and recycled them into new products. What I remember most about this job was I had to be at my uncle’s house, 6 miles away from my house at 5:30am. That had me waking up at 4:30am to ride my bike before the sun came up. The other memory I have was working in 110 degree heat all day, surrounded by tons and tons of used cans. If you have never had the opportunity to smell used cans in 110 degree heat it will change your life. It did for me.
2. Fast forward to the next summer. I could have easily join my Uncle again but I knew there were better options. At the time, I lived in Florida were most lawns needed to be mowed twice a week with the heavy rains we had. After hearing my other Uncle speak about how long its been since he had mowed his lawn, the light went off and my very first business was started. I offered to mow my Uncles lawn, but little did he know that I would use his mower to walk around the neighbor and find other lawns to mow. In a short time, I had roughly 70% of the neighborhood as clients and took my services to other neighborhoods. I remember walking a push mower miles upon miles to meet new clients and expand my customer base. At the age of 13 I had a very respectable list of clients that I called on for 3 months before I had to go back to school. I can’t say much for my Uncles lawn mower at the end of that summer….
I tell you these stories because it’s the story of my life. Each experience made me a stronger individual and better prepared me for the future. I would have been happy working at the recycling yard another summer but instead I looked at an opportunity and ran with it. The best part of this story, a number of years ago I had the pleasure of buying my Uncle a brand new lawn mower as a thank you for everything he did to support me that summer. I only wish I could have seen the look on his face when we noticed a brand new mower in front of his house.
2. Who has influenced you most in your professional path/career?
I have been fortunate to have many mentors in my careers. My earliest memory I can think of is working with my father as he called on clients. My father was a sales professional in Miami and I used to go on the road with him to call on clients. I remember being by his side as he sat down with clients and reviewed their needs and provided solutions to meet their needs. Those are the principles of how we built MeetingPlay: Listen to our customers and provide unique solutions to solve those needs. Looking back my entire family played a role in my professional path. Although my family was very supportive, they always taught me to go after what you love and don’t wait for someone to give it to you. These are the values I try to teach my team at MeetingPlay and my children as well.
3. What's your favorite part about working in the event technology (or events) industry?
Right before the holidays MeetingPlay launched our Gen3 platform and a specialized networking module that helps people connect in ways that have never been done before. I remember hours after we launched the platform at the conference and hearing the feedback…looking at my team members on site and saying “Wow – we did it again”. We create tools and technology for events that do things no one could have thought of and we do it over and over again. I can’t think of another industry that constantly demands you to change the game and do it well. We must innovate, period…without that we lose. That’s the feeling that gets me up every day with a smile. That’s the feeling that after being on the road for 55 days straight still makes it all worth it. That and the smile I see on our clients when they get high fives for bring MeetingPlay to the table.
4. Looking back, what career advice would you tell your 18-year-old self?
“It will all be worth it someday soon, stick with it.”
At the age of 18 I was working two jobs and just about to leave for college. I remember being stressed, frustrated and really tired! At the time however I knew that good times would come and short term pain is what pays off in the future. After putting myself through college I moved to Washington DC to finish school and the rest is history.
In a very short period all the work paid off. So – I try to give this advice to every 18 or 21-year-old “Joe” I meet: Don’t wait for a hand out – build your destiny. At 18 years old, I was already building for my future (and maybe having some fun too).
5. What's your favorite thing to do when you're not working?
Anyone that knows me, knows that work consumes just about all my time. There are two little girls however that can stop me in my tracks anywhere and anytime - and one truly amazing lady that has managed to not only put up with me for over 20 years, but continue to be the absolute love of my life. (Editor note: Aw!)
When I am not working, nothing makes me happier then to spend time with my children to remind myself it’s all worth it. I do wish my travel schedule allowed more time with my children and my amazing wife, however the time we do spend together as a family is always valuable. You can find us running around Disney, scoping out a new hotel to join the AppAtlas movement or just relaxing next to a pool/beach.
6. What excites you about your future at MeetingPlay?
In a previous post, I spoke about the breakout year we had in 2016. The truth is, this is just the beginning. 2017 will see MeetingPlay almost double in size. We will move into our 4th office in just 2 years, an office that we can call “home” for many years to come. We will welcome more of the greatest talents in the event industry to join our team. We will do all of this while we make a difference for our clients. What’s not to be excited about for the future?
Clearly, Joe's commitment to hard work and dedication started at a young age. At MeetingPlay, we're certainly lucky to be part of a culture where such an example is set for us from the top down, and knowing that together we all can help events and hospitality experiences become even more successful! Thanks for all you do, Joe Schwinger!
Interested in learning more about what MeetingPlay's careers in event technology can be like? MeetingPlay is expanding, and we want to add you to the team! Want to learn more about the most engaging mobile event app and join the team?
Check out MeetingPlay's career page.