Destination marketing veteran Amy Calvert has been tapped after an extensive search to replace Events Industry Council (EIC) CEO Karen Kotowski as the chief officer for the group that manages the industry standard Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation program. Kotowski resigned in January after a decade of elevating the profile of the organization and expanding the mission to include industry research (the 2018 Oxford Economics study that showed the meetings industry is responsible for creating 5.9 million jobs was commissioned by EIC) and a focus on sustainability.
Calvert was most recently senior vice president of convention sales and services with Visit Baltimore and previously served at Long Beach Convention Bureau and IHG. Smart Meetings caught up with the new CEO in an exclusive interview to ask a few questions about her vision for the organization and her role in the industry.
How is working for a CVB similar or different than leading a group such as EIC?
There are a lot of commonalities. I love telling the story of a city than may not be on as many radars as a place like New York or Paris but has a lot to offer to groups. When I bring people here for the first time, it is great to see their faces light up. We are, in effect, harnessing the power of the ecosystem and it all comes down to the human element.
Now I will be able to work with an even larger group of partners to tell the story of how events create a better world with a focus on social justice, sex trafficking and sustainability.
The announcement of your role called out your experience promoting environmentally friendly solutions as one of the reasons you stood out from the 50 other candidates. How will you continue to do that and why is that important?
Our convention center and hotels in Baltimore are at the forefront of sustainability and it is an important area where we can come together and find places where we can all contribute. Community partnerships, including urban farms and suppliers can help planners really made a difference.
What is your vision for EIC and Conclave—the annual meeting of CMPs?
I want to honor that forum that brings the community together to inspire and educate. CMP is a designation that is respected and serves a real purpose. This is a good time to ask, are there other areas where we can go? How can we partner to be more effective? We need to be open to evolving with trends. Live event space planning is another area. The opportunities are vast.
EIC’s goal was to raise the professionalism of the industry. Is that still as important today?
We have come so far as an industry in our ability to be advocates for ourselves by explaining the role we play in the economy. We should be proud of that. But we still need to work on playing more of a strategic role in our organizations.
One of the key threads for you seems to be partnerships.
That is my mindset. Destination marketing organizations are all about lifting up communities, telling stories and creating strategic partnerships within the industry. I am always thinking about the impact on the community and how we can work together for the common good.