Once again, I was knocked down a few notches today by a simple assignment. Yesterday kicked off 5 days of virtual VenueConnect. This is the annual conference I attend put on by the International Association of Venue Managers. This year was supposed to be in Long Beach back in July, but you know how that story goes. Going into this week, I was both excited and hesitant. If you’ve been following along, you know that I have a love/disappointment relationship with my industry right now.

I love it.

I love working in it.

I’d love to keep working in it.

But I’m disappointed by the situation COVID has forced me in as it relates to that industry.

So perhaps more of a love love love/disappointment relationship. For the most part, I’ve remained positive. Participating in meetings and projects… wearing my board member hat with the same professionalism, seriousness and pride that I did pre-COVID. However, every now and then, I’m knocked down and it’s getting harder and harder to get up, brush myself off, and keep going.

Yesterday went by just fine. We were all in the same boat, working to make the industry stronger. We were all just faces and names on a screen… no titles… no place of employment… no category of employed or looking for work. But today, right out of the gate, the blow came.

“We’re going to split you up in small groups, introduce yourself, introduce your position and venue…”

And there it is. Another opportunity to let people know that they are still bringing home a paycheck and I am not. Another opportunity to open the door for people to wonder “geez, I wonder what she did that she lost her job and I didn’t”. Another opportunity for my self-doubt to settle in like it seems to LOVE to do lately. I kept it positive, as I do, spinning it that I’m looking for the next exciting opportunity. However, I left that 5 minute small group intro session thinking about how I’d phrase that question if it were me arranging the session. After all, inclusive leadership requires thinking like this. It’s actually quite simple.

“Introduce yourself, introduce your roll within the industry and where you make an impact…”

Now there’s a question! Instead of “I’m Erin, I was director of events and guest services at blah blah blah venue… but I’ve been laid off because of COVID” my answer is much better and I can celebrate my career rather than my temporary situation.

“I’m Erin, convention center sector director on the IAVM Board of Directors and during my 16 years in the industry I’ve developed teams and helped professionals further their careers at both a non-profit performing arts center and a mid-sized convention center… I can’t wait to add more venues to that list in the future…”

And it’s that simple.

During this time, when so many of the professionals in our industry are in the same situation I am, why do we keep asking the first version of this question? Because it’s how it’s always been done. 2 of the 6 people in my small group were like me, facing an uncertain future because their decades long career was pulled out from under them in the blink of an eye. So it may be time for a change. It’s time to stop asking people to present themselves as their job and rather present themselves as their impact to this world.

4 thoughts on “impact

  1. Thank you for making this excellent point! Seems like a small thing but it’s not and very impactful!

  2. It is impactful… it’s a tough thing to have to explain over and over again.

  3. Of course! My hope is it changes the way people approach this situation… even if just one person. I’d be happy to see this in the newsletter.

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