The other day I received word I’d been elected to the Board of Directors for the Society of Government Meeting Professionals as Supplier Director. This means a shift to some extent on my capacities with SGMP from more of an operational leader to more of a policy leader. It’s a wonderful honor, and given the state of government meetings, this couldn’t have come at a more pivotal time for the industry and in my career.
My present concerns of our industry often distracting from the day to day duties of operating a small business. No doubt because the way that we do things, or have been doing things, is in serious jeopardy right now, at least with respect to government meetings. For a year now, the government has been contracting their meetings in every dimension – there are fewer meetings, what meetings there are will be smaller, and what meetings there are will be shorter. The GSA scandal blew a hole in every facet of government meetings in much the same way that the AIG scandal blew a hole in corporate meetings just a few short years ago. Could you imagine if those scandals happened in the same year? Hotels would be closing their doors left and right.
Despite the threats to our industry, it’s a wonderful testament to our members dedication that the organization grows now, even while the industry is contracting. The best way SGMP and the National Board can facilitate our continued advancement is to educate our members on the proper way to execute government meetings. Further, while the organization itself cannot directly advocate for the value government meetings, the organization can empower each of its members to be ambassadors in their respective realms, touting meetings’ value. There is no doubt a lull in government meetings right now – but they will never be extinct. It is during these down times when we can least afford to dull our skills or to temper our enthusiasm. If we continue to remain sharp, we will better ensure the long term prospects for our industry.