In honor of Women’s History Month, we spotlight our 2023 President, Mary Cline. Smart Meetings has named their 2023 Smart Women in Meetings Award Winners and our 2023 Chapter President, Mary Cline is among the honored recipients. Congratulations, Madam President!
What is your motivation for taking the helm of the PCMA Southeast Chapter and why do you recommend this leadership position to anyone who may be considering the opportunity?
Leading the PCMA Southeast Chapter pushes me outside of my comfort zone in complementary ways to my “day job”: public speaking, program content curation, fiscal responsibility for chapter funds and managing volunteers, which is a different skill than managing paid team members. I have always felt a strong sense of community as a PCMA member, particularly in the Southeast Chapter, and I firmly believe in giving back to a community that is professionally supportive, service-oriented, and education-driven.
Please share your thoughts for anyone seeking a career within the hospitality industry?
Keep your passion for hospitality ALIVE – explore and ask a LOT of questions – raise your hand at every opportunity. Even when you feel you have found your “niche”, keep your mind open to learning – the live events industry is ever-evolving and if there is one thing the pandemic proved to us, a flexible mindset, diversification of competencies and a wide breadth of capabilities are survival skills.
Aha Moment: I caught the “hospitality bug” in college – what began as a part-time job for a paycheck and free food spawned a lifetime career. I love the energy and “buzz” of a successful event – whether it is the electricity of minds collaborating, or the audible joy of colleagues gathering from across the world together once a year – it is always inspiring and satisfying to be a part of sparking that joy.
What One Thing Made All the Difference? I raised my hand to take on additional responsibilities…. I was “that kid” that always jumped on a new opportunity to learn and reached for the next step/role once it opened up – I still do it now, at every chance.
Advice for My Younger Self: No one is coming to save you – figure it out, advocate for yourself, and remember “this too shall pass.” Each hurdle you pass over and through is honing your critical thinking skills and ability to be more agile and nimble, thus making you sharper and stronger.
Next Goal: 2023 is the year I am reaping the achievement of many longtime/lifelong goals, so my next goal is an evaluation of “where it started, how it’s going, where do we go from here?”
Growing up, in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would reach an executive leadership role – I am now starting my second year leaning into it. Each day, week, and month I reflect on where I am, balanced against my core missions in life (personally and professionally), and am working toward a next-phase plan for continued growth, improvement, and education. I am fortunate to be in a space and place where I am empowered to balance my own learning while mentoring and teaching others, and this will be an integral part of my future direction – stay tuned!
Source: 2023 Smart Women in Meetings: Industry Leader | Smart Meetings