@MPIGNY - Fall 2015 - (Page 20)

#interview MEET FIONA BY SARAH SAIN F iona Pelham is founder of Positive Impact, managing director of Sustainable Events Ltd., and voluntary chair of ISO 20121, a management system for event sustainability inspired by London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In January 2016, she will become international chair for Meeting Professionals International, a global association of more than 18,500 members. Fiona is passionate about sustainability and her background in event logistics and strategic implementation of sustainability gives her a unique perspective. As you prepare to take over as chairwoman of the MPI International Board of Directors, what goals have you set for your term? Every year, the chair of the board will continue the strategic plan which we set as a board. So, it's not a case of me setting my own goals, but rather continuing to lead on the path set by the board. That being said, each chairperson has their different personalities, which will obviously impact their leadership. I am passionate about people creating their careers as they want them to be, so over this year I would love to see members around the world use MPI to create their educational road maps and volunteer at the chapter level to make the difference they want to see in the world. On a personal note, I love that through my being chair the conversation for a sustainable event industry will increase in volume. This is great timing as MPI recently launched a number of certificate programs for sustainability. Do you hope your role with the International Board of Directors will inspire other women to volunteer, both on a chapter level and internationally? Absolutely! My career path has not been a traditional one and the source of creating this unique life/work has been volunteering to make a difference, so I would always encourage people - female or male - to volunteer. We don't yet live in a world with 20 @MPIGNY FALL 2015 equality in society (though I'm optimistic it will happen), so I do hope to inspire women to speak out and take action to create an equal world. Right now our international board is over 50 percent female and almost 70 percent of our current and incoming 70 chapter presidents are women. MPI is a great space for inspiring female leadership, and it's my intention to continue that. Do you feel being an international leader in the industry will give you a unique perspective on global issues? Yes, I am fortunate enough to be in a unique position in that I live in the UK and work globally, including in the U.S., Australia and Japan. The first MPI meeting I ever attended was in Austin at the Texas Hill Country Chapter, and I couldn't wait to get involved with MPI in the UK. The 'I' (International) in MPI has always been exciting to me. I love that I get to learn global trends, meet international friends and travel the world with MPI. How has your involvement with MPI benefited you, both personally and professionally? Personally, MPI has given me some amazing friends and unique life experiences. From introducing two friends at an MPI event who are now married to having dessert on the bases at AT&T Park, the home of San Francisco Giants. This is something I hear from MPI members all the time - the friendships made and adventures experienced through chapter and international meetings are irreplaceable! Professionally, MPI has given me a platform to raise the issue of sustainability. From having the first event to implement the first version of the international standard for sustainability, ISO 20121, to creating education to be a certified sustainability practitioner, MPI has always recognized the business importance of the message I am passionate about. And that is creating events in a sustainable way will have a positive impact on the world. What is one piece of advice you would pass along to MPI members around the world? Last week, I attended a board meeting with the Oklahoma Chapter and one of the board members said something that sums up the advice I would give to everyone: "My first instinct is to say, 'Yes, we can make this happen.'" Having been a chapter leader in the UK, I know the challenges of leading a local board, pushing the boundaries and delivering to meet member expectations. It is sometimes incredibly hard to be a leader, to be the one who says yes we can do it and take action no matter what everyone else is thinking and doing. MPI is a community that appreciates its leaders and it's a community to develop your leadership skills, so you can make the difference you want to see in the world. @

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of @MPIGNY - Fall 2015

WHY I VOLUNTEER
AVOIDING EMPLOYMENT LAW LIABILITY
5 QUICK AND EASY TIPS TO PREVENT BURNOUT
MPI WEC 2015: SPOTLIGHT ON SAN FRANCISCO
MEET FIONA PELHAM
MPI INTRODUCES THE MPI ACADEMY AND EXPERIENTIAL EVENT SERIES
2015 MPIGNY HARD ROCK CAFE GOLF OUTING
SUSTAINABLE MEETINGS IN COPENHAGEN

@MPIGNY - Fall 2015

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