MPI Perspective - December 2009 - (Page 11)

MP IN CC — shap in g careers throughout the years INCC By Scott Slocum, MMH SHERYL SOOKMAN SCHELTER, CMP PRINCIPAL, THE MEETINGCONNECTION Getting to know … MPINCC: Sheryl, thank you for speaking with us. Many hospitality professionals are reviewing/reconsidering their career paths during this challenging economy. What advice might you and your company provide to professionals regarding how to proceed in the next weeks and months? Sheryl: The first thing I recommend doing is to assess your skills and experience to determine the things you really enjoy doing, and see if they match with the direction you want your career to take. Use this information as your guide when you begin exploring job opportunities. I think it’s also important to determine if you have some flexibility with things like the location for work (willingness to relocate), size of company/organization, and level of position. MPINCC: How important is MPI and other professional association involvement for career development? Sher yl: I’m a f irm believer that involvement in professional associations is an important part of an individual’s career development. The keyword here is “involvement” because it’s not enough to “just belong” to an association. The value comes when you actively participate. MPINCC: Could you take a few minutes to describe your career path and The MeetingConnection? Sheryl: My first job was the public affairs coordinator for an organization in Marin County that deals with domestic violence. I went on from there to work for a small association, two different student travel/education companies, and a corporate travel agency. After losing my job during the first Gulf War, I began Sookman and Associates, which is a meeting management company. In 1994, I co-founded a specialized placement company for meeting planners that evolved into The MeetingConnection. Besides the placement ser v ice, The MeetingConnection now offers career coaching and a resume design service. MPINCC: In your opinion, what is the best way for MPI members to discover new job opportunities or career options? Sheryl: There are three ways in particular to discover new job opportunities. The standard approach is looking on job boards — both large ones such as Monster and CareerBuilder and niche ones like MPINCC’s and MPI’s. The second approach is to target specific industries you’re interested in and search for job openings on individual company Web sites. The key is to find someone within the company or organization that can help get your resume into the right person’s hands. The third approach is to use your own network of contacts — both professional and personal — to help you identify job opportunities. Let people know the types of positions you’re seeking; that way, they can let you know when they hear about something that sounds like a good match. MPINCC: Which trends do you expect to develop or continue within our industry during the next year? Sheryl: One of the things we saw happen in the past year is that companies and organizations looked more closely at the value of their meetings and events and eliminated or put on hold a number of these programs. In talking to meeting managers at midto large-size corporations the past few weeks, I’m learning that they’re already seeing an increase in the number of meetings and events they’re planning and expect to see more meetings return in the first half of 2010. I also see a trend continuing into next year with mergers between thirdparty meeting planning companies as well as other supplier companies. When there are fewer dollars to spend, this is a natural adjustment/alignment process in business. MPINCC: What are your favorite activities or hobbies outside of the office? Sheryl: I’m a late bloomer when it comes to sports, but I’m making up for it now. I started skiing about four and a half years ago and took up golf at the same time. I enjoy gardening, going to the movies, concerts, and Giants games. I’m also in the process of returning to an old love of mine — weaving on a loom. MPINCC: What is your definition of success? Sheryl: Success to me is when I realize a goal I set for myself. A perfect example is a book I self-published this year about creating a career strategy and includes resume design tips. I subscribe to the same viewpoint Thomas Edison did: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” MPINCC: Sheryl, many thanks. Any final words of advice for our readers as they navigate careers? Cheryl: If you blend together what you’re passionate about with your best skills and capabilities, you’ll end up with a career that gives you a great sense of satisfaction. ● Scott Slocum, MMH, is director of sales and marketing at Hotel Shattuck Plaza. He can be reached at (510) 225-6005 or scott. MPINCCperspective | VOL. 28, NO. 3 | 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - December 2009

MPI Perspective - December 2009
President’s Message
A Brand Apart
Tradeshow Marketing: How to Reach Corporate and Association Planners
Getting to know … Sheryl Sookman Schelter, CMP
Being Green Is Not a Destination
Member Pearls
Chapter Chatter
Sponsor Spotlight
Student Affairs Committee Spreading the Good Word of MPI
Index to Advertisers

MPI Perspective - December 2009