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Reflecting on the year ahead with Stephen Revetria

Stephen Revetria

By: MPI Northern California Chapter | Feb 1, 2021

Reflecting on the year ahead with Stephen Revetria
Chair of the International Board of Directors for MPI, Long-time member of MPINCC, and President of Giants Enterprises
Interview by President-Elect, Ryan Carroll

We are thrilled that our very own, long time MPINCC member, and President of Giants Enterprises, Stephen Revetria, has been named Chair of the MPI International Board of Directors for 2021. 

We asked President-Elect, Ryan Carroll, to catch up with Stephen, and talk about his goals for the year, jumpstarting the industry in 2021, and how we can help our industry, and our MPI community get through these challenging times. 

RYAN: Stephen, thanks for joining us today. I know we get to chat routinely for our work with the Giants, but it’s exciting to take my baseball hat off and put my MPI hat on for a bit.

STEPHEN: I have too many hats! I can’t keep track of these things. But I’m excited to get back to our roots here at the Northern California Chapter and I’m looking forward to a great year.

RYAN: Well you said it, you’re certainly a man who gets pulled in many directions with a number of responsibilities and we’re thrilled to have you as the new Chair of MPI’s International Board of Directors. Why don’t we start right there - what are your goals as the 2021 Chair?

STEPHEN: Thank you and I’m excited to represent the local community and our industry at this level. My goal isn’t so much personal, but rather just wanting to see us all come together and come out of this healthier and stronger – as individuals and collectively. One of the most important things we need to do to prepare ourselves this year is support our local chapters, small business, and various communities. I’m a firm believer in that, and if we don’t have healthy, stable chapters then we have nothing. The one other topic that I’m a huge proponent of, and actually the Northern California Chapter has been a pioneer with its task force, is DE&I. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have never been more critical at the local, national, and international levels. It’s a pillar of our community and we need to continue to grow this, educate, and involve each other. It’s extremely important and will be critical as we lead the way to an effective recovery.

RYAN: Well said and, speaking on behalf of the Chapter, we couldn’t agree more. To continue in this direction, what are your thoughts on how we jump-start the hospitality industry? Or can even do that right now? The vaccines are coming, albeit over time, so what’s next in your opinion?

STEPHEN: The way we’re going to have to navigate this - we’re going to have to take with us the lessons we’ve learned last year. A lot of energy has been spent on this new digital and virtual world. That will be some peoples’ reality during this time of transition. Short term – we need to remain flexible and see where people are comfortable and how they’re willing to participate. A lot of listening and learning is still going on in this time. And that’s okay! In every model, we’re still going to have to lean on technology. We’re still going to develop hybrid events. I believe that’s the immediate path forward. When the vaccines get distributed, of course we’re going to be optimistic and continue refining and expanding our meeting practices. But as we wait for that to happen in stages, it’s all about personalizing that individual journey. Everyone will be at a different point. It’s easy to get carried away in the short term, but as leaders we should try to remain patient, compassionate, and empathetic throughout this recovery.

RYAN: I think that’s a great point – it’s important to understand that every individual is different. Whether it’s a member, client, friend – we need to acknowledge that our realities can differ and we want to provide the most comfortable path forward for each person. And it won’t be the same path for everyone. So, honing in on our Chapter for a second, what role can we play to help our industry and how can our members help the community?

STEPHEN: You know, we’re uniquely positioned as a Chapter in the Bay Area. We’re living in this convergence of technology, at the forefront of how to connect the rest of the world and how we communicate. It’s the hub of the world when it comes to connecting people. And that’s what we do in the meeting world. We’re very well positioned to progress our industry and our methods just due to our location and access to people who understand and accept this reality. Who’s better positioned than us?

RYAN: Well I’d like to think nobody, but I’m incredibly biased.

STEPHEN: And you should be! We’re reimagining live events. We’re redefining them and they’re going to continue to evolve. But now is the time to be most inclusive. We all have to pull together, work together to figure out solutions at all levels to overcome these challenges. We have to put in time and support new resources for members and would-be members. Engage people who aspire and want to learn. Give them a ladder of opportunity.

RYAN: I think that’s a great way to put it. Our members are going to be the ones to help develop these solutions. And before that can happen, we, as a Chapter, need to support our members and give them the resources, support, and opportunity to do so. And I understand we can’t get ahead of ourselves; many are working from home and will continue to do so for the next several months. How does this remote working continue to affect the industry? What are your thoughts as we approach WEC Las Vegas in June?

STEPHEN: My concern is, I think there’s a fear of being isolated and not connected. That’s where we need to lean on one another, friends of the industry. Call people, pick up the phone. This is a tough time as many of us work remotely. MPI is a great community during these times. I always encourage our supporters to make the most of their membership, connect with others. And if you’re struggling, the MPI Foundation is a great avenue to ask for support. We’re always trying to help and I think that made a big impact for WEC, travel, and membership last year. There are still opportunities in 2021. Now when it comes to events and WEC, we want to support that personal journey. And again, that journey is going to look different for everyone. WEC Las Vegas will happen. There will of course have to be hybrid components to it because there will be people who prefer to consume information virtually at this time. We were really fortunate in how WEC Grapevine turned out, how people connected remotely, and we will continue to develop those virtual and hybrid offerings for June’s program.

RYAN: Alright, now for the hardest question. As you know, come July I’ll be stepping up to Chapter President. Give me some advice, what do you think?

STEPHEN: Be optimistic. That’s the number one piece of advice I can give. I know our industry can persevere and adapt during these challenging times. Encourage people to be there for one another. Strengthen your chapter bonds and build that excitement to take us to the next level come July.

RYAN: Easier said than done! But thank you. I’m assuming you’re going to give me extra time off work to focus on this?

STEPHEN: Only if I can too!

RYAN: Done! Let’s end this on a baseball note to bring us full circle. How do you think the year is going to look? We made it through 60 games last year, but we definitely missed the fans.

STEPHEN: And I’m one of the fans! I missed it, my family missed it, we all did. Baseball is full of hope and optimism, just like every team and their fanbase at the beginning of the season. And I would personally love to see the stands filled when it’s safe to return. That’s the most important thing to me. Of course we want the team to do well, but Oracle Park just isn’t the same without our fans. You know, our sport is filled with comebacks and that’s what it’s going to take to get everyone back to the ballpark. This will be the most memorable comeback in the history of our industry!

 

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MPI Northern California Chapter

 
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