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From Planner to Supplier: 4 Ways I Turned my Passion into a Career

By: Zaman Ishaad, CED, CMP, DES | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | Feb 26, 2021

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Committee Note: An MPI Colleague share’s his story about what is next for him!  Lemons turned into lemonade as we continue to take your input from our recent MPI survey and feature a good news story from our industry and a fellow MPI member! 

Like many others, I had never hosted a virtual event until halfway through last year. As the pandemic erupted and my career development was stunted, I took this opportunity to change my perspective with optimism and practice gratitude with my MPI community. The pandemic was the perfect opportunity to take risks and develop new initiatives.

My wise mentor said, “disruption breeds innovation” (Tim Whalen) and I took that to heart in everything I did. Even though I lost my job, I was extremely grateful to be accepted for the Board of Directors for MPI Toronto while volunteering for MPI both locally and globally. In this article, I’ve discussed the four ways I’ve navigated through the quarantine so far and stayed connected to the greater meetings industry.


Leadership Volunteer Roles

Despite being laid-off, I continued to volunteer and develop new skills in this virtual world which created new opportunities to turn my passion into a career. As the Director of Strategic Partnerships, I found myself inspired again, planning our first major virtual event which ignited the lost connection with the thrill of hosting events.

With my involvement on the MPI Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, I’ve been able to collect resources to develop best practices and tips for front-line staff, who make the biggest difference around the world. The opportunity to serve on this committee has given me perspective to be grateful and have greater purpose than just a meeting professional.

Industry Leaders & Mentors

As a mentee, I realized my infinite potential in the meetings industry by engaging in communities and taking advice from various mentors. Over the years I’ve developed the confidence to participate as a leader, speaker and mentor. As I continue to build my network, I connected with leaders who are advancing our industry and gain insights on how to utilize my skills to create new opportunities and excel in future roles.

Professional Development in Event Design

As part of the global community of Certified Event Designers and Digital Event Strategists, I have taken many opportunities to learn new event design skills and share my expertise with the industry. In my previous role as a meeting planner, I was always intrigued by how our team can use new tools and plan more strategically. As a supplier, understanding event design is crucial to designing better experiences for clients with strategic support. We need to be empowered and empower others to present new strategies and realize the impact of our events!

Book Recommendation: Event Design Handbook by Roel Frissen, Ruud Janssen and Dennis Luijer 

Self-Help Books

As a personal development addict, I often enjoy self-help books. Adversity happens to all of us and we all make mistakes. I believe what makes a person a role model is their ability to overcome hardship though resilience, grit and optimism. My role models are Oprah, Nelson Mandela and JK Rowling who became successful by utilizing self-care to overcome certain challenges. I’ve recognized my areas for improvement to realize how I can improve and grow as a meeting professional.

Book Recommendation: Fear Is My Homeboy by Judi Holler

With my growth personally and professionally, I’ve always found a way to integrate my passions into my work and impact various communities. As of January 2021, I’ve started my new role as a Business Transformation Advisor at NexTech AR Solutions, managing sponsorship strategies for clients when transferring their events to virtual. Envisioning your dream career, role and company is totally within reach – you just have to dream and execute it! 

About the Author:

Zaman Ishaad Headshot

Zaman Ishaad, CED, CMP, DES
Business Transformation Advisor
NexTech AR Solutions



Zaman Ishaad Headshot
Zaman Ishaad, CED, CMP, DES | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

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