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My Journey: A Continued Road to Learning - EXPOSED!

By: Mary Jo Sterns | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | Oct 8, 2020

These “unprecedented” times during the COVID-19 crisis have altered our professional relationships.

chris-montgomery-smgTvepind4-unsplashWe have been welcomed into our clients’ and colleagues’ living rooms, met their pets and kids, seen the dirty dishes in the kitchen in the background and shared banana bread recipes. All virtually via our laptops and smartphones.  We have allowed the world to see our roots, COVID beards, faces without makeup and have had to acknowledge that we are technologically challenged and that before this we thought Zoom was a word used in a Mazda commercial.  

We have dropped our “workplace armor”. Admitting we are struggling at work was unthinkable. Sharing our personal challenges was seen as unprofessional. We are no longer burdened with the concept of being perfect. Event professionals have always been about perfection. And yes, in the quality execution of an event, this is key. However, the COVID-19 crisis has allowed us to relax in our professional relationships. Being empathetic and sharing stories has been so much more important than wearing a business suit on a Zoom call.

jude-beck-jgZKTGbEbX8-unsplashWe have allowed ourselves to be seen authentically. A common vulnerability has been revealed and we have asked for help. An Event Manager is wired to find solutions. Our clients hire us for our knowledge and troubleshooting skills. No one has all the answers during this period of uncertainty. As a result, tremendous sharing and collaboration has taken place. The industry has been flooded with webinars, networking, and professional development opportunities, all for free. The common theme in all of these has been Collaboration – event planners that are competitors wanting to work together, connecting with each other and asking for help. This is how we survive.

Pulling from Dr. Brené Brown, “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.  It is our greatest measure of courage”.

Our best and most reliable resource is ourselves – the Human Element. We are experiencing challenges that we were not prepared for, that we could not have imagined. Be wholehearted - have the courage to be imperfect, let your vulnerability and authenticity shine through. Our resilience is strengthened when we give and receive support.

We have cultivated intimate interactions. We have listened to our clients’ and colleagues’ stories. We are connected. We are unified. I believe the end result is stronger relationships. A solid kinship that will follow us into the future.

#weareinthisTOGETHER  #weAREbettertogether

Committee Note: In our industry we're constantly learning, growing and adapting to new trends and environments.  Change is around every corner and it's so important that we continue down our road to learning!  As we all continue to master our skills; new and old, we want to reach out to you, our MPI Community to see if you have a story to share.  Learning from one another and supporting our colleagues is more important now than ever!

Brené Brown's TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability

About the Author:
Mary Jo Sterns
Mary Jo Sterns is a Hospitality Educator and Consultant.
She can be reached at: 
Follow her on Twitter @mjsterns



Mary Jo Sterns
Mary Jo Sterns | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

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