Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My experience at the 33rd IACC-Americas Annual Conference

By Chloe HSIA

During the week of spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, California to receive the IACC-NYU Doris Sklar Scholarship. The award was presented at the 33rd IACC-Americas Annual Conference -Catch The Wave-, which was held at the Pacific Palms Resort. It was an honour to represent NYU at the IACC Conference, and to network with conference and meeting professionals in the industry.

The week was filled with informative, engaging workshops and entertaining keynote speakers. Sandra Dove-Lowther, the Tisch Center’s Director of Academic Services, accompanied me to the conference and introduced the scholarship to the attendees during the opening ceremony. The scholarship allowed me to demonstrate my interest in the future of the meetings industry and indicate how it may be effected by the desire of conference centres to cater more towards guest needs. In 2013, I was a part of the Shark Tank team at the 2013 North American Hotel Investment Conference (NATHIC) in Chicago. I used our findings about the rising demands of the millennial generation and interpreted a selection of meetings and events trends to determine how this information may also effect the conference and meetings event industry. I personally focused on the technological changes and demands of the rising generation, gearing towards a more flexible conference centre, different channels, and shorter booking windows. Ultimately, when conference centres further incorporate desired amenities and services, organizers will be able to provide a more unique experience for their attendees, a goal that hotels, restaurants and other service entities are trying to tap into.

As the conference progressed, I had the opportunity to sit down with IACC Global President, Peter Stewart and IACC President, T.J. Fimmano. Mr. Stewart and Mr. Fimmano were both extremely helpful in offering recommendations and advice for students and also very open to sharing their unique stories about how they entered the industry. With my graduation date in May fast approaching, it was a wonderful time to explore what aspect of the hospitality industry that I am interested in. I also had the opportunity to sit in on a few great workshops, including PKF Trends in 2014 led by CEO Mark Woodworth, Global Culinary Trends and Beverage Pairing Strategies led by Brian Freedman, and a HSIA (High Speed Internet Access) workshop. 

The Copper Skillet Chefs cooking competition finals were also held at the resort, and featured five international chefs and three judges from Le Cordon Bleu, the British Culinary Federation, as well as the Pacific Palms’ very own executive chef. It was very exciting to see the competition up close and to smell the mouthwatering scents of artistic dishes being prepared.

I am incredibly honoured to be chosen as the 2014 NYU Doris Sklar-IACC scholarship recipient and I look forward to entering the industry in May of this year. You can always remember me by my last name – HSIA (High Speed Internet Access). Thank you!