Spotlight shines on Event Management grads as emerging leaders at industry conference

A group of Niagara College graduates have been selected as panelists for the Canadian Innovation Conference powered by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).

Five graduates of Niagara College’s Event Management post-graduate certificate program will be panelists at the event’s Emerging Leaders Forum on Nov. 11. The forum is part of the PCMA Canada East conference taking place Nov. 10-12 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls expected to draw hundreds of meeting and event professionals from across Canada. 

“We are thrilled to be having a panel of Niagara College graduates present at the Canadian Innovation Conference powered by PCMA” said PCMA Canada East chapter communications director Madeleine Bart. “It’s important to hear from the emerging leaders in our industry and see the impact that specialized education can have on people’s careers.”

The panelists were selected by NC Hospitality and Tourism professor Janet Jakobsen who is Emerging Leaders chair for the PCMA Canada East chapter and will be facilitating the panel. Topics to be addressed will include factors that have contributed to their successes to date what they wish they had done as students or young professionals what motivates them as Gen Y employees and challenges they have encountered.

“It is especially inspiring for me as a 30-year industry veteran to see these young professionals making such a significant contribution to the professionalism of our industry” said Jakobsen. “This is an example of outstanding applied learning for a changing world and the work-ready graduates that leave our program.”

NC graduates to participate on the panel include Emily Cornwell corporate sales coordinator Vintage Hotels; Claire Harris fundraising manager Big Brothers Big Sisters of Niagara Falls; Erin Rypstra client experience architect MC&IT Tourism Toronto; Kyle Smith inside sales representative AVW-TELAV Audio Visual Solutions; and Hailley MacDonald associate director alumni and External Relations University at Buffalo. The panel will also include Tammy Sweeney director of Human Resources Scotiabank Convention Centre who is also an instructor at Niagara College.

“The specialized nature of the Event Management program gave me a competitive advantage in the job market” said Hailley MacDonald 27 of Fort Erie who plans to share her perspective on millennials in the workplace and how she gained respect from older colleagues and subordinates. “The hands-on aspect of the program provided me with the decision-making and problem-solving skill set that is needed to succeed in the event industry.”

“The Niagara College Event Management program has been very beneficial to me in my early career. The volunteer opportunities presented throughout the program have provided me with valuable work experience I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to attain” said 23-year-old St. Catharines resident Emily Cornwell. “I am looking forward to sharing where I am today and how I got here how I am motivated as a Generation Y employee as well as reflecting on the significance of social media.”

The Emerging Leaders Forum will be held Nov. 11 from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

For more information about the PCMA Canada East Chapter’s Canadian Innovation Conference visit

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit