3rd year BABH Hospitality Operations Management Student and Tourism Toronto Student Scholarship for CIC 2015 Award Winner discusses the PCMA Canadian Innovation Conference
PCMA CIC Toronto 2015 was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center – downtown Toronto adjacent to the Intercontinental Toronto Center – an upscale downtown hotel that is in the vicinity of Union Station, Rogers Center and the world renowned CN Tower. I arrived by bus to downtown Toronto on Sunday and made my way to hotel. However upon arrival my room was not ready so I stored my luggage and then went to register at the event. After receiving my name badge and program outline, I met with other attendees at the Emerging Leaders Reception. I recognized a few people from seeing them at other previous events. 2 other students from Niagara College were in attendance as well – one who recently graduated this past June.
I had been encouraged to attend this event by one of my Professors from Niagara College – Janet Jakobsen, and she also in fact advised me to apply for the Tourism Toronto scholarship to be eligible to attend as a student scholar. My interest had been sparked about attending this year’s event in Toronto as I had attended PCMA Convening Leaders Conference in Chicago this past January. I met with my Professor on a few occasions and the other Niagara College students who attended at several of the general sessions and was able to network with a variety of attendees ranging from corporate executives, business owners, other students and faculty. Due to the close proximity from Niagara to Toronto – attending this conference was an opportunity to not be missed!!!!!
Below is a quote taken from the PCMA website that resonates with me about how I view myself and others who are passionate about the Hospitality Industry.
An individual that desires to be the master of hospitality or meeting and event management. They are ambitious, serial networkers – much like sharks, they are constantly circling… seeking out the next resource to potentially help jumpstart their professional career. You’ll find them actively involved outside their university classroom – juggling volunteerism, chapter activities, part-time industry jobs and sanity.
A bit about my History in Hospitality
I am a 3rd year international student from Bermuda, studying a Bachelors of Applied Business for Hospitality Operations Management at Niagara College. I originate from Bermuda and have extensive working and volunteer experience in the Hospitality Industry from during my time in Bermuda. While I was in Bermuda, I had been actively involved with the Bermuda Hospitality Institute a local non-profit organization embarked on a mission to promote hospitality within the local community. I have volunteered at a number of charitable events ranging from networking sessions, round table talks, panels, fundraisers, recruitment fairs and visiting local schools to promote hospitality. In September 2011, I was invited to attend a prestigious tourism conference in St. Martin. The event was hosted by the Caribbean Tourism Organization in which Bermuda; not located in the Caribbean, is a member of Caricom. The theme of the conference was “The State of The Industry – How to Win in a Competitive Market.” I was the only representative there from Bermuda and drew commanding respect when I returned home. It was such an eye-opener to attend an event of that magnitude.
PCMA Canadian Innovation Conference Toronto Theme; “Envision – Inspire – Elevate”
- Why did you apply for this scholarship?
I applied for the scholarship under the instruction from one of my professors Janet Jakobsen. She has taught me a number of courses at Niagara College including; Intro to Hospitality, Concepts of Customer Service & Event Management. She sent an email to all BABH Hospitality and Event
Management students encouraging us to attend this event. In addition she forwarded the scholarship application and guidelines and as I expressed my interest in attending, she strongly recommended that I apply for the scholarship. I also wanted to give myself the opportunity to be
considered a potential candidate for selection of this award and was shocked to receive the call from Madeleine Bart to say that the scholarship committee had chosen me be the deserving candidate.
- What was your favorite part about attending the event?
Favorite part of attending this event ……. the opening/closing receptions of course!!!! The delicious foods on display during breakfast and luncheons, the live entertainment, endless amounts of networking with future industry partners and the interesting breakout sessions that I could individually attend were all favorites for me attending this event. I was very pleased that the scholarship award covered my accommodations for me to stay at the Intercontinental and the hotel impressed me very much. I was really motivated to attend as it was hosted in downtown Toronto, as I am a student at Niagara College, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus – roughly a 1 hour 20 minute drive away. Getting to attend my first conference in Toronto could kick start my career development by getting to know various segments of hospitality organizations within the Toronto community. I also found that having the PCMA app on my phone was a very useful tool to use going forward in the future as it allowed attendees to view and select the sessions they wanted to attend, provided updates for the next sessions and gave access to all attendees contact information if you was unable to get their business cards or contact details. I also won a few prizes at the silent auction and will be looking forward to enjoying them in the near future
- What was your favorite session and what did you learn from it?
As an international student, I found this as a fantastic opportunity to enhance my learning for the industry outside of the classroom. The education and information sessions that I found most beneficial for me involved things that could aid me in my current learning environment at Niagara College as well as going forward in the future. Some of the sessions that I attended included:
- Opening keynote address – (Everything I know about life I learned in the Kitchen) Presented by Chef Michael Smith, Prince Edward Island
- Emerging Leaders Reception & Welcome Reception
- Speak Up & Stand Out – (How to Structure your presentations, Master your Fears, and Captivate your Audience) Presented by Suzannah Baum, Ideal Communications. (Marketing)
- Selling to the Four Generations – Presented by Nancy Milani, Thunder Bay Chamber ofCommerce. (Sales)
- Emerging Leaders Mini Keynote: The Power of Youth – Presented by Kelly Lovell. National Speakers Bureau
- Closing Plenary & Keynote – (The Levity Effect) Presented by Scott Christopher. Speaker Spotlight
- Closing Party – Maple Leaf Garden
My favorite session I attended was; Speak Up & Stand Out hosted by Suzannah Baum. This session was structured in a way that allowed attendees to interact with each other, forming teams, presenting individual ideas and thoughts based on the topics provided. The highlight of this session allowed us to overcome the fears of public speaking, structuring presentations to best suit the presenter and captivating the audience so they fully can grasp the information being presented. Each of the sessions I attended including the general sessions and the luncheons as well, allowed me the opportunity to network with other like-minded individuals who share the same passion as me for the hospitality and event planning industry.
- How were you able to connect your global learning for your own future career success?
What is very unique about joining an association such as PCMA is the opportunity to stay current with the latest trends that develop in the industry, and that membership allows you to be able to always be learning something new whether you are a student, faculty, executive or a business owner. The membership is renewable yearly and as a student it is best to take advantage of this opportunity due to huge amount of discounts afforded to student members. To relate this experience to my future success, I would say that being able to network with some of the most influential leaders at this conference provided me with added personal resources to call upon if I need advice, an opinion, or if I am looking to launch my career to next level once I am finish my Niagara College Education. To conclude the networking and workshops it was amazing to get to know Toronto as a city from a business perspective, new places to eat and a new culture that I discovered as well as a new way of doing business.
Advice to my Peers and others in Hospitality
I would encourage more of my peers in my program and other programs related to hospitality to attend future events like PCMA Conferences, because this experience can open many doors and opportunities. There is a saying, “that in life you have to grab the bull by the horns and go get it.” One has to be
progressive if they want to grow and build their networks. I have had many opportunities to showcase my skills and talents at home in Bermuda’s Hospitality Industry and now I am currently working towards doing that internationally as well.
Lastly, it was a privilege to be awarded the Tourism Toronto 2015 award in memory of to be able to attend the PCMA Canadian Innovation Conference and to represent Niagara College Canada as a student ambassador and a global citizen. I am positive that this experience has made me more, “Be World Ready”.
– This article was written by Dawayne Fubler (November 29, 2015)