By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager
Rebecca Stevens, CEM, CMP-HC, Director, Business Development for the Texas Medical Association has been in the industry for almost 25 years. She joined IAEE in October of 2002 and immediately got involved in her local chapter, attending every activity she could. In 2004 and 2005 she served as Communications Chairperson for the chapter and streamlined the chapter’s bi-monthly newsletter to make it easier to produce. She served for several years as the chapter’s Education Committee Chairperson and is a strong advocate for the CEM designation (she obtained hers in 2004). She then moved to Colorado and was very involved in the Rocky Mountain Chapter until her return to Texas in 2013, at which time she became Chairperson Elect and Chairperson of the Education Committee, followed by Chapter Chairperson in 2014.
Rebecca’s focus on bringing the best education possible to chapter programming led to her valuable role in organizing the Southwest Showcase, a one-day conference and trade show for the meetings, exhibitions and events industry that the chapter produces with the MPI Texas Hill Country Chapter. She also helped the chapter expand its charity activities to include two new events: the Austin Child Guidance Center’s 3rd Annual Austin Original’s Benefit Concert and Live Taping and The Care Communities’ iCare Gala 2014 Her contributions to the chapter’s accomplishments earned her an IAEE Merit Award in 2015, which recognizes individuals whose ideas and/or work have benefited IAEE as an organization in some special way, and is generally reserved for those who have stepped forward at the chapter and/or local level. Here, Rebecca discusses her ongoing service to IAEE chapters and her continued work in advancing education in the industry.
You have made sure to stay involved in your local IAEE chapter regardless of where you have lived. Why do you find it so important to keep the IAEE connection?
IAEE local chapters provide me with up-to-date information and education, which is critical in the fast changing meeting industry. I also cherish the networking opportunities with vendors and colleagues – some of my best friends are industry friends I met through IAEE.
You have served in various leadership positions in the Central Texas Chapter, including chairperson and chairing committees such as the Education and Communications committees. How do you determine your goals when taking on a new role within the chapter?
Chapters exist for two reasons: Continuing Education and Networking. Those are the goals I focus on for any local chapter project I take on. I have also found the motto: “Build it and they will come” to serve my goals well.
Your fellow chapter members have praised your efforts in promoting and advancing education opportunities such as obtaining your CEM designation. Why is education so important to you, and how have you used your continuing education in your career path?
I have found that I can learn something new from every educational event, even if it is a course and speaker that I have heard several times. I always come away with some new “gem” that I didn’t see or hear before. Education and the art of learning keeps me abreast of this changing meeting industry – if you don’t stay plugged in, you will fall behind!
You have been instrumental in organizing your chapter’s one-day conference, Southwest Showcase, which enjoyed great success. What was your approach to helping create a powerful program, and what are you most proud of about the showcase?
Leadership is pulling together a great team and providing that team with the tools and permission to do the best they can do. I am most proud of the entire team of IAEE and MPI local chapter officers and committee who went the extra mile during the spring meeting season to ensure the Southwest Showcase would happen the next year and beyond.
You have also been very heavily involved in the chapter’s charity events, with two new events added last year. How do you determine the ways in which the chapter will give back to the community?
My vision was for the IAEE Central Texas Chapter to get physically involved in community service. We had long supported the “Dress for Success” program in Austin with donations at our Holiday Social event. I put the vision to the chapter officers and they stepped up to the plate – our Charity/Community Committee Chairperson, Dana Fuller, took the vision and ran with it. She had done a great job and I always enjoy staffing those events alongside my chapter colleagues.
The 2016 Call for Nominations for the IAEE Awards is now open! Visit www.iaee.com/awards for more information about the various award categories and their corresponding criteria as well as submit your nominations for deserving colleagues whose outstanding efforts merit recognition.