In our next installment of our #HeresWhy industry Q&A sessions, we interviewed Samantha Spitzner, Meetings Coordinator for the Society of Biblical Literature and 2017 IAEE 20 Under 30 recipient:
Tell us about your career and how you got started in the exhibitions industry?
I’ve always been interested in the events industry. In 2010, I started interning with the Society of Biblical Literature, working in the Congress Department. I helped with promotional materials for the meetings and the more I got involved, the more I realized I really liked them, especially the planning stages.
I was hired on full-time after my internship, and my responsibilities have evolved over the last seven years. As a meetings coordinator, I mainly handle registration and housing management for our annual meetings held in the United States, which have about 10,000 attendees, and our international meetings, which see somewhere between 1,000 – 1,500 attendees.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Seeing how everything from the planning stages comes together onsite. Meeting careers can be very cyclical, so it’s fun to see how the little changes and improvements we make during the planning stages payoff onsite.
Are there any upcoming improvements SBL is making in its events that you’re particularly excited about?
One specific thing we’re doing this year at our annual meeting is self-registration kiosks. This is something we haven’t done before, so we’re excited about it and looking forward to seeing how it works out. We’re hoping it’ll help with lines at the registration desk and make things more streamlined.
What’s something about your job that people don’t know about or would be surprised to learn?
When I mention that I’m involved in planning events, a lot of people outside the industry equate that to a party planner. Party planning has its own set of challenges but is completely different from event planning, so people are surprised by the scope of the things I help create.
Do any of your personal passions come into play with your career?
Yes, travel! I’m passionate about traveling, so putting on big events in different cities around the world is really exciting for me.
Do you feel like the events industry is a great place to kickstart a career?
Yes, the events industry is a great starting place because you’re given a lot of opportunities! I’ve found industry veterans to be very welcoming, especially toward young people, because they’re always willing to share what they’ve learned and try to be helpful.
What’s the most important career lesson you’ve learned thus far?
The best thing I’ve learned is to never stop learning – it’s important to find the best way to do something.
What’s the next step in your career?
I love what I do right now. My department and organization are great, so I really like where I am. We’re in the process of growing our international meeting, so I’m excited to continue to be part of that and implement new technologies and try different things.