Phillip Saims, Vice President Sales of Federal Conference
Hometown: Born in Gary, IN & Live in Alexandria, VA
University of Education: Averett College
How long have you been an IAEE member? 2 years
IAEE Chapter: DC Chapter
How did you start your career in this industry?
I’ve always been drawn to the hospitality industry and I started my career as a government meeting planner within DoD. When a friend suggested that I move to hotel sales, I knew I found my passion. Throughout my 27-year career, I’ve been happiest when I’ve been able to relieve people of their event planning stress. I truly enjoy meeting new people and helping them resolve their venue sourcing issues.
How has IAEE shaped your career?
Having IAEE as a resource has grown my understanding of exhibits and events as well as created a true sense of community. The IAEE members truly care and are always willing to help you regardless of where you are in your career. Honestly, it just makes me a better person!
What advice would you give to a new member?
Get involved! Over the years, I’ve heard a few individuals connected with various associations make comments that they don’t get anything out of their respective memberships. My response? You get out of it what you put into it; which applies to almost anything. You won’t get physically fit, just by joining a gym. You must participate! It’s the same with IAEE and there are so many opportunities to contribute, network and make a difference within the association. When you’re helping yourself, you’re also helping other IAEE members in their journey and we all become stronger.
Fun fact about you – What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I participated in the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago as part of the DC delegation on the swim team. Although I did not win a medal it was an amazing opportunity to support DC and our community.
What do you like most about your chapter?
Our members! We are very fortunate to have such well-rounded and seasoned members that have helped me over the past few years. The DC Chapter’s educational programming is excellent and a great way to engage with members from every area of our industry. Weather it is our Young Professional’s, Community Service or Special Events, the DC Chapter has something for everyone.
What community service projects do you like to be involved in? Why?
I started my IAEE journey as the Director of Community Service for the DC Chapter. I felt it was important to give back to an industry that has given so much to me and IAEE was the perfect conduit. The mantra “doing well, by doing good” is not just a phrase, but something worth making happen. We have so many opportunities in each of our communities to help those who may have fallen behind or need a helping hand and IAEE promotes that philosophy.
What would you say is the #1 IAEE member benefit?
The resources within IAEE are incredibly helpful in every aspect of your career. It does not matter if you are a planner, supplier, or destination IAEE supports your goals both in your career as well as your job.
What do you like most about Expo! Expo!?
Attending Expo! Expo! is more of a educational family reunion. It’s a place to connecting with industry colleagues, to learn and better understand the past year, as well as look forward to new trends. Expo! Expo! brings together industry leaders that impact and educate all areas of the events industry. In particular, the exhibit floor is where you’re able to get critical business done for the upcoming year. Remember, if you’re not here, your competitors are!