Get to Know Amy Calvert, Events Industry Council’s New CEO
You could say Amy Calvert began her new role as CEO of Events Industry Council by jumping in with two feet. After taking the helm on May 20, her first day on the job was at IMEX Frankfurt. A little overwhelming, perhaps — but overall “it was awesome,” says Calvert. “It was a really fine and appropriate place to begin my career with EIC.”
Now less than two months in, she’s still making a big splash, carrying the enthusiasm and excitement she has brought with her since the beginning. We caught up with Calvert, who came to EIC from Visit Baltimore, to learn how she’s doing, what she’s planning and what we can expect from EIC in the future.
How do you like to start your days?
I’m a big believer in quality sleep, so I try to get solid rest every night. I think that helps put you in the right mindset and allows you to begin your day from a position of strength. The first thing I do every morning is meditate, where I start to think about my day, get clear on my purpose and what I hope to accomplish. Then I make a cup of coffee, hang out with Ash (my French bulldog), and get my son up and ready for school before I leave the house. That’s very important for me to have those moments connecting with my family and being present.
You commute from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. How do you stay productive during that time?
I like to spend my commute listening to podcasts, listening and giving thought to topics that are critical to our industry right now — such as sustainability, social justice issues around diversity and inclusion, human trafficking, and building career pathways, as well as workforce development strategies. It is critical that EIC be deeply connected to its purpose, focusing on building an inclusive global community with values that support our vision and mission. Two of my favorite podcasts right now are “On Being” with Krista Tippett and “The Future of Work” with Jacob Morgan.
What are you focusing on now as you ramp up in your new role?
Right now I’m focused on onboarding, working on a listening tour connecting with our leadership, volunteers, industry partners and supporters. EIC is part of SmithBucklin, so I’ve been getting to know the organization, building relationships and understanding of what their journey has been with EIC. We have a tremendous team, as well as a supportive and engaged community of volunteers focused on driving value for our members, the CMP community and the industry at large. We had our spring council meeting in Puerto Rico — that was a great moment, to see the organizations that comprise EIC and also spend time in a destination that’s rebuilding its community.
What is the value of event organizers working more closely with DMOs?
In any strategic partnership, you’re looking for alignment and a collaboration focused on value creation. That requires an investment of resources; it requires thoughtfulness, and it requires a mindset that focuses on seeking to understand objectives and creating transparent metrics for defining successful outcomes. More and more, destinations are positioning themselves as creators of enhanced value beyond what they can offer through brick-and-mortar facilities.
Now, it’s about how a destination can support an organization’s mission by weaving certain aspects of the city — intellectual capital such as innovation and technology, sustainability, or arts and culture — into the fabric of a meeting and creating a point of differentiation. It enables people to be involved in immersive, hyperlocal experiences that enhance learning and build connections. And at the same time, events leave a lasting social impact on the host communities. This is a very interesting concept essential to articulating the value of meetings and events. We are exploring how to better tell this story of impact and how best to quantify the impact, while at the same time humanize the narrative.
Looking ahead, what can we expect from EIC?
Statistically relevant data that can be shared with key stakeholder groups to help build recognition for our profession and shape policy is an essential element of EIC’s mission. We’ve conducted several studies showing there is an elevated level of conversation around the legacy impact of events on the communities they serve.
Additionally, one community that continues to impress me with its passion and drive for professional excellence is our 11,000 CMPs. We want to celebrate those folks and continue to grow the certification, as well as a community that creates as sense of belonging and relevance at all stages of an individual’s career.
What do you think we, as an industry, need to do to better educate those outside the industry about the value of events?
Our industry has an overall economic impact of over $1.5 trillion and serves 25 million indirect jobs, and those numbers are very impactful for our story. But two things we need to think about are, how do we humanize that, and how do we find ways to raise examples of an individual’s journey? We need to move away from just talking about numbers, and focus on social impact, sustainability and the legacy of events. I think that’s where we can capture people’s hearts.
When you’re not thinking about work, how do you unwind?
I love my quiet time, reading, the beach, and spending time with friends and family. I’m married with two children, ages 16 and 25, so a lot of my time is spent doing things with them — whether that’s attending one of their sporting events or getting away to ski over the holidays. We also recently brought Ash, our French bulldog, into the family, and he is quite the character.