Next-Gen Industry Trailblazers: Nikki Bibbero, Owner, Bibbero Meetings and Events
Who are the up-and-comers that are making an impact on their own organizations, industry associations or the event industry overall? What do they view as the industry’s biggest challenges? What are their hopes for the future?
To find out, Corporate Event News is launching a new series featuring interviews with influential young professionals representing every aspect of the industry, from event marketers to suppliers, to find out their take on the industry’s biggest strengths and weaknesses.
Tell us about your current role.
I own my own third-party planning company. On a planning side, my role entails the full scope of planning services – sourcing, planning and logistics and on-site management. From a business side, I do a little of everything whenever it pops up – accounting and payroll, legal necessities, sales and everything in between.
When and why did you choose the events industry as a career, what initially attracted you to it and what do you like most about it?
Getting into events was a happy accident for me. I was attending college and needed a change of school and major. While I was figuring out my next steps, my grandma recommended I take gen eds at the local college, which had a new hospitality program. She thought I might like it since I had worked in restaurants. I gave it a shot, and it turned out to be the absolute right fit for me. I made a career of it and never looked back. Thanks for the advice, grandma!
What do you think are the industry’s biggest strengths and why?
The industry’s biggest strengths are our relationships. Everyone knows someone, people are always willing to help, and people don’t put themselves first. They put the general needs of their (or someone else’s) clients first.
What are its biggest weaknesses and why?
A lot of people fall into this industry by accident, which is not a bad thing, but it comes without a lot of training. Post-pandemic, we see lots of people who were shoved into events roles with no background or resources, which makes their jobs and the jobs of their vendors more challenging. That’s when we, as an industry, should reach out to say ‘try things this way, here’s a template for XYZ, come to this education session, etc.’
What are your top concerns when it comes to the future of the events industry and why?
First, the continued rise in expenses combined with the fact that companies want to spend less money creates really challenging situations where you’re forced to choose between crucial event elements that you shouldn’t have to pick between. For example, are we going to have AV or are we going to serve lunch? If and when vendors can lower prices, they should. At the same time, planners need to do a better job explaining what things cost and why to their clients to allow for bigger budgets.
Second, we don’t see a ton of young leaders at the top of our industry – most boards are filled with Baby Boomers or older generations when there are exceptional ideas and talent below. Fellow next-gen professionals need to take more ownership and put themselves out there to become part of the leadership of our industry now, not 20 years from now.
Why should next-gen event industry professionals get involved in ensuring a positive future for the industry?
It’s our future we’re creating! If there is a work world we want to live in, we need to be part of making that happen, not waiting for it to happen with us. Getting involved in local or global organizations like Meeting Professionals InternationaI, Professional Convention Management Association or any of the other great hospitality associations is the perfect way to start. It allows your voice to be heard and to make changes on a micro and macro scale.
Where do you envision your career 5-10 years from now and what are your biggest hopes for the industry overall?
I look forward to having a great team under and around me, growing my business and that of our clients. I also look forward to continued involvement with the organizations, like MPI, that I currently volunteer with and to giving back to this great community. Overall, I look forward to seeing us continue to grow together within the industry, foster relationships, create experiences and help other businesses move forward because of the events we design for them.