I’ve always been a behind-the-scenes type of guy. In my 15-plus years of venue experience, I’ve met a lot of colleagues who found their way into this amazing career the same way I did: starting out as a volunteer or a part-time employee, just because it sounded fun.
My personal introduction to venue work began in undergraduate school in upstate New York where, through our very autonomous student activities organization, I was able to work in many different capacities at concerts that ran the gamut from solo folk singers to national acts like Bruce Springsteen and Frank Zappa. A few more volunteer stints followed that, and after moving halfway across the country, I ended up volunteering at the venue that eventually hired me as a part-timer, and that soon promoted me into a full-time leadership role. I won’t name names, but even though I was working with well-respected professionals with far more experience than I, virtually no one had any industry-specific training.
Always looking for ways to improve my skills and knowledge, I began researching the field of venue management, which is where I ran across the IAVM, in its previous incarnation as the IAAM (the International Association of Assembly Managers). I began attending conferences, taking online and live classroom training, and more. But once I had completed Trained Crowd Manager, attended enough consecutive conferences to be designated as a Guest Service Professional (remember that?), completed training in ICS, NIMS and other courses through FEMA and other agencies, there was still a substantial gulf between where I was in my career and the eligibility criteria for CFE. That’s why I was elated when I heard that the IAVM was considering a mid-level certification—it was exactly what I was looking for.
My CVP certification tells my peers, my colleagues and my current and future employers that I know what I’m doing when it comes to venue management. It shows that I have demonstrated mastery over a broad range of topics in this complex, detail-driven field. Most importantly, it shows my dedication to professional development and continuing education. I am encouraged by the number of venue job postings I see that say “CVP Preferred” when listing job qualifications. I’m also encouraged by the changes IAVM is instituting to streamline the certification process.
I am responsible for my own career. In my mind, investing in a credential that demonstrates my potential value to others in the industry, whomever they may be, is a move that’s both wise and necessary. My CVP does that for me, and I’m confident it will do the same for you.
Bob Potemski, CVP, is the Event Manager at the Carlsen Center in Overland Park, Kansas. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.