On Monday morning, students and young professionals gathered at VenueConnect for UpStart: a program that provides education and networking to individuals who are just starting their careers in venue management.
Dusty Saine began the session by reminiscing about his own IAVM conference experience.
“I sat in your seat thirteen (13) years ago,” said Saine. He encouraged the participants, giving them advice (be excited and inspired) on how to prepare for the next few days of the conference, before he introduced the audience to Dr. Brad Stinnett, Western Kentucky University (WKU) Assistant Professor.
Stinnett thanked the committee and expressed his excitement about UpStart’s growing attendance—forty-seven (47) participants and twenty-two (22) executives, an exciting turnout.
“It speaks volumes about where you want to go in your careers,” he said. “Kudos to you.”
WKU has sponsored UpStart since its inception in 2015 and has been involved in its administration and planning ever since. The collaboration between WKU and IAVM reflects the university’s “student-first” philosophy and eagerness to help young professionals get involved.
“As educators, we are in the business of providing opportunities for students to fulfill the dream of having impactful and rewarding careers,” said Stinnett. “By supporting the UpStart program, WKU is playing a vital role in the continuous development of students and young professionals of the International Association of Venue Managers.”
But the program not only benefits students and young professionals, but mentors as well!
“The UpStart program is a win-win for young professionals and mentors participating,” said Stinnett. “The young professionals are given first-hand access to some giants in the venue management industry…on the other hand, the mentors are able to visit with the next generation of leaders in the industry and share a tremendous amount of knowledge regarding the diverse aspects of their careers.”
Before the participants broke away and teamed up with executive mentors, Stinnett challenged them to get as much out of this conference, and its opportunities, as they can.
“Enjoy the ride, maximize your experience, and maximize your career.”