Meetings + Events

The power of gathering people

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Get to know Natalie Wilson, CMM, CMP

Since returning to Canada five years ago, the president-elect of the MPI BC chapter has certainly made her mark on the Canadian corporate events industry.

Tell us about your role as Corporate Events Manager for RBC Global Asset Management.
I have just celebrated five years with the com­pany. I work with various business channels across RBC Global Asset Management to provide corporate event management solutions and sup­port on conferences, road shows and a variety of ad-hoc requests.

What’s your favourite part of the job?
I relish collaborating with my stakeholders to design meetings and programs that meet their objectives. To also be able to provide attendees with a remarkable experience or leave them feeling inspired, appreciated and well looked after is a privilege and motivates me.

Tell us a bit about your background.
I started my planning career about 11 years ago in the UK as an executive assistant, organ­izing a number of client meetings around the globe. Within six months, I was also coordinat­ing off-sites for 40 to 80 people twice a year in North America and Europe. I saw the opportu­nity for a more strategic approach to planning and helped design the agenda and programs to suit the objectives of the business. I also gained more experience with contract negotia­tions and international planning, as well as insurance considerations (especially when sending a team rappelling down a London office tower).

What trends are you seeing in the industry?
Following the 2008 economic crash, time has become a priceless commodity, due to less resources and increased responsibilities. Attendees want to spend their time more wisely than ever. Hybrid meetings are becoming more popular and help manage time and connectiv­ity in our new world.

And the biggest challenges?
People are using a lot more technology and attendees’ expectations are exceeding band­width capabilities. With event apps becoming the norm, individuals carrying at least two elec­tronic devices, and live streaming, venues and AV companies need to come up with solutions and competitive pricing to meet these demands.

You are president-elect for the MPI BC chapter and have a long history with the organization; what benefits has your affiliation brought to your career and life?
I joined MPI in 2009 after I moved back to Vancouver because I was new to the North American meetings and events industry. Soon, I was invited to join the board as the director of recruitment. It gave me a local outlet to achieve my G.O.A.L.s, whether it was Growth, Opportunities, Alliances or Leadership. Through MPI, I learned about both the CMP and CMM programs, which I have successfully completed, and my involvement on the board of the MPI BC chapter has helped grow my leadership skills and experience.

What big things are the chapter working on right now?
The Board recently announced our merger with the Island Professional Event Network, which will now be known as the MPI BC chapter Vancouver Island pod, connecting over 60 island-based pro­fessionals to the MPI network. This creative new model will serve as a beta test for developing and supporting members in new and remote markets.

What’s your advice to those getting into the field today?
Go to industry events, talk to industry professionals, be present and find a mentor. Become a member of an organization such as MPI, and join a committee where you can gain experience, learn new skills and cultivate professional relationships.

I would also recommend working towards CMP certification, and participating in a CMP study group. The learning and connections made within a study group are second to none. These contacts will be an invaluable resource moving forward into your professional life.

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