Professional Development Opportunities During COVID-19

Professional Development Opportunities During COVID-19
April 24, 2020 Alison Kieckhafer

For many, 2020 has brought new experiences into our daily lives: home-schooling, virtual conferences and hours and hours of reality television.  Along with social distancing and quarantine, we have been given access to numerous opportunities to learn online.   From writing courses given by popular authors to one-on-one video sessions with astronauts, to Yale University’s most popular class we have multiple venues to learn new information, most of which are free or accessible for a very small fee.

Have you considered using this time as an opportunity to continue your education?  Here are some ideas specifically for the Hospitality and Events Industry:

  • HARMAN Professional Solutions, the global leader in audio, video, lighting and control systems, is offering their new Learning Sessions eLearning program for free, in conjunction with HARMAN Pro University. For more information, visit https://www.livedesignonline.com/briefing-room/harman-professional-solutions-announces-free-harman-pro-university-learning-sessions
  • Cvent is offering complimentary certifications for Suppliers and Planners using their platform. https://www.cvent.com/en/cvent-certification?fbclid=IwAR0HQeTuph5oYUGH7tJM5sgrz1jPsVKwYreXUAFIe9-mXbr0mwJFn8Z3Twk
  • The American Hotel and Lodging Association and their sponsors are assisting those working in member hotels that have been furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19.  Information on the free training courses, professional development scholarships, and continuing education offerings can be found by visiting www.ahlafoundation.org
  • There are hundreds of courses available from Universities and Colleges across the world available for free or a small fee at https://www.coursera.org/.   While some are dedicated to the hospitality industry, most are focused on business, marketing, leadership and management, etc. that can support your career.

If you have been furloughed or find yourself with more time due to a shortened commute, maybe this is the time to earn your CMP, CMM, or CSEP (or any other industry certification).  This is a great time to focus on you and your future, while these industry designations are not free, they are an investment that pays off.  Those with CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designations make on average $10,500 more per year than those without.  If you have the CMM (Certified Meeting Manager) designation, on average, you can add another $20,000 to that annual salary. You can find out more on each at the links below, some organizations offer scholarships!

CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) Events Industry Council (EIC)- https://www.eventscouncil.org/CMP/About-CMP

CMM (Certificate in Meeting Management)  Meeting Professionals International (MPI) – https://www.mpi.org/education/academic-partnerships/certificate-meeting-management

CSEP (Certified Special Event Professional) International Live Event Association (ILEA)- https://www.mpi.org/education/academic-partnerships/certificate-meeting-management

Don’t stop learning!  Whether it’s a simple TEDTalk, a quick doodle lesson, or a virtual tour of the Louvre Museum in Paris, take this chance to exercise your brain!  You won’t regret it!

Amanda Wells, CMP, has over 20 years of meeting industry experience. Prior to joining the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau, Amanda spent many years with Starwood Hotels. She is also a former employee of The Event Lounge where she grew annual sales to over $1M annually. In 2013, she earned her Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) designation and served on the MPI D/FW Board of Directors where she was Chapter President in 2013-2014. Amanda’s depth of knowledge about event planning and production coupled with her hotel sales experience, makes her an invaluable asset to the Arlington CVB where she serves as Director of National Accounts. Amanda is a long-time champion of the meeting industry, always willing to mentor others and offer valuable insights about industry topics.