How did you get started in the venue management industry?
Venue Management chose me! I started my career in hospitality to earn money and work my way through university and found the industry to be one I enjoyed so much that I changed my path. I stayed in the industry after graduation and haven’t looked back.
What do you find rewarding about our industry?
I love the variety of events and how every day brings a new challenge. It is truly a career where you never stop learning new things. This industry provides a stimulating environment where every day can be different. The most rewarding aspect of my job is when I can mentor and help a team member succeed and grow. It was especially rewarding helping a person who went from a security guard to become an event manager.
What is one of your favorite or most unique events you have experienced at a venue, either professionally or personally?
I love the opportunity to be creative, so my favourite events are where my team and I have created our own experiences for our guests with Fam (familiarization) tours to our building. We recreated the movie “Back to the Future” as an event in our theatre with the actual DeLorean. It was a fun event where we created different vignettes from the movie. We have also created a garden party in the middle of the exhibit hall with real grass and a complete tailgate party inside with trucks and fanfare.
What is the proudest moment of your career?
I loved being a part of the opening team of the Niagara Falls Convention Centre. It was such an amazing experience to be a part of opening the building for our community. We worked long days and weeks leading up to and after. The strongest bonds were created as we worked together to create what this building could be with staff culture and guest experiences.
What do you feel are the three most important skills of a venue manager?
A venue manager’s three most important skills are to be a continual learner, a strong communicator, and always have passion.
How do you approach being a continual learner?
I love all IAVM events and educational offerings and find them incredibly valuable. I have been to Senior Executive Symposium five times.
Who has had the biggest impact on your life, both professionally and personally?
My children. Everything I do is for them. I try to ensure I am always a good example for them and work hard in my career to ensure they can see how hard work can pay off. I let them see my struggles and successes so they can hopefully learn from my experiences.
What or who was the motivator that made you want to pursue your CVP designation?
I am a lifelong learner and will take any opportunity to improve myself and learn something new. I appreciate the challenge of testing my skills and knowledge. The designation is a great tool to add to your resume to show the level of expertise you have been able to attain. What have you seen as the biggest value for you in attaining your professional designation? The most significant value in receiving this designation is the ability to show that I have invested in my continued professional development.
How did you know you were ready to take this step toward accreditation and what lessons did you learn along the way?
I had my eye on the CVE designation since I joined the association in 2014. To help me earn the required credentials to complete the designation, I finished Venue Management School, attended SES, and joined volunteer committees. The networking and relationships I was able to create with all of the participation in these activities helped me professionally to be more successful. I now have a list of peers to call on regarding any challenge I face in my role. These peers come with combined hundreds of years of experience and occasionally margaritas.
Would you recommend it to others and what advice would you give?
I recommend the certification process to everyone and I recommend to people that they read the Public Assembly Venue Management book to brush up on the areas of the business they need to become more familiar with. Networking with others who have received their CVE allows people to ask about the process and get some advice. If you could give three pieces of mentoring advice to our young industry professionals, what would they be? Stand up for yourself/know your worth; surround yourself with people you can learn from; always help to lift others and help them succeed.
What is your favorite item and has the most meaning to you in your office right now?
I have a huge first-place Cheer trophy. Our client gave it to me after executing the National Cheer event in the building. This client holds 17 annual events in buildings across the country and said we earned first place for having the best team/staff in the country. His team looks forward to working with us in our building as we make them feel like we are a part of their team and as invested in their success as they are.
Where is your most memorable vacation spot?
Last year I visited Scotland and visited my best friend from high school. It was the best time to catch up and see her again after so many years. She lives in a beautiful little town on the coast of the North Sea. We paddle-boarded in the sea which was so fun and checked off a bucket list item for myself that I didn’t know I had.
What are your three most favorite apps on your smartphone?
My three favourite apps on my phone are Apple music (I always have my music playing), WhatsApp (because of the family chat we have set up there – I love staying so close and connected to my entire family), and the Health app (I am continuously checking my step count, sleep, and heart rate – weird little obsession).
Who are the three people you would invite to dinner and why?
Non-living – I would invite my father and grandmother. I have so many questions I wish I had asked while they were alive. And lastly, a younger version of myself! Cameron McGill, CVE, is a Retired IAVM member residing in Vancouver, British Columbia. He stays busy as a member of the IAVM Certification Board.