The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence has added industry veteran Tahira Endean, CMP, DES, CED, to its management team as head of events. Most recently Endean served as event producer for the #BCTECH Summit and has recently published her first book, Intentional Event Design: Our Professional Opportunity. We caught up with Endean to ask her about her new role on the incentive side of the meetings industry.
MeetingsNet: What educational topics do you expect to be most in demand for incentive travel executives in the coming year?
Tahira Endean: They want education on “why incentive travel works” and “how to sell incentive travel” (internally for corporate planners) as well as trends impacting incentive travel—ranging from program design to hot destinations to gifting that wows.
For our conferences and summits, the programming will continue to build on an experience-design and cultural-immersion model, where the learning is very interactive and provides tools that can be taken right back into their own programs. Topics that allow incentive professionals to show the value of the investment to their sales, executive, and HR teams will continue. We will leave room for hot topics—for example, this year’s global conference looks at tools like blockchain—and to serve our participants, we need to be able to respond with education that is “in the moment,”’ including learnings from tools like the Incentive Travel Industry Index.
SITE has strong certification programs (CIS, CITP, and, coming, CITE) specific to the skills needed to deliver high-quality incentive programs. As we continue, the coursework and exam process will bring a new level of professionalism, which I am excited to see.
MeetingsNet: Two years from now, what do you expect to be the biggest change we’ll see in SITE’s meetings and events?
Endean: Continued “leveling up” and pushing the boundaries, creating even more memorable, transformative experiences by working with our amazing partners around the globe and across the spectrum of events to deliver creative experiences that immerse participants in environments full of ideas they can take away and apply. The core elements of applied technology, wellness, sustainability, five-senses environment design, and legacy building will be areas we will strive to model in meaningful ways while truly showing the power of incentive travel as a tool to build a corporate culture.
We have an amazing SITE Young Leaders program, which many people think is for students, but the reality is different. It’s for professionals under 35 years old with less than five years of experience in incentives. Having this program understood for what it is and the power it has to provide a trajectory for our next generation of leaders is something I am really excited about. Two years from now, this should be the hottest ticket for those in this sector who are hungry to succeed.
MeetingsNet: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
Endean: Let’s see… I can cover a lot of time zones without a lot of jet lag (usually!). I don’t like mashed potatoes, even though everyone else likes them. I can leg press 360 pounds and love spin classes—#strongbutfluffy is my personal mantra. I am very lucky to have been with my husband for almost 30 years and have launched two lovely young adults into the world!