I was inspired by a post by Lisa Cowley, CEO of Beacon, who penned a moving article entitled “It Is Okay Not to Be Okay.” I recommend you read her moving story and then come back.
Some days, I can relate!
Application for Associations
It’s getting harder and harder to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Prognosticators and industry cheerleaders keep telling us that things will get back to normal…but who can say what normal is? Or if we even want to go back to the way things used to be. This has been an era of intense change and adaptation in our industry. Many of us have learned to be more flexible and innovative. We’re being challenged to produce breakthrough events that deliver both member value and much-needed revenue to our organizations.
My friends, clients and industry suppliers privately share that the pressure on them is enormous! Event teams are in danger of burning out with little lead time for planning virtual meetings, the desire to be nimble and the challenges of creating revenue, relevant content and community. The truth is, many associations that depend on annual meeting and tradeshow revenue are cutting event positions and in some cases entire teams. It is particularly sad to see amazing leaders and staff who were highly valued by their organizations just a year ago being forced out. The long-term implications of eliminating event roles in associations are massive and heartbreaking.
I further suspect that organizational silos have either started to disintegrate or become even more dysfunctional as the stress and pressure mounts. I keep hearing comments like “marketing can’t get anything out,” to “the events team furloughed more team members than other departments,” or “my team is under water.” It is definitely not a fun time for many in the association world right now.
And Our Supplier Partners
Many long-tenured industry business partners have suffered from the lack of business, furloughs and permanent job cuts. The “lucky” ones who still have jobs often have mountains of work to accomplish and nervous clients demanding answers they just don’t have right now. Our industry is hurting on all sides and there is not an immediate end in sight.
We miss live events and want to be part of a revitalized and thriving industry. Between now and then, a lot of really talented people will have changed careers, retired or abdicated and taken jobs for benefits and lower salaries. Will young people see the events industry as full of promise and opportunity some day? I do hope so but it will also look extremely different from how it looked a year ago.
How are you doing? Feeling stressed or feeling fine? Does your organization or boss acknowledge the stress and challenge of working amidst the pandemic? Could they be doing more?