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IMEX America 2017: 5 Questions with Stephanie Campos

Stephanie Campos

The road to a career in the meeting and event industry has not been an easy one for Stephanie Campos. It has, though, been rewarding.

Faced with the political and economic uncertainty in her home county of Venezuela, Campos knew she had to move if she was going to succeed and made the decision to leave her home in Caracas and move to Dallas, where her only brother lived.

She found a career mentor who convinced her to pursue her dream of becoming a meeting planner.

“I met M.T. Hickman and my life changed,” Campos said. “She saw the potential in me.”

Hickman, CMP, has served as lead faculty and curriculum chair over the Richland College Travel, Exposition and Meeting Management (TEMM) program for more than 15 years. The industry veteran received the Planner of the Year award in 1999 from Meeting Professionals International’s Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter.

Campos had already had a taste of the industry through her first mentor, her mother, who operated a travel agency in Venezuela. Campos helped in the office and when her mother died, she continued to run the business.

After moving to Dallas, she enrolled in Richland College and became involved in the TEMM program. She’s a student member of MPI and has been actively involved in planning events, such as the TEMM Scholarship Luncheon and Silent Auction, a fundraising event put on by students to support students.

She interned for the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) in 2016, and attended the Expo Expo conference. She also attended IMEX America’s Future Leaders Forum in 2016.

She’s back this year at IMEX America, participating in the program again and assisting Hickman, who is a program instructor.

“There is so much energy here,” Campos said. “A lot of people in this business are extroverts. I’m a little bit introvert, but the amazing thing is that so many people are so willing to help.”

What was your first career choice?
I thought I would go into business management. I like languages and wanted to see what I could do with that. But with everything going on [in Venezuela], it was not practical.

What is your biggest personal challenge right now?
Figuring out where I will be over the next couple of years. My priority is finding an opportunity that will allow me to go abroad. I recently got married, but my husband lives in England. I don’t get to see him very much, it’s very expensive to go there. Eventually I want to move to England. That’s why I hope associations like IAEE and MPI will come handy when I start job hunting, because they represent a resource for me to go and knock on many doors until I get someone willing to give me a chance. My husband is willing to relocate, but ideally, I would like an opportunity in the UK or EU though. 

What are you most passionate about outside of your career and the meeting industry?
I like social media and like experimenting on different platforms. I like digital marketing. I also like photography and traveling. 

What’s the best challenge facing the industry?
Technology. Everyone says it’s the baby boomers who sometimes struggle with technology, but young people do, too. There’s a lot to keep up with.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in meetings and events?
It’s all about relationships, not just networking and getting business cards. You have to make people feel like they know you so they’ll remember you. You can’t be intimidated.

About the Author

Rich Luna

Rich Luna is director of publishing for MPI and editor in chief of The Meeting Professional.