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SITE + MPI Global Forum: 5 Questions with Didier Scaillet

Didier Scaillet

Didier Scaillet has been named the chief excellence officer (CEO) for the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) and the SITE Foundation, replacing Kevin Hinton, who announced he would be leaving the organization in late January. A MICE industry veteran, Scaillet started his career working for one of the first association management companies in Europe. He held various roles for nearly 20 years with Meeting Professionals International (MPI) as director of European operations, vice president of global development and chief development officer for MPI and the MPI Foundation. Most recently, the native of Belgium was vice president, business development for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

What attracted you to the CEO role at SITE?
I have known SITE for many years and always been impressed by the caliber of passionate leaders it attracted. The opportunity to serve a vibrant and dedicated community was just very attractive and motivating.

What do you see as your biggest challenge and what has been the biggest challenge of your career?
• Amplifying the voice of incentive travel within the corporate world.
• Resistance to change.
What has been the highlight of your career?
There have actually been so many, all related to the transformations that I have seen when people get involved in professional societies. I have seen people grow professionally, change personally, make new friends... in other words being transformed by their involvement. I even have three of my former team members married with people they met in the industry!

What do you like to do when you’re away from work?
Cooking. There are few things that relax me more than cutting veggies, believe it or not. Then, of course, traveling, even if I have already done enough professionally. I just love other places and cultures.

What is the best advice someone gave you?
There are actually two:
• When leading teams or organizations, focus on the things that you can uniquely do. Empower your teams to do the rest.
• People you meet on the way up, you will meet them on the way down. Respect is the greatest currency.

About the Author

Rich Luna

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