“There is something very joyous about working with a can-do team.”
Rebecca Ramsey has more than 20 years of experience in the meetings and convention industry, joining PRG in July 2016. Prior to joining PRG, Rebecca held catering, services and sales positions with Hilton Hotels Corporation in the Washington, DC area and in Charlotte, N.C. In 2005, she joined the Destination Marketing Organization in Charlotte, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority – Visit Charlotte, working with the association market and managing the Bureau Express sales team. Rebecca has also worked as the Director of Sales at the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau.
During the past 15 years, Rebecca has primarily focused on the Washington, DC association market where she has been heavily involved with the Capital Chapter of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), including positions as a Board Director, Membership Committee Chair, Emerging Professionals Committee, and she currently holds the Sponsorship Chair position. Rebecca also serves on the 2017 PCMA Headquarters Membership Committee.
PRG: What inspired you to get into the meeting and convention business?
RAMSEY: It was actually a complete accident. I stumbled into it working as a temp at the front desk of a country club. That part-time job rolled into a full-time job working in the catering office. I loved the people interaction, the organization process of planning an event, and all the different details.
PRG: Why did you decide to make the transition from the hospitality banquet business into selling the equipment, technology and crew to produce world-class corporate events?
RAMSEY: While I was working at the Hilton in Charlotte, which is connected to the convention center, I worked frequently with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority – Visit Charlotte. I made the transition from the hotel to the CVB. I became familiar with PRG and all of the work they were doing with associations and the corporate and events market segment. It became obvious that PRG was helping its clients to produce events that were industry-leading, and that really intrigued me. I heard through the grapevine that Jim Kelley at PRG was looking for a national sales manager in the Washington DC market working with national associations and it really intrigued me. After a series of discussions, and interviews, Jim Kelley offered the job to me and I happily accepted.
PRG: There are dozens of companies that do this type of work, why PRG?
RAMSEY: The transition to PRG was an interesting decision. I was working as the Director of Sales at the Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau and while I really liked the position and the people, I needed something more challenging. I wanted to be involved in more than just selling a destination, I wanted an opportunity to become more involved with clients, helping them resolve challenges, to create spectacular events. The position with PRG, the industry-leader, would allow me to be much more involved with what is happening every step of the way, which would in turn allow me to expand my relationship with my clients.
PRG: What is your favorite thing about your job?
RAMSEY: I’m really not a technical person, but the PRG project managers and directors really help to explain the vast array of technologies that are available at PRG, and how they can help clients meet and exceed their expectations. I really enjoy collaborating with everyone in every department, and my clients reap the benefits as a result. There is something very joyous about working with a can-do team.
PRG: You just won a very prestigious nomination from the Capital Chapter of PCMA. Can you tell us a bit about that and how it makes you feel?
RAMSEY: Every PCMA chapter submits a name to the national organization for outstanding contribution to the profession. When the Capital Chapter had its year-end event, I was nominated. It’s quite an honor considering that the Capital Chapter is the largest chapter in the country, and that Washington DC is the hub of the association business.
The nomination definitely makes me feel a little conflicted. I love being recognized for the work I’ve done over the years to help the chapter be as successful as possible, but the chapter has also made a monumental contribution to my career by helping me to build a very large professional network.
PRG: The president of the Capital Chapter said something really nice about you, how does this make you feel:
“Rebecca has been a Chapter volunteer since 2006 and has served on the board of directors including the role of Sponsorship chair for the last three years. Through Rebecca’s dedication, hard work and leadership, the Chapter has not only met its sponsorship needs but has exceeded them. We are so lucky to have dedicated members like Rebecca who volunteer their precious time to enable our success,” said Diane Kovats, President of The Capital Chapter of the Professional Convention Management Association.
RAMSEY: It’s an incredible honor.
PRG: What do you think the “Next Big Thing” will be for meetings and conventions and how will PRG address that?
RAMSEY: I think every organization is trying to figure out a way to increase engagement from membership at their meetings and conventions. Things like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, Digital Polling, Second Screen Enhancements, Experiential Learning, anything that gets people involved and engaged are among the next big things for sure.
The really great thing about PRG is that it is set-up to accommodate all of these technologies. It enables us to learn more about the needs of our clients, to identity unique ways to resolve their challenges, to increase member engagement, and to provide our clients with end-to- end solutions.
PRG: What’s the Next Big Thing for You?
RAMSEY: I really enjoy this side of the business. I was recently promoted to be the Vice President of Association Sales at PRG and I’m making the transition quickly. The position really suits me because it is challenging, allows me to work closely with clients and the entire PRG team. That is the next big thing that has all of my attention.