For more than 30 years, DMAI's Membership Shirtsleeves has helped build stronger relationships among top membership professionals. Sharen Piper, Director of Partnership Sales & Events for the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitor's Bureau shares how her experience at DMAI's Membership Shirtsleeves helped her organization in its efforts to create a new partnership structure.
Why do you feel you get out of the membership shirtsleeves, both personally and professionally?
I have attended two membership shirtsleeves conferences so far and Toronto will be my 3rd. I also just celebrated my 3rd anniversary here at the CVB. The reason for including that information is because my first shirtsleeves was held just under two months of my start date as the membership Sales & Events Manager and the only membership staff member at the time. Shirtsleeves has been instrumental both personally and professionally to me. It has helped to open my eyes as I continually learn from other destinations by their best practices and examples of successes and challenges. It was a huge help to me as I discovered that Colorado Springs experiences many of the same opportunities and difficulties as many of the other destinations whether of similar size or not. I continue to enjoy meeting & getting to know my shirtsleeves colleagues. It is comforting to know that you can reach out through email exchanges and forums for fresh insight, ideas and experiences at the touch of a button.
Why do you feel that professional development opportunities like this are important?
The Colorado Springs CVB has undertaken and accomplished the shift from membership to partnership successfully this past year. Like many other DMO’s, we considered and investigated the possibility of change while educating ourselves to the pros and cons. Membership Shirtsleeves has proven to be a valued resource that is ongoing throughout the year not just during the week of the conference. With input and suggestions, education and implantation we accomplished our goal to create a hybrid partnership structure that truly lets the visitor’s win! Thanks for your help shirtsleeves colleagues!
Do you feel like this professional development opportunity is a worthwhile investment?
Absolutely! With no other official training of its’ kind available to membership/partnership DMO personnel to my knowledge, DMAI membership shirtsleeves is informative, inspiring, collaborative and invigorating. I return each year from the conference with my mind whirling with ideas and renewed energy and focus. It’s like climbing a fourteener (14,000 foot mountain) all year long and attending shirtsleeves is like reaching the summit!! Then you start planning your next climb all over again.
Would you recommend the membership shirtsleeves to your colleagues, and why?
Yes. It takes a village. You are not in this alone. One of the best things about membership shirtsleeves is that as DMO’s we don’t compete against each other. Even though every destination is unique, we all strive to help our communities thrive by promoting and showcasing it to our visitor’s. We help our businesses succeed. Once you attend a membership shirtsleeves conference you won’t want to miss out again. Your action plans will never be the same!