In order to get to know our Hall of Famers better, CMEExpo will be interviewing inductees one by one after their induction. These interviews have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Name: Alissa Hurley
Inducted in: 2019
Category: Industry Innovator
Currently working as: VP of marketing, FMAV
CMEExpo: Tell us a little bit about your journey into planning and how long you’ve been in the industry.
AH: I’ve been in the industry for more than 25 years. My journey started when I was working for a market research company that shared an office with a company that planned technology events. The company that planned technology events eventually needed someone to help with a conference. So, I volunteered and the next thing I knew I was the conference coordinator for a major tech conference. From there, I became a corporate planner, an independent planner, a third-party planner, and I also worked for an event tech company, and now I work in A/V.
CMEExpo: What’s your favourite part of the industry?
AH: I love the ability the people in the industry have to be creative and create amazing experiences.
CMEExpo: You were inducted as the industry innovator; can you tell us about how you’re innovator?
AH: I don’t really see myself as an innovator, rather someone who is just curious to try new things; I always want to learn to new things and see what’s new and try it.
CMEExpo: What did being inducted mean to you?
AH: It meant an extraordinary achievement. It meant some form of recognition for the things I’ve tried to do in the industry in terms of trying to be different and trying to have an impact. And I think probably, the most meaningful thing for me was the nomination from someone whom I really respect and admire, Tahira.
CMEExpo: Do you have a favourite event that you’ve planned or been a part of?
AH: I guess the one I just left. I just moved back yesterday from an event in Arizona which was a global leadership event. There, we applied the event canvas methodology to redesign the meeting and it was a huge change for the organization and it really took everyone by surprise.
The event was turned upside down, and at the end of it, 20+ year veterans were saying it was the best thing they’ve ever attended. That’s my current favourite because of the dramatic effect that it had on the attendees and the ability to completely change an experience. People come to expect certain things and often it’s hard for people to embrace change, but the fact that they not only embraced the change but enjoyed it, makes it my favourite event right now.
CMEExpo: What’s a dream event that you would love to plan or be a part of?
AH: I do have a dream to go to Burning Man and be involved in that in some capacity…maybe more as an attendee. South by Southwest is another dream event I would love to work on.
CMEExpo: What’s next for you?
AH: Right now, I’m just looking forward to continuing to evangelize the event canvas methodology and get more and more people utilizing it to effect behaviour change within events.