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: Shannon Valeriote
Inducted in: 2019
Category: Industry Mentor
Currently Shannon is working towards her Masters of Arts in Teaching and taking a break from the meetings and events industry. Prior to this, she was the account director at Niagara Falls Business Events and the Scotiabank Convention Centre.
CMEExpo: Tell us a little bit about your journey into meetings and events and how long you were in the industry.
SV: I was on the supplier side. So I did close to 20 years and I represented destinations and resorts. My last role was Niagara Falls Business Events and the Scotiabank Convention Centre. I was there for nine and half years.
I got interested in meetings and events because of the people and because of the relationships I formed. When I first started, I was doing conferences at Queen’s Landing. I was an event manager there. And I got to see all the relationships that I could develop and the economics of things. It was fascinating to me that you start a relationship with two pieces of paper and a contract. And then you got to create something that lasts many days. And by the time you were done your file, you’d go from two pages to 45 or 50 or 60 and you got to create this incredible experience together all from just a contract.
CMEExpo: What was your favourite part of the industry?
SV: The people were the best part of the industry. I got to meet people from so many different industries and so many associations and I really got to get to know them. Nowhere else do you get that window. The meetings and events industry is filled with so many unique people. One minute I could be talking to a banker, and the next minute insurance, and so on.
CMEExpo: You were inducted as the industry mentor; can you tell us what that means to you?
SV: It was honestly just the most incredible honour. Part of what I loved to do is to teach and I spent close to 15 years working on the CMP program. So I was immensely grateful. It meant the world to me.
The CMP also means so much to me because it’s giving our industry recognition. Just those three letters mean that someone has worked hard and earned that title.
CMEExpo: Can you recall a favourite event you were a part of or a favourite memory from your time in the industry?
SV: What I liked was watching the ways corporations found to give back. And they each did it in their own special and unique way. Not only did they give back to the communities, but they gave back to their employees and showed them appreciation, and to me, that was super cool to watch.
CMEExpo: Tell us about your life now, now that you have left the events industry.
SV: So right now, my family and I have relocated to Michigan. My family comes first and the move was due to my husband transferring with work. One of us needed to take a step back and have a bit more time with the family. So right now, it’s me who has to have hours that are more regular to be able to parent. Right now I’m substitute teaching middle school and working to complete my Masters of Arts in Teaching.
My masters will allow me to teach in a classroom, or teach at the college level, or go back into the corporate and events works and perhaps work on education programming. So this choice was the best for me and my family, and in two years I can make that choice on where I go next.