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: Zaman Ishaad
Inducted in: 2019
Category: Rising Star
Currently working as: Conference coordinator at the Academic Internship Council
CMEExpo: Tell us about your journey in event planning. How did you get started in the industry?
ZI: I studied hospitality and tourism at Ryerson University and the dream there was to work in hotels. I really envisioned myself working at a Shangri-La or a Hyatt hotel. Then, while studying, I took a meetings and event management class, which really inspired me to pursue a career in the industry, which I didn’t even realize was a thing. One of my professors mentioned to me that I should join MPI – and that’s when my interest really took off. I was attending so many events, and meeting a lot of mentors who gave me advice on how to get a job and develop in the industry.
It was then I realized I needed was more experience planning events, so I started planning orientation week at Ryerson University for 2,000 students. And that’s when I found a new passion for meetings and event management. After leaving Ryerson, I started my new job at the Academic Internship Council where I now plan international educational conferences for 300 professionals around the world. I’ve been here for two years now and I love it.
CMEExpo: What’s your favourite part of the industry?
ZI: Definitely the people. Everyone in the industry really wants to see you succeed and see you develop professionally. MPI is really where I found my community of people who are committed to what they’re doing, want to do well at their jobs, and want to help others. And it’s really where I find value. The people in this industry give me confidence; they inspire me to tackle new challenges, and be the best professional I can be.
CMEExpo: Do you have a favourite event that you’ve planned so far?
ZI: One of the first events I planned was orientation week at Ryerson. That’s when I realized I loved academic settings and planning events for students. I really enjoyed planning that event because it allowed me to focus on the students and helping them transition to university life as best I could. Planning orientation week is really why I wanted to continue my career in the academic space.
CMEExpo: What does being inducted mean to you?
ZI: As a young professional, it really boosted me in terms of my confidence and gave me some recognition within the industry itself. As you know, it’s such a competitive industry and having that recognition and validation meant so much to me. And I’ve found since I won, there are more people in the industry who know my name, and have reached out and started conversations with me. Being inducted was such a validation of my journey into the industry.
CMEExpo: Were you surprised?
ZI: To be honest..I know the humble thing is to say I was surprised, but I’ve committed to this career and my volunteer experience at MPI, so I knew I had a pretty good chance at being inducted.
CMEExpo: What’s next for you?
ZI: In the near future, I’d like to develop my skills and I’ve also applied for the board of directors at MPI. I see myself getting bigger in a volunteer capacity. In terms of my job, getting a promotion is in the future. I’m happy where things are and I want to continue making an impact on the industry.
CMEExpo: What’s your dream event to plan?
ZI: I’ve always envisioned myself planning a music festival or concert, just because of the excitement of the attendees involved and all the marketing that goes into it. That would be pretty cool!