I am reading an article in a not-to-be-mentioned magazine (not in the meetings industry) and they have a list of the 25 most influential people in the auto industry. Not sure how I feel about that, are they really the most influential or simply the loudest, most well-known or trendiest. There are persons on the list that I am convinced are experts in the field and do influence trends, thoughts, and the movement of the industry as a whole…….but are they the top 25? I don’t think so, not all of them anyway. Maybe 60% of them should be on the list.
Everyone in any industry is influential in their own way and some of these smaller victories by one unsung hero change entire industries as a whole. These people do not seek to be recognized, nor do they even tell people what they have done because to them it is just love of their job or part of a deeply held conviction that something needs to be changed. These are people that should be on some list but never will be.
Case in point is a planner I know very well who was told that a certain company could not do something that the planner needed (and all planners need) because it was not part of their services, it was not the way it was done and the answer was no. This planner took the reins and started making calls, writing e-mails, and even called the office of the president of this company (I can not say who it is, cause this might cause some flak and I am not sure of all of the rules and such of discussing such matters).
It took her 3 days, 16 HOURS on the phone, 114 e-mails but finally she was able to make her point to the right person at this company and they changed their policy of how they worked with event planning companies. You may never even know who this person is, but if you are involved with the financial end of big programs, she changed the way that you do business (for the better). She changed it in such a way that it was groundbreaking. Only about 5 people know what she did because she does not toot her own horn or think that everyone needs to know. She simply thought it was wrong, and needed to be fixed, and she fixed it.
That year, although you do not know it, she was hands down, the most important cause for change in how the event industry works. In fact, in my opinion, she was the most influential person in the industry that year. She is not on a list, she did not have any articles written about her and she was not on the cover of any magazine.
So, take the lists with a grain of salt. They are simply a great read about great people. I do not wish to make light of the accomplishments of the people who make it onto any list like this. They are talented, important, and have brought about changes in their respective industries. I am just trying to say that they may not be the most influential people.
My hat goes off to all of the unsung heroes in the meeting industry who make our meetings and events seamless.
Originally posted way back in March of 07