Maria (Miek) Arnolda Egberts, owner of InspireME Monte-Carlo, a DMC Network Affiliate, has been literally been around the world within the travel industry, starting with an internship while attending Hotel Management School Maastricht in the Netherlands. “Within the course of study we had a small track on Event Management. During that time there were no real studies to prepare for a career within our industry but I really loved it and found it so appealing that I wanted to learn more about events and applied for an internship with an event agency, DMC-Event Agency Newtours, an established DMC based in Florence, Italy, which is no longer in business.
“In more than 20 years in the business, there are so many memorable incentive trips we organized with real, once in a lifetime experiences. Perhaps one of the most memorable incentive programs was one where we obtained-- as the first DMC--the authorization to organize an aperitif and dinner within the Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence. What an emotional experience for the guests (and for us) to dine right in front of the magnificent David of Michelangelo.“
She joined SITE in 2002, but she had already been involved with SITE, when Giuseppe Lepri of Newtours—also her mentor-- created the SITE Italy Chapter. “Giuseppe organized the SITE University in Florence in the ‘90’s.”
Being a member of SITE brings Miek together with people who have has a passion for the events sector. “These are people who break boundaries, pushing the edge with creativity and once in a life time experiences. It’s a small family, with great people and professionals.”
Prompted by “dear friend” Annamaria Ruffini, past president of SITE, to take the CITP, Miek said she wanted to have official recognition of being a Certified Incentive Travel Professional and recommends all SITE members take the CITP because, she says, “it sets you apart, and will advance you in your career in our industry.”
So how do you prepare for it, we asked? “You don’t prepare”, says Miek, “you simply dig deep into your experience as an incentive travel professional. Actually, all of the answers to the questions are there. CITP is not an exam that you can specifically prepare for. There are no short cuts, Coles Notes or rote learning. In ways you’ve been preparing for CITP all your career!”
We then asked Miek whether it was easy. “No, it’s not easy, nor should it be. To have any validity or credibility it’s got to be challenging. I’d describe the exam as ‘tough but fair’”.