SITE Young Leaders Share Plans to Accelerate the Program
This year’s SITE Young Leaders Program Committee is the most diverse yet, comprised of young professionals from across the globe representing a variety of industry disciplines. Daniel Polulak, Marketing Manager for Miami Air International, Miami, Florida and Nitin Sachdeva, Executive Director for Venture Marketing, New Delhi, India are serving as Committee Co-chairs. In a recent conversation they shared how involvement in SITE has impacted their careers and what SITE Young Leaders have in store to accelerate the program in 2018.
After earning a degree in Resort and Hospitality Management at Florida Gulf Coast University, in 2011 Daniel Polulak joined Miami Air International as an Account Executive. Four years later he was promoted to Sales and Marketing Manager where he specializes in business development and large group charter operations with a strong focus on the Meetings and Incentives, Professional Sports and Tour Operator segments. He has been actively involved in SITE since 2015 and has served on the Young Leaders Committee as Communications and Education Events Chair, as well as being the Young Leader Liaison on the SITE Florida & Caribbean chapter board.
“When I started at Miami Air a former colleague Karen Farquarson, a SITE Florida & Caribbean board member, suggested I get involved with the chapter to help expand my incentive industry knowledge and connections.” He attended his first IMEX and SITE Young Leaders Conference in 2015 and quickly realized that this was a group he wanted to be a part of.
“I attribute a lot of my involvement to Shannon Gehringer and Paola Quintero, who encouraged me to join Young Leaders, and Jorge Cologna, Past President of the SITE Florida & Caribbean chapter who has been a valuable mentor. The learning and networking opportunities have helped me build my knowledge and confidence to pursue new business opportunities. Although not everyone you meet will bring you business, through SITE I have built-up life-long personal and professional connections that may refer business or help me close a deal.”
With a Bachelors Degree in Commerce from Delhi University, Nitin Sachdeva began his career in the travel industry in 2003 working in various capacities: travel technology, tour operator and tourism marketing. In 2012 he started Venture Marketing, a Tourism Marketing, Development and Representation Company, and has been instrumental in setting up launch strategies for clients to enter the market successfully and achieve business growth. In addition to SITE, he is also a member of Destinations International and serves on the Global Development Committee.
“When I first started Venture Marketing I aimed to learn about the meetings and incentives industry in different parts of the world so that I could help my clients (convention bureaus and destination marketing organizations) grow their business in these sectors. In India, incentive travel was at a very nascent stage, so I was specifically looking for an organization that could help me expand my incentive travel knowledge and connections. Of all the industry associations, SITE was the best fit.”
Nitin joined SITE in 2014 and was on the organizing committee for the 2015 SITE Global Conference in India. After attending his first Young Leaders Conference in 2016, he became actively involved with the program serving on the Membership and Chapter Support committees. “Melaya Horsten and Jake Megrikian greatly influenced my involvement in Young Leaders. Also, Aoife Delaney, who spoke at the 2016 conference, and Eda Ozden, have become great personal friends and mentors.”
He attributes his association with SITE to his business success. “Wearing the SITE badge has opened many doors. When I meet other SITE members at industry events, they greet me like I am part of their family. They are always willing to talk, share ideas and offer references.”
Dan and Nitin are very excited about the Young Leaders' plans to grow the program globally. Some of the strategies include:
- Building on the success and momentum of last year’s Young Leaders Conference, up the game and open registration early so that more young leaders from around the world will get involved.
- Growing the Young Leaders program in all SITE chapters, specifically Asia and Latin America
- Providing support to chapters by sharing best practices from chapters that have been successful in growing their programs such as SITE SoCal, SITE Northeast USA, SITE Spain and SITE Ireland.
- Bringing in new program sponsors/brands that appeal to the Millennial generation
- Developing new partnerships outside of SITE, such as the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Program.
- Creating outreach plans to connect with hospitality and tourism students - the next generation of Young Leaders.
The SITE Young Leaders Program builds the next generation of incentive travel leaders by providing education and networking opportunities appealing directly to SITE members who are new to the industry. The mission of SITE Young Leaders is to create a strong group of individuals who will become leaders in SITE, their local SITE Chapter and the greater incentive travel industry. SITE members who are industry professionals aged 35 or younger, or have less than 5 years of experience, are encouraged to participate. To learn more email Maggie Vaulmann at SITE@SITEglobal.com.