A 30-plus year veteran of the meetings and incentive industry, Carolyn Dow has been a member of Site since 1987 serving as Site President in 2001 and a Director for Site Europe from 2006-2009. For much of her career Carolyn was the Head of Sales and Marketing with the Scottish Convention Bureau. In 2004, she set up her own company, The Dow Consultancy in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, offering destination marketing advice and consultancy services for clients in the meetings and incentives market. Site Source asked Carolyn to share some of her experiences gained from her years as a Site Member and President.
Site Source: When did you first learn about and become involved with Site?
Carolyn Dow: I joined Site in 1987, and with a great deal of anticipation and excitement attended the International Conference held in New Orleans in 1987. It was a wonderful experience, but I have to admit I found it very North American, and although I was doing business in the States, I was disappointed that there seemed to be little focus on the international aspect of our industry. However, as luck would have it, my misgivings were soon addressed. A number of us happened to be on the same flight out of New Orleans, and I was sitting near Patrick Delaney who was on the Site Board – now, here was someone I could relate to. He had Convention Bureau background and was a fellow Celt to boot. Patrick was so enthusiastic about Site and shared some of my concerns, but was quick to set my mind at rest and show that Site could also be a force internationally. I was won over, and can truly say that it is with thanks to Patrick that I resolved to get more involved in Site.
Site Source: What are some of your greatest memories of your tenure as Site President?
Carolyn: As Site President in 2001 I was proud to participate in our international events in St Petersburg, Russia, Costa Rica, and Lisbon, Portugal, and to see the local Site communities working so well together to deliver outstanding programmes and hospitality. That same year, however, also saw the despicable acts of 9/11 when the travel industry was changed in one day. Site lost one of its Past Presidents in one of those fateful flights. We all struggled to come to terms with what had happened and Site worked with other industry associations in campaigns to alleviate hardship for our members. Over the years, other challenges have beset us, but we’ve pulled through thanks to a lot of hard work and a total belief in the worth of motivational experiences as a business tool.
Site Source: What do you think has had the single greatest impact on the industry since Site was formed 40 years ago?
Carolyn: Well, communications and technology are barely recognisable now from 40 years ago. The slow telex has become the myriad forms of immediate social media; presentations are no longer solely on flipcharts and overhead projectors but now include interactive sessions, as was demonstrated so successfully at the Site EMEA Forum held in Antwerp Belgium in March 2013. Thankfully what have NOT changed are the creativity, the dedication, and the wish of Site members to produce and deliver outstanding motivational programmes.