Katrin Naumann is the President of the Site Spain Chapter and is Partner-Managing Director of Another Konzept, a 20-year old Destination & Event Management Company located in Barcelona, Spain that specializes in Incentives, Meetings and Events.
Site: Why did you decide to pursue a career in the meetings and incentive industry?
Katrin: I was born and raised in Germany and was lucky enough to be able to learn five languages in school. When I started University I did not want to study anything related to foreign languages nor travel, which were by then my hobbies and inspirations. The Sciences field had always attracted me and I decided that I wanted to be an Engineer but while working as a student at Munich airport quickly figured out that everything related to the travel industry motivated me more than anything else. The great gift of being able to speak so many different languages opened my eyes and I could clearly see myself helping people from all over the world to connect, meet and interact.
I switched careers and completed my degree in Hotel Management before moving to Barcelona in 1989, just in time to experience the transformation of the city prior to the ’92 Olympics. My first work placements were in hotels, however I was very keen to learn more about event management and planning and joined one of the best PCO’s in Barcelona. Our team was in charge of the first European Cardiology Congress to take place in Spain and I still remember the great time and crazy working hours with such a wonderful team. At that time we did not even have cell phones, but we were able to deliver a successful congress for more than 20,000 attendees, which may sound unbelievable but yes, it worked.
Site: Site appreciates that being a Chapter Leader is a volunteer position and requires a significant time commitment. What/who motivated you to assume a Site Chapter Leader position?
Katrin: When I joined Site back in1996 it was always my goal to participate and get actively engaged in our chapter’s life. It was not until early 2004, when we started to work on the 2006 Site Global Conference taking place in Barcelona, that I really engaged on a higher level. We had to build the Site Spain Chapter from scratch. At the time our Chapter President Airy Garrigosa, the former director of the Barcelona Convention Bureau, encouraged me to join the board and become the chapter’s VP of Education. This was a task I committed to and fulfilled until Airy retired in 2013 and I became our chapter’s president. Working globally and being connected 24/7 does not make our lives easier. To be an active volunteer is not easy, as you have to find the “extra” time that does not exist. “No surrender” is one of my favorite expressions that keeps me going, and “attitude is everything” may probably best define my philosophy.
Site: When recruiting new members, what do you tell them are the greatest personal and professional benefits of being a member of Site?
Katrin: Throughout all my years as a Site member I have been able to recruit many new members for our chapter. As an active member who believes strongly in the benefits of Site it has been very easy to explain why someone should join our community. It is as simple as signing up for the gym and starting to exercise. Sign up, get engaged, attend our chapter events, try to attend international events and build your own network, and you will then quickly figure out what Site is about. Site is different from any other industry associations. Education is always on the cutting edge, members are well connected internationally and the community is not too big to easily exchange knowledge, share challenges and get professional insight from people all over the globe. After attending several international events you will for sure be able to build a great network.
Site: What are some of the educational activities and events Site Spain has planned for 2014 to engage current and prospective members?
Katrin: 2014 will be packed with Education and Networking. We are also re-launching our website which will be online in Q2 of 2014. We are planning a great Young Leader Event for the end of April in addition to several activities in Barcelona and Madrid throughout the whole year. And, as always, we are taking care of our Charity Project, the Casal dels Infants del Raval by organizing two events in Barcelona: our summer charity together with a powerwalk where we collect material for the summer camps of the Casal and our Christmas charity where we collect gifts for the kids. We also hope to be able to re-launch our Chapter retreat, a 2-day fly or drive away to an emerging destination for international business in our country.
Site Spain is part of a forum of the top seven industry associations (Site, ICCA, MPI, OPC, SPAIN DMC, Association of Congress Palaces, Association of Exhibition Centers) and our main goal is to build a lobby and interact with government, authorities and major opinion leaders in order to gain respect and a better understanding of our industry and the economical impact for our country.
Site: What are some of the key opportunities/issues/challenges that are positively or negatively impacting the incentive travel and motivational events industry in your region?
Katrin: Spain is always on the radar for international clients, not only because of the climate. Clients are seeking great opportunities and good value for their money and Spain can offer competitive rates for international events. You only have to look at the statistics - Spain is the third most visited destination in the World in 2013 as per the World Tourism Organization. The Spanish culture and gastronomy, the architecture and lifestyle as well as excellent worldwide airlifts have made our major cities, Barcelona and Madrid, top destinations for the MICE industry. Unfortunately this is not the case for other beautiful destinations like Sevilla or Valencia with smaller airports. We hope that there will be awareness in the airline industry to help us better sell these cities as they are a great alternative especially for so many clients who come back to our country for the second or third time with their incentives or events.