Along with his duties as a sales manager of The US Grant, a Luxury Collection Hotel in San Diego, Brian Griffith has immersed himself in SITE becoming President of The Southern California Chapter, the largest of the association’s 90 chapters worldwide. At age 27, Brian is the youngest President in The Southern California Chapter’s history and says that his great source of pride so far in his career is his involvement with SITE.
“I am extremely proud of SITE and our Southern California Chapter. I am currently serving my 5th year on the Board of Directors and SITE remains my rock in my career. I’m a proud President of SITE SoCal and look forward to setting the chapter up for success for many more years to come,” he says, and adds his goals are simple: “To make SITE the preferred professional association in the incentive travel market. In 2019, we’re going to treat our members, charities and sponsors like clients and ensure that we are delivering on our promises to them: applicable education, top-notch networking and completely customizable sponsorships. With great education you can attract the buyers and when the buyers attend, so will the suppliers. When you have record attendance, sponsors get involved and help bring meaning to the event while driving revenue to your chapter. This is what you call cadence….but it takes a strong board with a will to succeed, thankfully we have just that. Stay tuned.”
Brian says it’s the people in SITE that makes it special. “I have been involved with many other professional organizations but the profile of folks who are involved with SITE are unparalleled. To me, it’s an organization full of professionals that I aspire to become and for that reason, I stay dedicated to SITE. You will get back what you put in and for me it has been very beneficial.”
His love of the meetings and events business may have come from his first director, Carvie Gillikin, with McVeigh Meetings & Events (formerly Fourth Wall Events). “Carvie hired me as an intern in college and helped introduce and guide me through the industry. He kept in touch while I finished my degree in travel and hospitality and then he actually gave me my first job in business development after graduation. I will always be thankful for Carvie’s willingness to mentor me and take a chance on a college kid with no experience. I hope to do the same for someone someday,”
One of his most memorable incentive trips for a client was in 2015 when his team transformed the Hotel Del Coronado’s beach into a Game of Thrones party. “The massive sand sculptures, high flying flags and theme music transformed the beach into something I’ve never experienced. The attention to detail was flawless and the event was very well received and enjoyed,” he says.
Brian is also passionate about health and wellness, which, he says, plays a big factor in his life. “Healthy cooking, exercise and paying attention to your mental health are very important to me. I always put health first which sometimes doesn’t go over well with friends and my career but I’ve found that taking care of yourself first enables you to succeed in all other aspects of life.”
As such, he cherishes his free time cooking, eating at one of his favorite Mexican restaurants in San Diego (with a margarita, natch!), exercising, enjoying the beach and spending time with his dog Lou.
His philosophy is simple: “Don’t take yourself too seriously, because no one else is. We’re not curing diseases and we’re certainly not doctors in this industry and I believe we need to all remember that. The hospitality industry is as fun as it is stressful; you get to choose where your focus goes. Do your best, practice ethics in everything you do, celebrate the win no matter how big or small and remember that we’re lucky to be working in the greatest industry of all.”
Along the lines of not taking himself too seriously, if he could have five dinner guests for one night he’d invite all funny people: Amy Poehler, Will Ferrel, Vince Vaughn, Tina Fey and Melissa McCarthy. Now that’s a dinner that sounds like fun.