Ready for the fresh new face—make that faces—of special events? You'll find them in our cover story, our annual "25 Young Event Pros to Watch" feature.
This article is a joy to put together. I am lucky enough to know many, many talented people in special events. But every time I ask the Special Events Advisory Board to share their ideas on up-and-comers with me, I discover fascinating new people that I just have to learn more about.
Would you like to meet a young man who gave up a law career because the appeal of events was just too strong? (That's Michael Henry.) How about a young woman who can unlock drawing talents you didn't know you had, so that you can dazzle potential clients? (That's Mary Phan.) You will find both of them—and 23 more—starting on page 19.
This issue also brings you the 12th edition of our "25 Big DMCs" list, a Special Events tradition.
DMCs are the troops on the ground, and so their predictions about business are usually on target. The good news from several respondents this year is that 2016 is looking solid, and 2017 is looking great. "We have more business booked for 2017 already on the books than in previous years, which is indicative of a renewed confidence in the economy and overall meeting- industry buy trend," says the team at Advantage Destination and Meetings Services of North Miami Beach, Fla.
Many of the big DMCs on our list share their special competencies, from high-tech registration systems to high-touch insider knowledge of a destination. And a significant number of respondents this year tell Special Events that the most successful DMCs will add an important skill to their tool kit: risk management.
It's poignant that as I write this, the world is mourning the lives lost in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla. Concern for the safety of our guests has always top of mind for event professionals. But fear of attacks is something chillingly new.
This topic is discussed quietly at event confabs; it's rarely in the spotlight. And it's not surprising why that's true. Special events tend to be the inspiration to move us forward, the wind in our sails. Discussing all the frightening things that can go wrong seems antithetical to the enthusiasm that so many of us are trying to generate.
But also as I write, groups in the Orlando area and elsewhere are scheduling special events to honor the lost and create community for those left behind. That's what events do, too. And for that, I am grateful to be part of this business.