I was not supposed to be in the hospitality industry. In fact, I basically tripped and fell into it, graduating during the recession with a marketing degree and happy just to be considered for any job. I thought working for an event company sounded fun, so I gave it a shot. My first week was to assist with an annual celebration in Houston that lasted over ten days and involved a gala dinner, energy conference, silent and live auction, and wine pairing dinner….just to name a few. I was exposed to A/V requirements, table décor, seating charts, invitation design, large scale printing, auction setup, speaker needs, VIP transportation, volunteer management, and the list goes on and on. My first thought was, “Wow! I had absolutely no idea that there are so many moving parts involved putting on an event” and my second thought was, “I can’t wait to get started!”
Jump forward to September 2012 when I joined the AlliedPRA family and
first heard about the Destination Management Certified Professional (DMCP) designation. Coming from a family where practically everyone has letters after their name, I was determined to have my own. Before knowing what DMCP stood for, it became my goal to earn it. The first hurdle was to collect the minimum number of points to apply–90 to be exact (but who’s counting). To earn points, you have to be active in the DMC world through continuing education– attending AMDEI and other conferences, operating programs, and gaining the necessary hours working in the DMC industry. The DMCP designation demonstrates the highest level of knowledge and commitment to the destination management profession. After submitting the application you must pass an exam that covers the body of knowledge of all aspects of destination management. My application stayed saved on my computer, getting updated each time I gained another point or two.
The second hurdle came when it was time to apply and collect the necessary documents.
- Enough points? Been tracking those for years!
- Letter of recommendation from a supplier and from a client? Sure, no problem.
- Three different references? Easy enough.
- 150 word essay about why the DMCP is important to you? Well, just a minute. How can I put into words, 150 words at that, the value of this certification? I had been after this designation without really understanding why I wanted it. What was I hoping to gain?
Fast forward to May 2016 and I am now Sarah Howard, DMCP. I had spent the better part of three years preparing for this major goal. Now that I have achieved this, what do I do? What comes next? I honestly don’t know; but through the DMCP designation and the education that lead up to the test, I am able to better service my clients and exceed their expectations. I am exposed to leaders and pioneers within the industry, which opens up resources and networking opportunities to further my career. Because of the DMCP, I will continue to grow in my chosen (although a little bit by accident) profession.
At AlliedPRA, our mission is to redefine destination management. Now that I’m armed with my DMCP and network of experts, I find myself again thinking “I can’t wait to get started!”