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Planner Spotlight Series- Sara J. Stehle, SAME

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October 15, 2021
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This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where HopSkip spotlight's planners across the industry to bring awareness of how they adapted to COVID-19, communicating and lessons learned and sharing how they are viewing the meetings and events industry in a post-pandemic world. 


 

Name: Sara J Stehle

 

Company Name: Society of American Military Engineers

 

Job Title: Senior Manager of Meetings

 

Years of Experience: 10

How were you able to adapt during COVID-19 when the meeting and events industry got disrupted?
 
My experience with COVID-19 was different than many others because I started with SAME the week that most organizations went to a virtual environment. Not only did I have the challenge of learning about virtual events and how that would work best for our organization, but I needed to navigate learning about a new group of coworkers while being completely virtual. Communication was extremely important in which case Microsoft Teams saved a lot of heartache throughout the process. I was also very fortunate that our leadership gave my team a lot of deciding power when it came to our events. We got to make decisions quickly and effectively because they believed we would be able to make good decisions based on our research. That helped to be able to focus on the attendee experience which in turn made our events that much more successful.
 
 
As a planner, what was the number one thing you learned over the past year?
 
I learned that there is a silver lining to everything. 2020 was HARD and there were many hard days. However, I was able to find silver linings throughout the year; having the time to help my son learn how to ride a bike, more engagement from our attendees with each other during sessions, and not getting sick for well over a year now. Though there were things I certainly missed, it was nice to see other things and opportunities come through that might not have in 2020.
 
 
Is there anything you are changing in your planning process moving forward as a result of the pandemic?
 
Yes, we are working on replicating the interactions during our sessions to a live environment. We find that its easier to type out questions than to get up and ask them in a microphone, so we are working to incorporate that into our events now.
 

This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where HopSkip spotlight's planners across the industry to bring awareness of how they adapted to COVID-19, communicating and lessons learned and sharing how they are viewing the meetings and events industry in a post-pandemic world. 

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