Story by LEILA BOTHAM
A talented Gen Y in the ITB Asia team speaks of her desire to see more certification to increase the perceived value of an events career.
As assistant project manager, Doreen Soh is an integral part of the Messe Berlin team overseeing one of the most important events on the Asian travel market calendar – ITB Asia. Having worked closely with her mentor, founder of ITB Asia, Ng Whey Whey, for the past two years, she is a prime example of the talented Gen Y demographic in the industry.
Ms Soh took some time out from her busy schedule to share her thoughts about Gen Y, the industry and her future.
What attracted you to a career in the events industry?
I have always felt that the events industry is where I can start a career that is exciting and allows me to meet different people. No matter what type of event or exhibition you do, you will get to meet people from all areas. Most importantly, I enjoy working as a team, and in events / exhibitions, it is all about teamwork and effort!
Was there a moment when you knew that this is the work you wanted to do?
During my first show in ITB Asia 2011, I felt a huge sense of satisfaction and an adrenalin rush when I saw the booths being constructed during the build-up day, and the show floor was really packed! That was the moment when I was certain that this was the career I wanted.
What do you think Gen Y uniquely contribute to your workplace, projects and the industry?
With most of Gen Y having just stepped into the working world, they have a fresh perspective that allows new and innovative ideas or suggestions to be introduced to our show. Their passion for the industry and the drive to overcome challenges are important in events and exhibitions; where workload can get quite demanding, especially during peak periods where working hours are much longer.
Do you feel that Gen Y faces certain challenges in the industry that others do not?
Unlike other sectors such as accounting or banking and finance, professional certifications for the events and exhibitions industry are not prevalent. Some parents may not be supportive of their children who express interest in this path as they see careers in this industry as humble and not worthy of degree holders. It would be good to see the relevant government authorities promote professional certifications for the industry to increase the perceived value of a career in events.
What are your personal aspirations for your career?
I am currently in charge of the operations aspect of ITB Asia and I very much enjoy what I am doing so far. However, I look forward to learning and experiencing other aspects of an exhibition (e.g., sales, conferences, etc.), or to be involved in a different show so as to equip myself with a different set of skills.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
There is a lot of potential growth for the Singaporean travel industry that when aided by more support from relevant government authorities, will in turn provide greater cohesiveness amongst trade partners.