Ogechi Anyanwu, 36, works in Arlington, Virginia, as manager of events at Telecommunication Industry Association. As a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree, Anyanwu discusses her passion for the events industry.
What I do: I plan, contract, design and execute all TIA events and meetings.
How I got here: My mother was director of tourism for St. Martin for 15 years, and I never thought that I would be in the hospitality industry, despite everyone around believing the contrary. I studied international law in Paris, moved to D.C. where I worked in the Department of Justice. It is only when I created my event in St. Martin, SXM’s Girls Night Out, that I realized that I could not run from the hospitality industry and embraced my passion for the meetings and events industry. Since then, I have gone from meeting associate to manager of events in four years.
My greatest career accomplishment: My greatest career accomplishment to date will be my annual women’s event in the Caribbean. I grew the attendance from 350 to 1,500 in three years with a staff comprised of volunteers. My second would be saving TIA more than $100,000 in two years.
Impressive stats or numbers I’m responsible for: I am known for my negotiation skills, which has saved TIA more than $100,000 in the time that I have been with them. I have decreased its spend by, at least, 15 percent per meeting by taking a creative look at their meeting requirements versus concessions.
A specific improvement I’ve made to my organization’s meetings program: I implemented a new streamlined event process at TIA, creating a new event experience that has had resounding success with our members. I also implemented a new registration platform.
What are you working on right now that you’re excited about? We are creating a new annual event, in the form of a summit, which will be the Standard department’s largest event to date. We are taking a look at virtual events, which will be new for me and something that I am very excited about.
What I do outside of work: In my free time, I have one of the largest events of its kind in its region, SXM’s Girls Night Out, held in St. Martin/St. Maarten. I grew the attendance from 350 to 1750 in six years.
Favorite vacation destination: St. Martin; Bali; Maldives; wherever there is crystal-clear water.
Favorite icebreaker line: If you can go on an all-expenses-paid vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Travel hack: I always have a large pouch with all of my necessary items (toiletries, change of clothes, medicine, etc.) in my carry-on, just in case my luggage is lost.