Ushma J. Suvarnakar, MTA, CMP, 34, works in Arlington, Virginia, as director of meetings and conferences at American Anthropological Association. As a 2017 40 Under 40 honoree, Suvarnakar discusses her passion for the events industry.
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What I do: I am responsible for the logistical and strategic planning of the AAA annual meeting, biennial Africa conference series and smaller regional meetings.
How I got here: I introduced myself to my now-predecessor in the position and picked his brain about the opportunity and was able to get my foot in the door with his support. My past positions include meetings manager for the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, meeting planner for the American Chemical Society and meetings associate for the American Institute of Architects.
My greatest career accomplishment: Thus far I would have to say my greatest accomplishment would be planning the inaugural meeting, of what will now be a biennial conference series, in Africa. With no experience planning an international meeting, not even in Canada, this was a huge undertaking. I was incredibly proud of the outcome and learned so much throughout the process.
Impressive stats: In combining the call for papers and mobile application database, I was responsible for a net savings of $22,000 in the first year compared to paying for two vendors. The added benefit was it required only one integration to our association management software.