Thuy Diep: Creating Connections Consciously

Thuy Diep, senior meeting planner at CWT Meetings & Events, is all about pushing the boundaries of designing memorable experiences that alter participant behaviors. She makes the most of her can-do attitude to constantly find ways to create a positive impact on the meetings industry and mentor the next generation.

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Event People Are Special

Diep sees event professionals as a creative group of people, because regardless of their job title, they use creativity to solve problems. Collaboration is the name of the game when it comes to succeeding in the industry. “This industry is built on collaboration—I may be an expert in event planning, yet I don’t have access to chairs, hotel room blocks, or AV equipment. Thus, the importance of trusting and depending on others for expertise is vital,” said Diep.

Ideal Starting Point: How Do You Want Attendees to Feel?

When planning events, Diep always considers first how I want guests to feel. It’s not enough to choose a theme and colors. It’s about the heart of the event – making it a special, enjoyable, and family-friendly experience. Of course, we need to consider the budget and venue as well. However, in her experience, the key should be to focusing on creating an atmosphere that meets the event’s purpose.

Reframing Our Language Changes Our Actions

Creative problem-solving is one way to be creative. Diep intentionaly eliminates certain words from her vocabulary. She replaces “busy” with “productive,” and “problem” with “challenge.” If there is a challenge, that is a good thing because it requires creativity to solve. When faced with low budget, she looks for ways to be functional in design concepts, rather than just accepting the limitations. Work within a diverse, multidisciplinary team also helps face challenges when it comes to experience design.

Planners Need to Be Better Attendees

Diep thinks planners should learn to become attendees. She sees planners as the worst attendees because it’s hard to switch off the planner mind and not critique details like the location of the bar or the positiion of a lavalier mic on a speaker. She believe that to design well, you must experience often. Therefore, she tries to immerse herself often become just an attendee.

Communication and Collaboration Crucial to Avoid Burnout

Event professionals often push themselves beyond their limits, which leads to burnout. Diep reminds industry peers that work is just one of many cups that should be filled. There’s the family cup, the friend cup, the you cup, the self-care cup, the mental health cup, and the physical health cup. All of these come together to help us show up in all aspects of life, including work.

Unfortunately, burnout is a common problem. Diep believes the solution starts with setting healthy boundaries. Earlier in her career, she would often take on too much work. Now she realiezes that she should have asked for help from my leaders. She also recommends always offering to help co-workers, as it helps build a team mentality and not just focus on individual work.

Equally, Diep has found that being part of a work culture that truly values work-life balance is essential to beating burnout. Working too hard should not be a badge of honor. Instead, taking care of ourselves helps us to better serve our goals. Leadership that truly understands and addresses this concept has enabled everyone to make personal and professional progress.