40 Under 40: Deidre Wetelainen

Deidre Wetelainen Connect Association 40 Under 40

Deidre Wetelainen, 39, works in Rochester, New York, as vice president of convention sales and services at Visit Rochester. As a 2017 40 Under 40 honoree, Wetelainen discusses her passion for the events industry.

*Connect with Wetelainen on Twitter and Instagram. What I do: I motivate, advise and provide leadership to a team of 10 sales and service managers. Convention business is extremely important to our hotel and tourism partners, and my day-to-day focus is to ensure collaboration between my sales team and our partners to provide the best customer experience for meeting planners. How I got here: Prior to this role, I led the sales team at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Syracuse, New York, overseeing sales and marketing. Before that, I spent 10 years with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts around the county. Originally, from Toronto, I am fortunate my career path has allowed me to live in many beautiful destinations, from San Francisco to Miami to Washington, D.C. My greatest career accomplishment: I am most proud of the number of leaders I have fostered throughout my career, empowering my team, always remaining open about our strengths and weaknesses, and sharing ownership of the amazing things we can accomplish together. Impressive stats: Our 2016 strategies resulted in a 33 percent increase in RFPs and a 104 percent increase in awarded room nights to Rochester. A specific improvement I’ve made: I have re-evaluated our entire approach, from adding aggressive sales techniques to refreshing selling strategies, and revamped the meeting planner experience from site inspections to the preconference meeting experience. Working closely with our partners, we create experiences for attendees that speak to the characteristics of our region and highlight some of the most fun and creative ways to explore Rochester. What I’m working on: In the coming year, we continue to pursue new avenues for bringing different types of meeting business to Rochester. My meeting sales team will hit the road at various points over the year to introduce meeting planners on a national stage to Rochester. We also have several prominent groups visiting Rochester in 2017 for meetings and conventions, including the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and SPIE Optifab. What I do outside of work: I take advantage of my time with my daughter—we like to discover together one new local destination each week. I also nurture a small addiction to reality TV, from the “Housewives” series to “Marriage Boot Camp.”