Sepideh Eivazi moved to the United States from Iran in 2006—to Las Vegas of all places—and discovered her passion for the travel and hospitality industry.
It begins at the Bellagio—as many good stories do. That is where Eivazi held a convention services role from 2010 to 2015 and was selected as the Bellagio Employee of the Month and Employee of the Year finalist, and she received multiple Bellagio Diamond Awards from her VIP clients. She was also selected to join the Executive Mentoring program, which allowed her to expand and develop her hospitality experience within MGM Resorts. In 2015, Eivazi joined the MGM Grand team as an executive meeting manager and promoted to a convention sales manager. Her tenacity and verve were rewarded again when she received the MGM Grand 100 Club award in 2015 and President’s Club award in 2017.
She soon joined Elevated Meeting Solutions in January 2019. In her current role, Eivazi designs and creates high-impact, results-driven meetings and events experiences. She talked to Connect about career and what her future looks like in the industry.
How did you get into the meeting planning industry and what about the industry keeps you engaged and committed?
My fascination with the hospitality industry started from my childhood. When I traveled with my parents, I was always in awe of airports, flight attendants, airplanes, unique destinations. There was something about the experience that always touched me. The first time I walked into Bellagio, I felt the same feeling I had in my childhood and I knew immediately I would be working in that hotel one day.
I started learning the convention industry as an assistant to the Executive Director of Convention Services Timothy Glanzer at the Bellagio, who I am fortunate to work with every day at Elevated Meeting Solutions. I was attending business school at the time and had an endless passion and eagerness to learn. My goal was to expand in the hospitality industry and shortly after, I was promoted to convention services manager and worked on many VIP accounts. Bellagio is a unique hotel that had a huge impact on my early awareness of this industry and would contribute greatly to my interest in building a career in meetings and events.
I would eventually decide to explore the sales side and had the opportunity to work at the MGM Grand. I feel having talents in both sales and operations have added value to my services to my clients as I understand all sides of the event from start to finish.
As director of global accounts, how do you stay informed about international meeting trends and what international meeting destinations are on the rise?
I come from an international background and traveled to many destinations throughout my life. Traveling is in my DNA and I believe that traveling is not a luxury anymore, but a lifestyle. We have become more global and connected than ever and I enjoy the expansion of the international markets where each destination has its own unique personality that we can offer something special to our clients. Also, as an event planner, I feel responsible to educate my clients about these unique destinations and show them all of the options and possibilities.
CVBs are a wonderful source of information and they help us navigate many destinations. I recently traveled to Singapore, which has become one of the major destinations in Asia. Dubai has also been growing rapidly the past few years and has become one of the most attractive destinations in the Middle East. Also, I attend many events within the U.S. that are international-market focused to learn about destinations and possibilities.
How would you describe your management style and what are the most important considerations when working with a client on a meeting or event?
In my opinion, leadership comes with a sense of responsibility, and as a leader, I constantly try to lead by example. I have always been drawn to leaders that can adjust and conform and are not set in their ways but are able to adjust to the situation. I feel that I fall into that mindset and I’m always trying to improve and evolve.
Our industry is all about relationships and partnerships and our best partners are the hoteliers, vendors, event planners, CVBs and, most importantly, our clients. I don't see myself separated from them and their success is my success. It takes significant collaboration to create a successful event and everyone needs to work together toward the same goal, which is creating exceptional experiences for the clients.
How did your experience working in two top-tier hotels in Vegas help grow your career?
I am grateful that I learned hospitality in one of the top cities in the world. Vegas is an outstanding place when it comes to service delivery, and both Bellagio and MGM Grand are two of the best in the world when it comes to meetings and events. We always talk about the service delivery in our industry and the impact it has is obvious, however, I’ve learned it goes beyond that in understanding the exact expectations of each client and how you can exceed those expectations. We also can never take any client or group for granted, and I have always tried to maintain a consistent level of flexibility to understand the client’s vision and their focus for their event.
You’ve just concluded your first year with Elevated Meeting Solutions. What are your key takeaways so far and what are your personal goals for 2020?
Elevated Meeting Solutions is a unique platform, which fosters talented team members who are willing to excel at an elevated level. This past year, I have been able to develop and build certain skills that will enrich my talents in the meetings industry. I come from the hotel venue side and it's common to receive your leads from multiple sources with the mindset that you will find the perfect fit for your client. This has definitely been a huge benefit as I’ve come to the other side of the industry and I’ve been able to apply those skills that I learned from the supplier side and showcase my sales and operations abilities. The learning opportunity is thrilling to me and being able to explore creative ways to approach the clients and build relationships is always rewarding and fulfilling.
My goal, both professionally and personally, is always self-improvement, in 2020 and beyond that will continue. We are always evolving in different ways and, I don't believe I will ever stop learning. Our industry is rapidly changing and there is so much to absorb and learn, unlearn, and re-learn to be able to stay relevant and up to date within this industry.