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by Deanna Ting | March 23, 2015
When the New York chapter of SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) met for the first time in 2015, it was clear that, with the New Year, comes a new set of goals for the incentive travel organization. Meeting in the offices of the Monaco Government Tourist Office in January, the new board - led by newly appointed President Meghann Hussey, North America group sales manager for Monte-Carlo Societe des Bains de Mer - was eager to let members know that 2015 would be a year of progress for the chapter.

"We have some really strategic plans for the chapter," Hussey told IncentiveMag.com. "Our chapter theme for 2015 surrounds outreach, collaboration, and knowledge and, with this in mind, we have an exciting calendar that touches on all of these areas in each of our upcoming events."

Outreach
When it comes to outreach, Hussey specifically pointed to broadening the chapter's outreach within the Northeast region. 

"At the end of this year and going into 2016, we'd like to re-brand as SITE Northeast Mid-Atlantic." She noted that other chapters, such as those in Florida and the Caribbean, have completed similarly successful rebranding initiatives. 

To encourage this broadening beyond the New York Metro area, SITE NY will continue to focus on its Sip with SITE events in Rhode Island, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

The chapter is also encouraging the next generation of incentive industry leaders with its SITE Young Leaders program events for members who are 35 years of age or younger, or who have less than five years of experience in the industry. SITE Young Leaders NY Metro is hosting its first event of the year - a VIP Scavenger Hunt through Manhattan - on March 24.

Collaboration
Hussey says the New York chapter is also committed to working with its strategic partners in 2015, especially when it comes to the upcoming North America Meetings Industry Day, taking place on April 16.  On that day, the chapter will host a SITE Education Day of community service and networking from 3 to 7:30 p.m.

"We're doing it in collaboration with MPI (Meeting Professionals International) and, potentially, PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association)," says Hussey. "It will be very incentive focused-but also incorporate the meetings side of it." 

The chapter is also looking to identify a sister SITE chapter to align with, and to find unique sponsorship alliances for its upcoming education events.

Knowledge
Providing education for chapter members makes up the third pillar of the chapter's yearly objectives. "We're also focused on building up more events, and our vice president of education, Robert Korin, [director of national accounts, sales and marketing, for Hilton Waikoloa Village] is amazing," says Hussey. "He is very driven and passionate about it, and he has a great committee under him. We have a lot more coming up for our chapter than a lot of other regions do."

The chapter continues to operate CIS (certified incentive specialist) certification programs, and plans to target the metro-Philadelphia area this year with a program that runs from July 17-18.

"Our education topics are definitely going to help members overcome obstacles and advance their knowledge," says Hussey. "We want to connect them to industry leaders to ask those real-time questions as well as current trends."

Looking ahead, Hussey says she is very optimistic about the future of the incentive industry and both SITE Global and SITE New York Metro. "In terms of incentives, people's perceptions and budget concerns are still very important, but people want to define their ROI a lot more clearly, and we want to make sure they have those tools and messaging properly aligned for them," she says.

Hussey adds, "One of the things I personally and professionally like about SITE is that your regional chapter also has a very global perspective. Once you interact within the community, it helps you overcome the hurdles you may be having professionally. It keeps a pulse on the industry. And from a relationship-building standpoint, it's fantastic for building up your support network."

She also says she hopes SITE members from other chapters will join her chapter throughout the year. "We would be thrilled to have SITE members from other chapters check out our upcoming events and join us throughout the year, and help us to strengthen our theme of collaboration."