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Tourism & Travel News South Africa

#WomensMonth: Meet Megan Arendse, a woman who's playing a significant role in Mice tourism

In celebration of #WomensMonth, we chat to Megan Arendse, convention centre manager of Sun International's flagship resort, Sun City about what it means to be a woman in the MICE industry, the challenges she has faced and her message for Women's Month.

With a background in management, meeting and event planning, Arendse has gone from strength to strength, starting her as a conference and exhibition manager in 2003 at the CTICC, a role she held until 2011, after which she was appointed as general manager: commercial and business development and now as convention centre manager for Sun City.

#WomensMonth: Meet Megan Arendse, a woman who's playing a significant role in Mice tourism

What does a day in your life look like?

No day is the same at the Sun City Convention Centre and the complex. It could be anything from planning meetings, site inspections with clients, checking the logistics and service delivery when hosting conferences/events or management meetings. It is certainly not a 9-5, Monday-Friday environment.

What made you choose a career in the hospitality/ MICE tourism industry?

I think the industry chose me. I’ve always been in the client service industry and evolved into the MICE industry and venue management due to my passion for organising events. I’m inspired by the diversity the industry offers and to work closely with clients to achieve the objective of their conference/event, whether it is an association addressing issues that affect our continent, or a themed event for a corporate client celebrating their achievements

Do you think it’s important to have a month dedicated to women?

I do believe it is important to commemorate and acknowledge women, particularly the millions of unsung female heroes we have in South Africa. There is so much that has been done to raise the consciousness of female equality and empowerment, but there is still so much work to be done to implement and see the results of this awareness.

What barriers did you face, as a woman, becoming successful in your field, and how did you overcome them? Are there any worthwhile challenges that you enjoy?

There have been many challenges and barriers during my career and I wouldn’t have strived to achieve what I have without them. You have to fall down to get up again.

I enjoy the challenge of changing a negative perception around to a positive one.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to women pursuing a career in meeting and events management?

Have the ability to adapt to all types of situations and deal with diverse people.

Build a trusted network within the industry and always chose a mentor that aligns with your values.

Who is your biggest influence /role model / icon?

I have had many role models and icons that have shaped my career who have guided and supported me with my decisions and choices, many of them have been women that I trust and admire.

What is your message for Women's Month?

Be true to yourself and never be afraid to take risks and learn from them if you fail.

Support one another – women and men alike!

Any words of wisdom you would like to share with women in the business of MICE tourism?

The MICE industry plays a significant role in the South African economy – let’s continue to work together to ensure we offer a world-class product and service to sustain jobs and create more.

Be inspiring leaders – our country needs good role models

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