Pop Quiz, Monday with Scott Graf, Global President at BCD Meetings & Events
The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.
I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.
Can you please tell everyone your name?
What is your job role?
Global President at BCD Meetings & Events
Tell us about your company?
We are a global agency that helps companies strategically and creatively design and execute their meetings and events. This ranges from incentive trips where companies want to reward and inspire their employees to meetings that train and educate, to sports hospitality and team travel. We have specialized teams that handle every aspect of a meeting or event (think: sourcing venues, event design, and production, meeting technology and onsite execution). We also strategically manage enterprise-wide meetings programs for companies — similar to how they might manage corporate travel.
What do you love most about your job?
What I love most is the variety of my day to day. We’re a complex global business which means on any day I find myself working with senior procurement officials, and we’re worried about saving money, reducing risk, increasing compliance and helping companies achieve their corporate goals. But on that same day, I might be working with a very high-end, niche local solution for a client which is more about building an experience — something that motivates or inspires our customers, or their attendees, or even our employees. I do enjoy the variety of my job.
What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
A sense of responsibility to our BCD M&E team around the world. We started with just four employees many years ago. Now that we have a global team, there is an even greater sense of responsibility for me to be present, available and a responsible leader for each of our team members. In many ways, I want to prove my value every day. That’s what motivates me.
How do your co-workers inspire you?
Seeing the level of true care and commitment from our employees across the world. I think it is easy for people to get caught up in doing the minimum to get by. Seeing our employees passionately engaged with what they are doing every day inspires me to do the same.
How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
We stress having a relaxed but professional environment so having fun comes naturally. Of course, there are days when it’s a lot of work and stress. However, we make sure to introduce activities within our offices to engage employees and take a minute to relax. We host local happy hours, hold a global employee appreciation week and have an in-house “Fun Team” which is literally charged with bringing fun activities into the offices.
What are some of the challenges of your job?
One is the sheer demographics of BCD Meetings & Events. We operate in over 50 countries which means a wide range of cultures, age of employees, languages, currencies and suppliers/customers. The challenge of time zones and ensuring that I’m personally giving the time I need to in each market, as equally as I can, is difficult. On a more personal level, it’s keeping people motivated. Finding the right balance between pushing for better, faster and less expensive or making difficult decisions while remaining a strong leader and keeping employees motivated can be challenging.
What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
I have to say that in almost every project I’m involved in, the biggest lesson that I continue to learn and work towards is the art of compromise. The job of a leader on many days is to balance the viewpoints, perspectives, and opinions of multiple employees who are all trying for the same outcome but with a different means to that end. There’s always a lesson to be learned and effort to be put forth in finding a compromise with those involved. This means practicing emotional intelligence and encouraging others to do the same to get the best results possible.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
It would be twofold. First, do something you love to do. There’s a lot of ways to make money, so make sure you love this industry and want to be in it for all the right reasons. When you can match what you love to do with a career path, that can be a powerful thing. Second, in this industry specifically, common sense, a strong work ethic and having an open mind can lead to a very rewarding career. I would say to take that with you as you begin your profession in meetings and events.
Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web: