So Much More Than Networking: Why I HSMAI

In Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, we often ask the question, “Why Do You HSMAI?” I was first asked this when I joined BU’s chapter as the social media chair in December 2016. Although I did not know exactly what to expect to gain from being involved with HSMAI, I was eager to hold a leadership position and I looked forward to meeting hospitality professionals. Having been asked the question, my response was simple—networking. After three semesters on the e-board (two semesters as president), my answer is so much more than that. Not only has HSMAI introduced me to some of the most inspiring leaders and life long friends, but the organization has given me the added confidence I needed before graduation.

I’ve learned that Networking at HSMAI is more than handing someone a business card, but rather about creating connections with people that extend beyond the first few conversations. As a freshman in college, I couldn’t have fathomed asking an industry professional to spend their valuable time conversing with me over coffee. I still remember meeting Lindsay Wegner at the professional chapter’s memory development workshop; Lindsay was one of the first members I met (besides Greg) and she was more than willing to talk to students. Lindsay handed me her card and wholeheartedly told me to reach out to her and keep the conversation going. A few days later I asked her to meet up for coffee and to my surprise, she was not only willing but excited to meet me at The Thinking Cup. This small experience formed that extra boost of confidence I needed to make my relationships with industry professionals more meaningful.

HSMAI has also enabled me to execute successful professional events. Throughout my time on the e-board, I’ve helped plan three intercollegiate conferences in New York City, a LinkedIn workshop, a Speed Networking event, a “Tech Talk” and tour of Toast Inc. Event planning has sharpened my organizational and time management skills; Excel and Google Calendar notifications became my two best friends. The events have also helped me grow my network with not only Boston professionals but New York City HSMAI members as well. I recently went to dinner with Marissa Hou, a Senior Account Executive at Marriott International, who I met at an Intercollegiate Conference in New York.

The Speed Networking event, in particular, required me to reach out to numerous industry professionals to ask for their time; again, before HSMAI, this task would have been incredibly daunting to say the least. The event turned out to be a tremendous success and could not have been done without my fellow hardworking e-board members and the words of encouragement from Greg (president of Boston Chapter), Caitlyn (Collegiate relations advisor), Leora and Makarand (BU chapter advisors). Not only was I able to help execute our chapter’s event, I was also privileged enough to attend and volunteer at the the professional chapter events such as the memory workshop; Google Travel: Trends in Motion; Think Different, Work Smart, Drive Revenue; the New Year’s Social and more. I also look forward to attending the Project Bread Walk as well as the General Manager panel in May.

Overall, my time with BU’s chapter of HSMAI has been nothing short of incredible. Yes, networking was a major part of the experience but with these new connections I have made, I have also learned invaluable life lessons. I’ve learned to extend networking beyond handing out business cards, to be attentive and detailed oriented and I’ve most importantly learned to never stop pushing myself to achieve greatness (thank you, Greg and Caitlyn!). As graduation approaches and I begin my career in hospitality, I look back on these last three semesters with immense gratitude.

— Elise Tringale