I was a pre-business major in college, but I discovered a track called Tourism & Commercial
Recreation. That’s when I made the decision to learn more about destination marketing and focus on
getting an education in the ins-and-outs of the tourism and meetings world. My ;irst job out of college
was at a CVB in a small town. I moved on to a larger CVB where I was able to build the sales plan from
the ground up. It was a great experience made up of a lot of trial and error.
I later became director of sales at Destination South Meetings + Events, a destination management
company in Atlanta, where I’m now completely immersed in the nuts and bolts of the planning/DMC
world. It’s fast-paced and I love every minute of it.
While I’ve learned a lot in this industry, I recognize that there is still a great deal that I don’t
know. I’d like to become an expert on the array of services we provide, while advancing in leadership
positions within the Atlanta hospitality scene. I want to bring a positive energy to whatever task is at
hand, and I want my fellow colleagues and partners to have a blast with me during those processes.
I like being a part of brainstorming, planning and executing—whether at work or on the MPI Georgia Chapter board of directors. With that comes the need for prioritizing, delegating and managing
time. Those tasks have to be done—particularly when you’re juggling client expectations and board
responsibilities. The question becomes, “Can you do those things without sacri;icing quality?”
My mom, my dad and my wife have always been my biggest support system. They have the greatest in;luence on me, both personally and professionally.
My first year as an MPI member was extremely uneventful. I attended monthly educational programs and sat in the back of the room. I left the meetings as soon as they were ;inished. One day, a
fellow member invited me to join a committee. It’s amazing how much your network expands once
you engage. Being a committee member led to chairing a committee. From there, I joined the board
and haven’t looked back. We have an amazing chapter that likes to push the envelope. I cannot wait to
see what the next few years bring.
I owe my current job to MPI. Our company owner was on the panel when I interviewed for my ;irst
board position. That’s when we really got to know one another. It’s funny how things work out.
We need more people who aren’t afraid to step outside of their comfort
zones. We have such a pool of talented individuals who just aren’t quite
ready to take the leap to become more active in industry organizations. I was
one of them. My plea: Give it a shot. We need you.
My wife Ryan and I are dog-lovers. We have a rescue lab named Beckett
and a rescue American Pit Bull Terrier named Van Gogh. I’ve always joked
that if I were to leave the meeting and event industry, I’d open up a kennel
for rescue animals. Who knows, that could be a good retirement plan.
MPI GEORGIA CHAPTER
Andy Williams, CMP, TMP, is director
of sales for Destination South
Meetings + Events in Atlanta and
president-elect of the MPI Georgia
Chapter. He has been an MPI
member since 2011.
Photo by Jeff Loy