Melissa Deslauriers, 51, is the director of sales and marketing for bb Blanc Inc., a full-service production and audiovisual company, as well as a part-time professor of event marketing, production, and staging at Conestoga College. She's based in the Toronto area.
How I got here:
It all started back in high school when I was elected social convenor to plan our school dances. I really did learn then to design with the end in mind. I went on to become student council president, and although I promised my parents I would focus on school while at university, I managed to get drawn into events and councils there too.
After graduating with a degree in public relations during a downturn in the economy, I took on a sales role with the company I once hired for those high school dances. I quickly realized I loved sales. Identifying, establishing, and maintaining relationships was key to my success, and all about communications. I enjoyed working with clients and helping them become successful. The same holds true today.
After moving from the East Coast of Canada to Ontario, I moved up in my career and onto a sales role with an AV company (then known as TELAV/I.S.T.S., now known as Encore), supplying simultaneous interpretation equipment to conferences and events. I held various roles including account manager, subject matter expert in processes, and sales director. I supported events worldwide and have established a wonderful network of folks along the way.
Today, I take the years of experience I’ve gained and manage a sales team for bb Blanc, a full-service production and audiovisual company. I also spearhead its marketing efforts, and teach courses called Event Marketing and Production & Staging part-time at Conestoga College.
Greatest career accomplishment:
My mark of success is helping others achieve theirs, whether it’s a member of my team, a client, or a student.
I have been fortunate to not only work for one company, but hundreds, supporting their needs and enjoying experiences I never would have if my career had been with one organization. I draw on these experiences and life lessons to help others achieve their goals.
Coaching and leading a team is my true passion, and I am thrilled I continue to do that every day.
A specific improvement I’ve made:
I don’t have a single earth-shattering metric or high-level achievement. My daily routine consists of connecting with others, sharing knowledge and insight, and always learning.
This has led to helping others when it comes to achieving their event goals, sharing their knowledge, and ultimately growing their networks.
You don’t know what you don’t know, but sometimes others do. I believe this commitment to a little bit every day helps everyone. Whether it’s a board meeting, press conference, town hall, the Olympics, G8 summits, or global conferences, working with this formula for success has made all the difference.
The biggest change I've observed in the industry:
Time. Shorter timelines, bigger expectations, more deadlines. Things move at a much faster pace, and information is available at our fingertips. This makes our “event world” more global than ever before.
Information comes at us from all directions and can sometimes be overwhelming. The opportunity is in learning from—and leaning on—your peers and contacts. Remember #TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More.
What I do outside of work:
Outside of the “office," you can find me appreciating Mother Nature on our 10-acre family hobby farm complete with three horses, two dogs, two barn cats, my husband of 25 years, and our daughter. I also enjoy Sunday drives in our ’87 Mustang convertible.
My No. 1 piece of career advice I'd give my younger self:
Prioritize yourself. Everyone brings value—know and market yours. It's OK to stand up for yourself. Trust your gut. You know more than you think you do.
Connect with Deslauriers on LinkedIn.
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