by Lumi Hilchey, Atout France
In this issue, NYPCMA celebrates Brecht Putman, Meetings & Incentives Manager North America for the Tourist Office for Flanders (Belgium, Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent), who has served as Membership Director with NYPCMA for the past three years.
Brecht has been a member of PCMA for five years, and when he is not working or traveling for work, he loves meeting up with his New York City friends, kickboxing and performing arts, and sometimes he’ll take ballet classes.
What inspired you to serve as Director of Membership for the NY Chapter of PCMA?
When I joined PCMA back in 2012, I saw it as a tool to reach out to the New York meeting and conference professionals to showcase the advantages of Flanders – the most beautiful region in Europe, where I was born and raised.
I soon realized that the PCMA was giving me way more than just a marketing platform to promote Flanders and Brussels. The education agenda helps me to understand the diversity and complexity of the American meetings market, and it keeps me up to date with the evolution that influence our industry. Knowledge is power, and the programs at NYPCMA helped me to become more powerful in a way – surpassing standards in my day job.
This experience strongly motivates me to inspire non-members and to ensure that current members are reminded of their member benefits regularly.
What piece of advice do you have for your successor?
When I first joined the chapter, I was inspired by the hard work ethic of my fellow members and the strong sense of pride in volunteerism of the NYPCMA leadership. The connections and friendships fostered at the Chapter meetings are what led me to become involved in the chapter, and to take on a three-year leadership role after serving on committees. Ultimately, it is those relationships that still motivate me today to volunteer and serve the industry that I love.
My advice: be a relationship builder and maintainer.
What is your fondest memory from your time as Director of Membership?
What has always endeared me the most is the incredible member turnout at our annual charity event, which has taken place at Flanders House the past two years.
That’s when the true spirit of volunteerism shows, when members show up to serve not PCMA, but the needy in the New York City community that we are blessed to live and work in every day.
What is the legacy you hope to leave behind?
NYPCMA is one of the largest and fastest growing chapters with about 350 members strong.
It would be an honor and pleasure to see the growing curve continue over the next years, and I will do everything within my power to make sure my successor has all the tools, best practices and moving space for continued success.