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This Year’s SITE Young Leaders Conference Is Focused on the Future

SITE Young Leaders Conference 2022

A few days before thousands of people from around the world pack the tradeshow floor at IMEX America every year, some of the industry’s newest and youngest faces gather for the SITE Young Leaders Conference (YLC). 

The annual one-day event for emerging incentive travel professionals invites attendees to network and exchange ideas with one another while building relationships with and learning from industry experts. 

SITE Young Leaders Conference 2022
SITE Young Leaders Conference 2022

This year’s SITE YLC will run the length of Sunday, October 15, at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and will be followed by a SITE Young Leaders panel discussion at IMEX as part of MPI’s Smart Monday.  

“The main purpose of the conference is education and professional development for our young professionals in the industry,” said Michael Wallace, vice president of sales at Firefly Team Events, director of leadership development for SITE SoCal and programming co-chair of the 2023 SITE YLC. “But overall, the Young Leaders Program is designed to give a social network for young professionals to build off of far into their careers, creating these lifelong relationships that young leaders will hopefully take [with them] through their journey in the industry.” 

The most important purpose behind SITE YLC though, Wallace said, is making sure the industry’s young leaders know their voices are valuable. 

“At the forefront [of the SITE Young Leaders Conference] is giving young leaders in our industry a platform,” Wallace said. “The great thing about this conference is that it’s run by young leaders. We’re not just putting on a program for young professionals that’s going to be run by a bunch of established experts. This program is designed with content that is created and curated by young leaders, for young leaders.” 

[Related: The Z: Tips and Tricks for First-Time IMEX America Attendees]

Discussing What Matters: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The theme of this year’s SITE YLC is “The Event Horizon: A Future-Focused Professional Development Conference,” offering educational opportunities that will cover upcoming trends and challenges in the incentive travel industry like diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB), sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR), technology and artificial intelligence (AI).  

Melissa Majors
Melissa Majors

“This year, we wanted to get back to what we think the conference should really be focused on, which is not only what young leaders want to hear about, but how we can shape the future of the industry. What’s going on in the next five to 10 years?” Wallace said. “This conference is for the people who are going to be shaping those next 10 years of the industry, so the big goal this year was to get somewhat in alignment with what really needs to be talked about: DEIB, sustainability, AI, CSR.” 

The conference will also present two keynote sessions centered around leadership: “The 7 Simple Habits of Inclusive Leaders” with Melissa Majors, CEO of Melissa Majors Consulting; and “The Ambitious Leader: 4 Unspoken Strategies that Align Purpose, Hustle and Success” with Courtney Stanley, host of Meetings Today’s Dare to Interrupt podcast

Courtney Stanley
Courtney Stanley

“Both are a good fit, with their presentations being high-interest topics not just for young leaders but for all professionals,” said Brystol Koch, education senior coordinator at SITE Global. “The increase in DEIB initiatives starts with inclusive leaders [like Melissa] and is then reflected by everyone in the company to create an environment of inclusivity and belonging.  

“Then, Courtney will come in to talk about individual ambition to build a career, not just work at a job,” Koch continued. “This speaks to young leaders as they strive to develop their self-awareness and confidence to achieve what success looks like to them.” 

SITE YLC will wrap Sunday evening with a cocktail reception sponsored by Caesars Entertainment at the Horseshoe Las Vegas, giving young leaders another opportunity to network and connect before the doors to IMEX America open Tuesday morning. 

“Anybody that comes to SITE Young Leaders Conference will benefit as long as they come willing to be a student,” Wallace said.  

To learn more about SITE Young Leaders Conference and register to attend, visit  

Read this next: Here’s What to Expect at IMEX America 2023

Click here for all of our IMEX America 2023 event coverage

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Taylor Smith | Content Developer, Destinations and Features

Taylor Smith joined Stamats in May 2022 as a content developer, destinations and features for Meetings Today. Smith has experience covering everything from travel to breaking news and graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in news and magazine journalism. Previously, she’s written for St. Louis Magazine and worked as an editorial assistant and apprentice for Aubree Nichols, who has been published in premier publications such as The New York TimesELLE and The Los Angeles Times.