Bridging Generations, Practicing Vulnerability and Leading with Empathy

Season 3, Episode 12 

Guest: Joe Marcy, Business Development Executive at the Monterey County CVB

How can we work better together while honoring our differences? Joe Marcy, Business Development Executive at the Monterey County CVB, discusses his perspective on practicing vulnerability and leading with empathy in one's community.

Want to hear more from Courtney and her incredible guests? Find all Dare to Interrupt episodes here.


[Listen to the previous Dare to Interrupt podcast: Stop Trying to Be the Hero(ine): The Complexities of Having It All]

Meet Our Guest:

Photo of Joe Marcy on a beach.
Joe Marcy

Joe Marcy is on the Global Board of Trustees for MPI, the largest meeting and event industry association in the world. Marcy served as President of the Southern California Chapter in 2017 and was later recognized as Global Member of the Year. As an executive for the Monterey County CVB, Marcy contributes to the destination’s diversity, sustainability and tourism efforts. He was the recipient of the Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (WACVB) Scholarship and is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified Incentive Travel Professional (CITP). Collaborate Magazine recognized Marcy in its "40 under 40" issue and Smart Meetings magazine named him "Visionary Supplier of the Year." In his spare time, Marcy volunteers with the Human Rights Campaign, the P.S. I Love You Foundation and The Trevor Project. He’s chairman of the Manhattan Beach Cultural Arts Commission and president of the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair Association (MBHTF). He accepted the Mayor’s Award in 2012 and recently received commendations from the Los Angeles County Supervisor’s Office and the California State Assembly.

Photo of Joe Marcy at beach event.

Connect with Joe:

Instagram: @joemarcy
Twitter: N/A
Facebook: N/A

More About Our Host:

Photo of Courtney Stanley sitting.

Courtney believes that transforming past experiences into impactful conversations through raw, authentic storytelling challenges the status quo, connects people from all walks of life and results in great change for the world.

  • Courtney is the youngest member to have ever been elected to Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) International Board of Directors
  • She is the recipient of Smart Meetings’ Entrepreneur Award, MeetingsNet’s Changemaker Award, the Association for Women in Events (AWE) Disruptor Award, the MPI Chairman’s Award and MPI RISE Award.
  • Named Collaborate and Connect Magazine’s 40 under 40 and a Meetings Today Trendsetter.
  • Recognized as one of the event industry’s most impactful change-makers.
  • Serves on the Events Industry Sexual Harassment Task Force, AWE’s Board of Directors, MPI’s Women’s Advisory Board, is a Meetings Mean Business Ambassador and is the co-founder of the award-winning movement, #MeetingsToo.
  • Named as a 2020 Meetings Trendsetter by Meetings Today

Connect with Courtney:


Courtney Stanley: Hello, everybody, this is Courtney Stanley and welcome to another exciting episode of Dare to Interrupt, a listening experience where you have the opportunity to sit in on honest, unfiltered conversations with leaders who are considered to be the most influential, inspiring and innovative leaders in the world of events, hospitality, business and beyond.

Throughout their careers, these leaders have dared to interrupt conversations, their own comfort zones, and sometimes even societal norms, to hustle toward their greatest levels of success. I am so excited to introduce you to today's guest here with us. We have Joe Marcy, business development executive at the Monterey County CVB. Joe, it's so great to have you with us on the show. Where are you joining us from today?

Joe Marcy: It's so good to be with you. Thank you for having me. I'm at home in my remote office here in Manhattan Beach, California.

Courtney: Oh, what's your day like there? Is it super sunny?

Joe: You know what, it's our version of cold, so I have my scarf ready. And it's like 68 degrees, but it's fantastic.

Courtney: I'm's like 30-something here, so I definitely envy your situation. But I also love a good, cozy vibe. So, I love that you are just wrapped up and cozy in your place. I'm really excited to talk to you today. I just have loved getting to know you over the years, and I feel like especially over this past year, I've gotten to know you a little bit better. And I'm really excited to have the audience; just hear a little bit more about you today and how you've gotten to where you are.

So, I'd love to give them an opportunity to just get to know you better. So, would you give us a brief summary of where you started in your career and how you ended up where you are today?

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I fell into the industry, like a lot of people did. And I remember trying to fill some electives while I was in college, and I took event planning and management. I met the right people. And it turned into a job pretty quickly. And I worked part time for the Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau, and I had no idea what the organization really did until I really got my feet wet. And it was a great experience, and once I graduated college, turned into a full-time job.

I had, you know, it's funny, I've always worked for really inspiring women and my boss at the time said, "You are joining MPI." It wasn't really even a question. And again, not really knowing what I was walking into. It was a great experience for me, and I learned quite a bit and I don't think my boss realized that I was going to get as involved as I did. And she's supported me through that process. And the rest is kind of history.

But yeah, I've been in the industry for 15 years or so now, and it's been fantastic.

Courtney: I do remember that you jumped in quickly. And I obviously didn't know you at the very start of your career, but I do remember the first time that I met you and it was out in California; there was a board meeting for MPI that was happening. And you were there, I think, mingling with the group and just getting to know people. But you also became president of your chapter pretty early on, didn't you?

Joe: Sure. Yeah. You know, it's funny. I think we were... I was 2017... I believe that I was president of the Southern California Chapter, and it was the fourth-largest chapter globally. And I was told that I was probably the youngest president that the chapter ever installed. And it was quite an experience, right? Because I think you're learning through the process. You're learning your own skill set. You're learning how to manage people in a safe setting, but you're also working with people that are very well polished, that are taking you under their wing.

And you know, it's a big commitment. And it was it was a responsibility. I didn't take it lightly and it was something I'll never forget. Yeah.

Courtney: Do you feel like because you were traditionally younger than former presidents of the chapter had been that you struggled to feel like you had maybe earned your stripes or you had that level of experience that people typically had? How was that for you?

Joe: You know, it was really dependent on the individual that I was dealing with. And I think in the early part of my career, it was a lot of, "I've been doing this longer than you since you've been born," right? It's interesting, because I think you find sometimes in leadership that some people have a hard time adapting to young leaders or different leadership styles. And just sometimes the concept of working with somebody that's younger than you.

Sometimes it's hard to embrace. And it takes a really special kind of relationship, and I think I think the commonality there is really...I think we were all there to achieve significant goals, and we wanted what was best for the chapter in our industry. And it takes a lot of humility. But we did it. Yeah, it was a great year. And I'm really proud of it, right?

But the chapter won its first RISE award, our membership numbers increased, all the metrics were where we needed it to be, and we left the chapter in a better position than where it started. And it's a great feeling, and those that may not necessarily believe in what you could have potentially accomplished, what you do accomplish. You know, I think they're the ones that are also learning from it, too.

Courtney: Yeah. And I think there is such a good feeling when you're able to show your value through your work, you know, and those results that you saw at the end of your term, and all the progress and success that you had during that time, like the work speaks for itself. And I think, as a young professional, a lot of times there are people who maybe doubt your capabilities, or you're bringing a different approach, perspective, skill set, whatever it is to the table. And I think there is definitely some pushback with certain individuals.

It's not with everybody, but there are, I think, sometimes situations where people who have a significant amount of experience compared to a young professional, just think that maybe you haven't earned your stripes yet, or you haven't had enough experience to do the job. So, I love that moment, that winning moment where you're able to say, here are the results of the work. And it just speaks for itself.

I know that you are somebody that is very passionate about young professional career development. And I think that you are a great example of a mentor who has really earned your stripes and you've done the work, and you've accomplished such great things in such a short amount of time, to people who are stepping into the industry, especially after all of the change and the turbulence that our industry has experienced over the past couple of years.

What do you feel young professionals need to hear or need to know in order to set themselves up for success in our industry today?

Joe: Now, it's kind of twofold sometimes for me when I think about this, because there are a lot of people that still don't have the desire to go into the hospitality industry, because we've never really sold it as such a  fantastic experience and career path that's worthwhile, you know, growing up, And for me, too, it's like, "Are you going to be a doctor. You can be a firefighter." Those were some of the things that felt a little bit more like a stronger career path for individuals.

But there's so much to be grateful for in the hospitality industry. So, it's partially to make sure that people understand, going into this industry is, it's going to be a wild and very rewarding ride. But for those that do find their way into this industry, it's also just building the relationships, showing your humility, and, you know, learning from the ground up. I think there's always that interest to accelerate your career path rapidly, and sometimes you just need some experience.

You need the time, and the industry associations like MPI, they give you a platform to learn and grow to build those relationships and network. I tried to attend as much education as possible--certifications, virtual trainings, whatever it was--you know, get as involved as possible, learn from your peers. And it's interesting, because I think you'll meet people that are born to mentor; they love to mentor young leaders.

And sometimes you just have to be vocal enough to say, "I would love for you to be that person to help me grow in this industry." And honestly, for me, it was. It was a lot of strong women, inspiring women, who took that opportunity to take the time and teach me what I needed to learn. And it took time, I give a lot of them credit for where we are today.

Courtney: Did you find yourself in those situations where you would see yourself being drawn to certain leaders in the industry and approach them and have that conversation about engaging in a mentorship?

Joe: Absolutely, yeah. For me. It was a no-brainer for me. I think you kind of look…you see individuals that have the tenure in the industry that are polished, that are strict; they're very strategic with what they're trying to accomplish. They're driven. You can see it radiates--sometimes when you're in a room and you see those individuals that you aspire to be.

And those are the people that times I would gravitate to that I would love, you know, just to learn and grow and know what the secret recipe was to be like them eventually, really,

Courtney: Do you also serve as a mentor to other industry professionals?

Joe: Me, too, and I love that I still have an opportunity to be involved with the SoCal chapter and the young leaders, the board members. It's just a great opportunity to give back and take what you've learned from it and help inspire the next generation. And I've been fortunate enough to also do some hospitality programs, like at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills. It's really rewarding.

I think what's interesting is, you see, you'll learn a lot from the next generation, too. It inspires me. I think it goes both ways, right? It's very mutual, because these are people that are young, and they're educated, and they are just... they're ambitious, and they're excited for what's next in their career.

As for me, as I'm getting older, I'm realizing, "Oh my gosh, like the sparkles aren't always there anymore, and sometimes these young leaders, they kind of rub off on you a little bit.

Courtney: Yeah, I definitely agree. One of my friends spoke at some hospitality program at a university last week, and she was just sharing about her experience on Instagram. And you could just see that she had such a good experience with the students. And she was talking about how hungry these young professionals are. And these students learn and to dig in and to have that mentorship.

So, that was really cool to see. And I've definitely had those experiences as well speaking, guest lecturing at universities. And it's always a lot of fun. I feel like there are always a lot of questions to go through and answer and conversations to have.

But then I was also at a conference last week, and I was really surprised at some of the conversations that were happening even on stages on panels where the speakers were definitely more experienced. They were older professionals, and there was quite a bit of hostility toward young professionals. And there was a lot of, kind of like, name dropping with Millennials and Gen Z and stereotypes. And even the questions that were coming from the audience were just a bit more negative, you know. Like, how do we deal with X when Millennials do Y? And it really caught me off guard.

And I think that's because I don't find myself in those conversations often, where people are openly complaining about the younger generation and the stereotypical behaviors that come with Millennials and Gen Zers. Do you feel like, for me, it was surprising, but do you feel like, this is a conversation that is still happening internally in organizations where there really is a struggle between generations?

Joe: Yeah, I think we're seeing it still, right? And it's an interesting conversation, because the reality is, you know, from one generation to the next, they couldn't be more different, right? The technology has changed, the whole landscape is just different now. And, you know, I resonate sometimes with an older generation, because you know, I'm not always great with technology. I still love handwritten notes. I kind of operate a certain way.

And it's's very different with other generations as well. And I think it's hard for some people to really adapt and embrace that change, because I think they're realizing, especially as an older generation, that they're the ones now that really have to adapt, the technology has changed and the new leaders that are coming in, you know, they're coming in with a wrecking ball and they are excited and they are ready to make change and they're not afraid of it.

They're probably one of the most educated generations I've seen and they are, you know, they're getting their facts from wherever they need to, so whether it's through social channels, they are not a generation to mess with and it's an interesting conversation.

Sure, there is some hostility around it, but we've got to embrace it. Everyone just has to, you know, realize that we are in this together, right? So, we're gonna figure it out.

Courtney: Yeah, yeah, I completely agree, Joe. And I think I'm a bit removed because I work for myself. And that's why this conversation caught me off guard, because I personally haven't seen it in a minute. And I was really, honestly turned off by the conversation. It felt like it wasn't a conversation where there were people trying to find solutions, but it was more just complaints. And I was a little bit turned off by it.

But I also heard a really interesting fact the other day, and it was a survey; it was research that was done within our industry specifically. And the bottom line of this research was that in terms of the workforce, the Boomer generation is not actually handing the, or passing the torch off, to Gen X. But they're passing the torch to Gen Y and Gen Z. So, in terms of who's actually making up our workforce, Gen X is quite small; that generation compared to the younger generation. We're almost skipping a generation in our industry, and who's stepping into these positions?

Next, a lot of Gen X has left the industry. I think COVID probably had a lot to do with that. But it's interesting, because I don't know that our industry has necessarily found itself in this position before, where all of a sudden, maybe more quickly than in years past, the younger generations are actually stepping into higher leadership positions, because there is not that middle generation that's sitting there.

So more than ever, we have this gap that's happening between generations. And if there are issues and difficulties in working with a younger generation and an older generation, this next year is going to be that opportunity to really figure it out. Like how can we make this work?

So, I'm just curious, from your perspective, and your experience that you had as a younger professional leading in a high position in our industry, what do you think the solutions are? Yes, we have to work together, but how do we do that? Especially if maybe these are individuals that struggle a little bit to see past generational stereotypes? How do we do it? How do we work together?

Joe: Yeah, no, that's a great question. And there are a couple of things that you said in there, too, that are so interesting to me. I think a lot of people realize they have transferable skills that they can really excel outside of the industry and inside of this industry.

So, you know, through the pandemic, they figured out where they were gonna land, and it changed the landscape a little bit for us, right? And then a lot of us were working from home. And what did that do? Well, it kind of created an opportunity for a lot of people to work individually in silos.

So, you didn't necessarily have as much teamwork, per se, and in some circumstances. So, it's an interesting conversation, because, yes, we're seeing some gaps and some leadership, and how do we kind of bridge that gap now? Really, I know it's silly, but a lot of people do believe, and I do, to meet face to face--we've got to get face to face again. And we are doing that.

We've got to collaborate. And we've got to; you know, there are so many opportunities now to figure out how to collaborate effectively. And we have to, to be successful. We absolutely have to.

Courtney: Yeah, I think you're on point. And I think it really does come down to relationship building. And it comes down to empathy, comes down to self-awareness. And it also comes back to making an effort to understand the person.

I think a lot of times in any situation, if there is some sort of tension, it's because we don't understand each other. And maybe we haven't had time to get to know each other. Maybe, you know, we're virtual, we're not together. But I do think that a lot of times it comes back to either not understanding the person or not understanding yourself and how you're coming across, or not being able to empathize with the other person where are they struggling? Where can I support them? How can I serve the person next to me, regardless of what level they're sitting at?

So, I really do think that that statistic blew my mind, and I don't remember what the numbers are, but it was a significant number of people in our industry are either Millennial or Gen Z at this point. And as boomers are retiring, we are the next generation of this industry in this workforce--the majority of the workforce--so, I do you think there are some really exciting things that are going to happen because of that?

I think we've seen that things like social issues and sustainability and different elements of our industry that we've been having conversations about for years. With younger generations, we have seen statistically that it tends to be a higher priority to take action on a lot of those things.

So, I think there are things that are really exciting that are coming down the pipe for this next year and beyond. And I think there are some challenges, too, so I'll be interested to see what happens, that's for sure.

Joe: Me, too. And you know, it's funny, like, you see, sometimes on social media, the "be kind, because you never know what someone's going through." And it's like, what you're saying, it's absolutely right. It's like when you start to understand a person and how they became who they are, you can kind of understand it better, you can empathize with it a little bit more, and you can learn and grow from it.

And that's really how you can make some progress. It's just fascinating how we become who we are, through our circumstances.

:Courtney: What do you feel like you wish that people knew about you without you having to tell them?

Joe: Oh, my gosh, that's a great question. Um, I feel like I'm...I'm pretty transparent. You know, people know I love fashion, I love our industry, you know. I love giving back to my communities, in every aspect, and I tried to make it look--on social channels, at least--I tried to share the highlights.

And I feel like I'm using the platform really as kind of a memory book, in some circumstances, where it's, you know, just sharing some of the highlights. But it was a really a tough road for me personally, and I am very close to my family. And we've gone through some pretty significant health scares, and when--you know, the parts that I leave out, you know--I started in MPI, and my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was right about to be installed as president in 2017, and my dad had a health scare that landed him in the hospital.

So, there were so many things that broke me through the process that I won't forget. And while it looks like sometimes things come easy, and the experience has just been extremely glamorous, and privileged, really, it's also balanced with a lot of pain and struggle. And I worked really hard. And I don't regret any of it. And again, I think our circumstances make us who we are now, and I think a lot of these circumstances taught me a lot of humility. And I hope that can also resonate with somebody else, too, that understands that it's not always, it really isn't as luck. Sometimes it's not always easy.

Courtney: Yeah, I think it's so easy for us to forget that, you know, because we were all sharing those highlights on social media, and it's not just social media, even in conversations, you know, we show up at IMEX or whatever conference it is, and it's like, "How are you? What's going on?" I think we are so used to just kind of giving the highlights--the top-level bullet points of like, this is what's happening in my life. And a lot of times speaking to it more professionally, which makes sense, I can understand that.

But I do think, to your point, the expression "be kind," because you never know what's going on in somebody else's world. I think that that is probably the best advice to give people in any industry, regardless of what you're doing, regardless of who you're working with. Everybody has a story of how they got to where they are today. But everybody also has a current chapter that they're navigating that can sometimes be really painful when you were experiencing all of those things, and it's, of course, one of those situations when it rains, it pours, where everything just seems to go wrong at once.

Were you transparent in that moment, in that chapter with the people around you, the people in our industry, especially as you're stepping into this leadership role? How much could people actually see of your story in that time?

Joe: That's a great question, too, because I kind of learned to just be honest about what you're going through because otherwise people won't understand it.

And I won't forget this. My mom was sick and I stayed with her in the hospital all night, and they were running all these tests--a very stressful time for me. And I was still young. So, I was like, "You know what, I'm good. I had a few hours of sleep, I'm gonna go to work."

And I did that. And we were in a very long meeting where my eyes are starting to get heavy. And I remember this really well, because I had a boss at the time that pulled me aside and made these assumptions that perhaps, I indulged in too much fun at a chapter event or a networking event. And I wasn't... I wasn't honest.

I should have been transparent, that, "Listen, you know, this is what's really going on in my world. I'm dealing with some health issues with my family." And I think it changes the dialogue. And from there, that was a big learning lesson for me. And I was very transparent through the chapter with the board. I tried to sometimes also put some of those nuggets through my social channels too, because, you know, when you're going through something like that, you're kind of, for me, at least, I am in a place where I look to the big guy upstairs.

There's so many friends and family and their people that reach out that care that, you know, they offer their thoughts and prayers, and every little bit helps. And I'm that person that now it's like I want to share that with those people around me because they are very supportive. There is a big support system out there in our industry. I think what's special about it really is that a lot of these colleagues that, you might want to call them industry leaders, they also are your friends. And they're people that care about you, and you'll see it in good and you'll see it in bad. And it's very humbling.

Courtney: It is very humbling. And I think it's such a beautiful opportunity to feel so grateful for our community. Because I will say that anytime that I have expressed that I'm struggling, which I, like anybody else, have my struggles, and my own story, if I vocalize that to people in our community who I trust, and I know want to be able to support me in those moments, people show up. And I think people saw that a lot during the pandemic. And I know, I saw that a lot, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, where there was just a lot... there was a lot happening. And it was one of those years where when it rained it tsunamied.

And one of the most beautiful realizations that I had during that painful chapter was that I have really good people in my life and in my corner. And the reason that I was able to understand that and recognize that was because I was transparent and said, "I'm not doing okay, and this is what's going on in my world." And it was incredible how much people really, truly wanted to be able to support in whatever way, small ways, big ways, a phone call, a card, it didn't really matter.

But people showed up. And I think sometimes we don't necessarily consider that people want to be there for us, we just...we don't want to burden them or we don't want to be vulnerable and emotional because it's hard. And, you know, showing up in a way that's not happy or perfect is not fun. And it can be really difficult. So, I definitely applaud you for being open and transparent with people and also having that moment to learn that lesson. And understanding that being open can actually serve you really, really well.

Joe: And say the same to you, right? You're almost stronger and tougher because you are willing to share those stories, you know, that some people will say, "Oh, my gosh, you know, be strong, keep your emotions to yourself." It's like really, when you're vulnerable like that, that really shows when you're sometimes the bravest. I agree.

Courtney: Yeah, vulnerability requires courage. I'm a huge believer in that. And that's the work I like doing; showing up and being emotionally raw and communicating and being vulnerable in those painful moments that work. Hiding, I think, is our natural comfort zone.

So, I agree. I completely agree. So, I am curious. I want to go back to the inspiring women that you mentioned previously. What do you feel like has been maybe the greatest lesson that you've learned from a mentor along the way?

Joe: I've really learned from--it's a great question, too, right, because I think I learned a lot. I learned so much. I think that's why I'm struggling with that answer, because I was just soaking it all in. And I still do to today, like serving on the Global Board of Trustees in MPI. I am with big industry icons here. I'm talking to one right now. And it's just, it's, it's inspiring.

And the more time you spend with people that inspire you, the more you learn and grow. I learned that it doesn't really matter what setting you're in--I learned this from my first boss--it didn't really matter what setting you're in. This is your name, this is your reputation, this is your legacy.

And whether it's a volunteer opportunity, or whether it's a paid job, you want to always put your best foot forward, because you never know who's watching. And I think that that's still very true today, because it's probably when I least expected it, but some job opportunities had come up, because they had seen firsthand what my work ethic looked like. And some were in volunteer settings, some were in my career and my day job, and you just you just really never know. And, you know, to be honest, to be genuine.

I think earlier on in my career was so hard for me, because I was trying not to make any mistakes. And if you are, if you have good communication with your boss, and your leadership, you know, you can take some risks, and there may be some mistakes. But if they're behind you, if they're supporting you and what you're trying to accomplish, and you're on the same page on this and you're communicating it, really, it's so hard to say that you could fail in any of these opportunities. Because as long as you have that support and that dialogue in that relationship, it just changes everything.

And I guess as you get older, too, you know, you stop caring how much people think about you, too, and you're willing perhaps to take a little bit more risk. And then at some point in your career, it's like, "Oh, my gosh, you don't really want to see too much change anymore, right?" So, it's you kind of juggling a lot of different things. But I learned a lot from these bosses. And I'm still learning. I learned something new all the time. And I'm still learning. So, I love it.

Courtney: I love that lesson that you learned. And I think showing up imperfectly, which means authentically is such a freeing experience. I remember talking to my therapist a couple of years ago, and she was introducing me to the idea of being free. And it was freedom in all regards.

So, it was like free to just be yourself free to not be perfect free. Because those are things that I've struggled with in my life as well. Not even just career, but in my personal world, wanting to be liked and wanting to get it right and wanting to win and succeed. There's a very loud achiever that lives within me and I credit that drive for a lot of what I've accomplished. But I also acknowledge that with ambition, and the need to really do things right and do things well, and impress people around you, comes with some of those challenges, too.

So, I really love that you bring that up, because it just reminds me of this concept of what would life feel like for you if you were truly free to just be yourself. And I do think, personally, speaking that, that is something that I get closer to, I think every single year of my life. And I do think that a lot of people experience that as they age where they don't care as much about what people think. And they feel free and they feel empowered to just show up as who they are.

So, I do want to ask you as we go into 2023, this, our last episode of the year. How do you intend to show up in this next year? What does that look like for you?

Joe: I'm excited. This was a great year. I do a lot of reflecting, and this was actually a really fantastic year and I have so much to be grateful for. And it kind of gives me this fuel and this ambition to just keep going and do more, and I'm excited for what's to come and I think there are endless opportunities for all of us and I think part of what I love, too, is that, you know, when I started in this industry, we definitely had the support that we needed, and coming out of COVID.

And where we are today, it's like, we are celebrating each other's success. And we're celebrating women, we're celebrating our minority communities, we're celebrating the LGBT community in ways that I had never seen before. And it feels like our opportunities are really limitless. And in some regards, I'm excited. I really am.

I think there are so many skill sets that I will give MPI credit for. I will give all my previous employers, previous bosses, you know, people that I've had the pleasure of working with, that have taught me so much, and all of this knowledge and all of the skills and everything that has led me to where I am now.

I love being able to make an impact somewhere. And I'm looking now at opportunities where I can volunteer to my community in the industry, and where I can make the biggest impact now is. It's just so rewarding to be able to bring that to the table. And honestly, I'm seeing now more than ever, our industry associations and a lot of nonprofits, they really do need the support. They need the time, they need people that are passionate and that are willing to put in the work, and you know, it takes a special person to give up their time because time is really so important to all of us. But when you find that special person that's passionate about it and willing to do it, it's everything.

So, I can't wait to see what's to come next year and just keep plugging along and pushing myself, and in maybe in some new environments, too?

Courtney: Well, I'm excited, too. So, I think we're definitely on the same wavelength. You used the word legacy, and that led me to one of our final questions for you. When people think of you, at the end of your life, and they're remembering their experience with you, what do you want your legacy to be? What do you hope that people will say?

Joe: Well, it's hard to answer that question now. Because, well, we'll see what big people think about me 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now, right? But, um, you know, I hope that people will remember me for my commitment to the community, and just how deeply I care about our industry, our colleagues, our friends, our family. That's really everything for me.

I've been so fortunate to have a great family and friends and mentors and industry friends. And I just want to give back to that as much as I can. And, you know, there are things that we accomplished down the road, like through MPI, in the city of Manhattan Beach, that I'm so proud of their art installations that I believe will be there for years to come that may be part of that legacy, including the rainbow crosswalk in Manhattan Beach.

But honestly, I think when it comes down to is just, I hope people remember the way that I made them feel and how I treated, you know, all of our colleagues and friends.

Courtney: I wish that our audience could see my face. So, I'm literally just staring at Joe adoringly, because I just, I feel like you have built that legacy. And if you were to not change a thing over the next 30 years, which I'm sure you will continue to evolve and grow, but if you were to do nothing different, I think that your legacy has already been built.

And I definitely can say that, from my short and limited experience with you, like, mission accomplished, my friend. I really admire you and I think that you have already done so many great things and inspired so many people and really have done it in a way that's kind, and I think that that is the most important thing. And I think that you show up that way every single day.

Joe: Well, I hope you know that the feeling's mutual, and you know another thing; really you never know who you're inspiring in our industry, and you, my friend, you have inspired our industry like no other, so thank you.

Courtney: Okay, well I'm gonna go cry now. So final question. I'm just gonna go cry. Thank you, Joe. I really appreciate you.

Joe: I mean that. I mean that very genuinely.

Courtney: I know you do and truly I have to say especially since this is our last podcast for the year, I am so grateful to have this project, and to have a partner in Meetings Today. And I will pitch them and support them and cheer them on every single day until the end of time, because having the opportunity to sit down and have really organic, raw conversations about anything under the sun with really incredible people in our industry is such a gift.

So, I'm excited for next year, and for the guests that we're going to have. We've already got a couple lined up that are super exciting, and just powerful people and inspiring people.

So, this is like such a great way to end the year and push us into the next. And I do have one final question for you, and I just want to...I always want to give my guests an opportunity to leave the audience with any lasting words or advice.

So, if you have one final piece of advice for our audience, as they exit this year and move into the next, what would you like to leave them with?

Joe: Gosh, you know, if you love your industry, if you love what you're doing, if you love your community, just give back, really, it's just so rewarding. And you get so much more out of it than you can even imagine, right? When you love your community and you love those people around you, you take care of it, you protect it, you try to make it better. And that's really, you know, what it's all about. And be kind.

I think we're all trying to know, we're all still learning. We're all trying to grow and accomplish what we want in our lives. Just be kind. [It makes] such a difference, doesn't it?

Courtney: It really does. Well, I want to thank you so much, Joe, for sharing your stories with us today, and all of the incredible advice and wisdom. And I of course want to thank you, audience, for tuning in today and all year long. I would love if you would share what you loved from this episode with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by following at @MeetingsToday and me at @Courtneyonstage, and be sure to never miss an episode by subscribing to Dare to Interrupt on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and more.

Be bold, be kind and keep daring to interrupt my friends. Until next time.


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About the author
Courtney Stanley

Courtney is a keynote speaker, writer, podcaster and career success coach with a background in experience design, community engagement and leadership development. Courtney is the host of Meetings Today’s “Dare to Interrupt,” a podcast that provides a platform for the event, hospitality and tourism industry’s most influential and successful women to share their stories of adversity and success, unfiltered.