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San Diego Convention Center's Young Leaders Receive Industry Honors

Two of the San Diego Convention Center's up and coming professionals are receiving one of the industry's top honors. Bahiah Odeh-Eppig and Daren Smylie are heading to Nashville on August 7th for VenueConnect 2017 to be recognized as  30 Under 30 honorees by the International Association of Venue Management (IAVM).

They are part of the third class of the IAVM Foundation's 30 Under 30.

"This group truly represents the talent, passion and drive we all have for the industry," said Bob Hunter, Board of Trustee Chair.

Bahiah Odeh-Eppig is a Tourism and Hospitality Management graduate from Temple University and has been at the San Diego Convention Center for four years. As a facility services supervisor, she has a reputation for exceeding client expectations and addressing high volumes of event attendees and staff at a fast pace, with high standards and numerous, competing deadlines.

She has created a "team" environment among a varied group of strong personalities and she does it with ease. Depending on event activity, she may have up to 50 workers reporting to her. She is also a trainer for new hires and all department equipment. Staff that are older in age seek Bahiah out for her advice and wisdom. She treats all with equal care and respect and where she leads others follow willingly.

"I dedicate my success to the staff that have taken me under their wing and have taught me everything I know about the building," said Bahiah. "Without them, I would still be lost in the back of house somewhere. One of the favorite parts of my day is coming in and saying hi to everyone. I have different, goofy hello rituals with the staff (similar to a secret high five). It is a time when we get to have fun with each other and share our personalities, even if only for a few moments before we get to work."

Daren Smylie graduated from San Diego State University in 2010 and has been in the industry since 2008 when he worked as a house manager for Viejas Arena on campus. He is an event manager with dedication and passion for our industry. He has a goal to one day be a leader of a facility or venue.

He strives to find ways to increase his industry knowledge. He pairs that knowledge with innovation and creativity.  For example, five years ago, he was responsible for initiating the use of iPads by our event managers in day to day tasks.  This has increased efficiency and mobility because work can be conducted exclusively from the floor, while it has reduced our carbon footprint by using less paper.  Currently, Daren serves as chair for a new committee that has the significant task of streamlining the way employees corporate-wide can access all important documents.

Karen Totaro, Executive Vice President and General Manager nominated both Bahiah and Daren.

"Bahiah and Daren are shining examples of how we encourage our staff to live out our core values at the San Diego Convention Center," said Totaro.  "We congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition and thank them for their everyday courage and dedication to service."

Bahiah and Daren along with their 28 fellow awardees will receive complimentary registration at the 92nd annual VenueConnect Annual Conference and Tradeshow in Nashville, Tennessee. 

"I'm looking forward to networking and getting to know the challenges and opportunities that other people in the industry face," said Daren.

VenueConnect celebrates the very best of our industry and addresses the opportunities and challenges relevant to venue executives, managers, and personnel from a spectrum of public assembly facilities around the world.

Rita de la Fuente's picture
Posted by Rita de la Fuente, on July 24, 2017
Between Meetings, News and Developments

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