SENIOR EVENT SALES REPRESENTATIVE, MCCAW HALL AT SEATTLE CENTER AND PRESIDENT-ELECT OF MPI WASHINGTON STATE CHAPTER
Transitioning from a job as a stage manager in the New York theater scene to an event professional in Seattle may seem like an unusual journey but, for Ryan Davis, it was a natural progression. “Putting on a wedding or other event is pretty much the same as putting on a theatrical production,” he explains.
After he graduated with an MFA degree in Stage Management, working in New York was the ideal starting point for his journey westward. When he felt it was time to move on from New York, he landed a job with a catering company in Minnesota. Eventually, he found his way to the Pacific Northwest and a position at the Seattle Center. As the Senior Event Sales Representative, Davis is responsible for booking a variety of events into the numerous venues at the Center’s McCaw Hall. “I love the variety. We have a great mix of clients, from nationally-known stage performances to local lectures and corporate meetings,” he says.
When Davis was new to the Seattle region, and wanting to grow his professional network, he became involved with the Washington Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). “When I joined the team at McCaw Hall, I decided that membership in MPI was a good way to develop connections with people in the local industry,” he explains. Davis joined the MPI chapter five years ago, and he has been an active volunteer in the organization from the day he started.
Determined to get to know as many local people as possible in the industry, Davis volunteered to assist the organization as a member of the Marketing Committee. From his help on that committee, his enthusiasm for the organization led him to look for additional ways to stay involved. Eventually joining the Board of Directors, he has now progressed to become the chapter’s President-elect.
Davis says that he believes there are three important benefits anyone in the meetings and events industry will gain by joining MPI. First, there are wonderful professional development opportunities. “MPI offers top-notch educational sessions, so members can learn about all aspects of the industry.” He adds, “Secondly, the association offers wonderful opportunities for networking. It has allowed me to connect with industry professionals, not only from the local community but people throughout the nation.” The third reason he cites is that it can enhance your business. He states that the connections he has made through MPI have had a positive impact on his business.
Beyond becoming a member, Davis encourages everyone to volunteer with the organization. “You get out of it what you put into it, and there are a lo of ways to be involved,” he says. “There are positions open for everybody even if they don’t have a lot of time to devote,” he adds.
McCaw Hall at Seattle Center is an all-purpose venue with a wealth of facilities that can accommodate any type of gathering. Seating 2,900, the Susan Brotman Auditorium is one Seattle’s premier performance venues. Hosting everything from the Seattle Opera to well-known touring performers, it can lend an air of class and sophistication to any event. With state-of-the-art technical equipment, the Auditorium can support even the most complex presentation. WiFi is available throughout the Seattle Center complex.
Additional facilities include the 380-seat Nesholm Family Lecture Hall, that is ideal for a mid-size meeting or conference. A variety of additional rooms and lobby spaces provide flexibility for any meeting. A general session in the Lecture Hall can then break into smaller sessions in other areas of the venue. A variety of meeting rooms, the Donor Rooms, can accommodate smaller groups for meetings and retreats. McCaw Hall’s onsite catering department can provide everything from break-time refreshments to a full-service plated dinner for several hundred.
The Seattle Center location offers groups an abundance of alternatives to create a special gathering. “We regularly work with the other Seattle Center venues such as the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) and the Space Needle to combine activities. We can even coordinate a block party that encompasses the open spaces of the Center,” says Davis. A conference lunch break at the Space Needle or a post-conference visit to MoPOP will take any conference to the next level.