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Use Today’s Crisis for Strategic Career Planning

Tuft Associate Mary McMahon advised more than 100 business event professionals participating in a recent PCMA Webinar that “now is the time to position yourself for your next career move within your organization or for your next opportunity.”

McMahon was the guest speaker for PCMA’s Zoom webinar entitled, The State of Recruitment: Strategize to Stabilize Your Career.  PCMA is the world’s largest and most recognized network of business event strategists with 7,000 members, 17 chapters, and activities in 30 countries.

“We’re now witnessing the greatest global change we’ve ever seen. So much is unknown and unsettling. But remember history: Unprecedented change can also trigger great creativity and exceptional new opportunities,” says McMahon, who leads successful Tuft searches for chief executives and senior management positions.

McMahon outlined a number of significant changes and outcomes that are already reinventing the American workplace:

  • Conferences, meetings, trade shows, and other in-person events won’t happen until people once again feel safe about getting together in large groups, traveling on planes, and staying in hotels.
  • Thanks to available technology (Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype, etc.), business can be conducted virtually—and productively.
  • Companies and organizations now see that employees can work from home, so telework is no longer just an option. It’s a necessity as employers decide, or are forced, to reduce overhead costs by shrinking office space.


These and many other dramatic workplace shifts can also mean new opportunities to advance careers or carve new professional paths. Here are some of McMahon’s key predictions:

  • Online education and e-learning are “nuclear hot” right now. Every organization is already expanding online delivery of professional content and education programs. This will only escalate and require even more experts who know technology platforms, learning channels, and more.  
  • Certification and testing are important—and will grow.  Many professionals need certification to meet job requirements, while others will opt for credentials as a way to stand out in the market. Also, an increased focus on sanitizing and virus-prevention protocols could trigger new types of certification or safety standards.     
  • Demand will shift from specialists to generalists. If you’re a meeting planner, now’s the time to identify what else you’ve done—worked in membership, marketing, education, sales, and so on—to offer an even broader skillset to an employer. Leverage your skills and talents to be valuable across multiple functions.
  • Pay attention to your heart’s desire.  Yes, this matters, especially because staying at home has turned us inward to reflect on what really interests and inspires us.  Take a good look at those interests to see what might trigger a new path or generate new income.
  • Be ready to pivot. With staff furloughs and reductions, salary freezes, and other major changes, employers will value even more those staff who are flexible and willing to take on other responsibilities and be an all-around asset.

McMahon advises: “There’s no going back. Much of what ​we did before no longer exists, so it’s time to prepare for a different future.”  

Learn more about our work at Tuft & Associates to connect results-focused employers with top-quality candidates.  Email: search@tuftassoc.com