by Loren G. Edelstein | February 1, 2018

Loren Edelstein, editor in chief of Meetings & Conventions magazineWe all know that meetings have the power to educate, drive the economy and propel advances in many industries. But this month's issue of M&C is devoted to showing how meetings can accomplish all of that while also changing the course of one's personal and professional future.

Our annual "Rising Stars" feature celebrates the promise, enthusiasm and real achievements of 15 highly driven meeting professionals. It's interesting to see the very different paths they took to find this business, and how decisions they made paved the way to truly stellar careers.

I particularly love the story of Ly Thuy Mai. In August 2016, she attended Destination Caribbean, held in Aruba and hosted by our parent company, Northstar Meetings Group. There, she ventured off-site one evening and met Mark, her boyfriend-to-be. She also laid the groundwork for launching her own independent planning business, Sway Event Design + Consulting, four months later. Fast forward to October 2017, at Destination Caribbean again, this time in Grand Cayman, where Mai was thrilled to represent her new business -- and to accept Mark's marriage proposal. What a difference a meeting makes!

I, too, met my husband at an event -- the June 15, 1991, reunion of the Albany Student Press. I wasn't planning to go, but my cousin's bat mitzvah was the next day, also in Albany, so it seemed like destiny.

How did a meeting or event change your life? Drop me an email! I look forward to reading your stories -- and sharing them online.