by By Kaylee Hultgren | May 01, 2009


JBland"I can't handle too much routine, so I enjoy having creative freedom and a diverse, dynamic role."


James Bland, 26, is the recipient of the International Association of Conference Centers' first global scholarship, which honors emerging young leaders in the conference center industry. A graduate of the University of Bristol in South West England, Bland now serves as marketing manager for the Sundial Group, a U.K.-based collection of conference centers, where he has been employed since his 17th birthday.

What do you like best about your job? Doing something that makes a difference -- either a campaign that's successful, a new way of working that reduces costs, or a process that improves upon something existing. I'm  not a person who can handle too much routine or repetition, so I enjoy having creative freedom and a diverse, dynamic role.
What are some of the major trends in the conference industry today? Most noticeable for me at the moment is the continuing erosion of lead times. Companies will think nothing of organizing a meeting for 30 people at just a week's notice, whereas perhaps two or three years ago, that would have been unthinkable.

Where do you plan to take your career from here? At 26, I probably have to face the fact that I am never going to be an astronaut, a ghostbuster, rock star, superhero or any of the other things I wanted to be when I was 10. I think joining the Beatles is unlikely, too. At the moment, I am concentrating on completing a masters degree in professional marketing.