Q&A: SITE's New CEO Shares Goals

Annette Gregg discusses the incentive travel industry, current challenges and her days planning programs.  

Photo Credit: Dear World

In October, Annette Gregg, CMM, was named CEO of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence. Gregg, a familiar face in the industry, who most recently served as chief revenue officer for Meeting Professionals International, is SITE's first official leader in two years, following the resignation of Didier Scaillet in 2020; the group was helmed in the interval by interim executive director Rebecca Wright. A few days before Gregg started her new role, Incentive spoke with her about her goals for the organization, challenges the industry faces and more. 

What's your background in the incentive travel industry?
As vice president of conference experiences for LPL Financial, we ran two large incentive programs each year, for 800 people and 2,500 people. And in past agency experience and at PRA, much of our product mix was incentives. It's an exciting and incredibly creative field, and I've always loved the opportunity to craft unforgettable experiences for participants.

What immediate and long-term goals do you have for SITE?
Like most professional associations, SITE experienced a membership downturn during the pandemic. We’re seeing that membership grow again, and one of my primary goals is to continue that growth along with increasing our overall community. Regardless of membership, SITE is the premier voice for the incentive industry, and we provide education and resources for this global community. Through strategic regional partnerships, we can grow this global reach.

Also, one of our main touch points is at the chapter level, so we’ll explore the tools and support that chapters need to continue to thrive. Secondly, our leadership team will focus on a strategic plan to ensure the [group's] financial health and positive revenue growth. Thirdly, we will continue to be a voice for the incentive industry, aligning with other global associations to promote open travel and governmental support. We’ll also explore ways to connect our industry more powerfully to goals in sustainability and DEI, to be true agents of change.

Prior to joining SITE, you were part of MPI's leadership. How are incentive professionals’ current concerns different from meetings professionals’?
I think there are more concerns that are similar than different between the two sectors. We are still facing issues related to supply chain and staffing — including flight delays and cancellations, and hotel housekeeping and service delivery. These threaten the qualifier experience and also affect the program planning itself. We’re also seeing longer response times from smaller companies, which intermediaries like DMCs and tour operators rely on for fulfillment. Incentive and event organizers are juggling these longer response times and, at the same time, are also facing shorter planning time frames. With a threat of global recession and inflation in major markets like North America and Western Europe, planners’ budgets are getting stretched.

Have you met many SITE members yet? What have you heard from them regarding what they want of the organization?
I've been involved with SITE via the Southern California chapter for years, and have many good friends that have been in leadership positions. I'm looking forward to their annual Holiday Event & Charity Gala in December, which usually brings together 1,000 people. It'll be a great opportunity for conversations and hearing from members. By 2025, nearly 75 percent of the workforce will be millennials. This will be a staggering shift from a workforce made up of primarily baby boomers. We need to look at our current members and our members of tomorrow (including those already connected with us through the SITE Young Leaders program) and make sure we are offering values that resonate with these different generations.