Catch up with Vivian Zhang

A people person, the director of MCI China thinks she landed the perfect job in conference management as she gets to interact with people from all walks of life

Vivian Zhang

How did you get started in business events?
I have always been fascinated with interacting with and understanding people from different cultures, so after I graduated with a masters degree in Social and Culture Anthropology, I chose a career that matched my interest and values.

I started off in Brussels, Belgium with a European PCO where I worked on a vast number of international conferences.

Vivian Zhang

Is work satisfying?
Although the PCO workload is heavy and complicated, there is a great sense of achievement when the conference outcome is successful.

Whenever I see intelligent people gather to promote and spread new ideas, showcase advanced technology, get consensus on industry resolutions, give newcomers a stage to shine, enhance the urban economy and increase someone’s visibility and reputation, it is very satisfying.

The more I immerse myself in the industry, the more I find myself knowing too little. So I have committed myself to absorbing new knowledge and skills during every moment of my career.

What is your main role at MCI China?
I am in charge of the overall operation and management of the PCO Division, and training is an important aspect.

How has the business events industry evolved?
There has been a big change in the overall environment. The industry is working hard to find new profit channels and breakthroughs. Competition is intense, especially in recent years. China’s strict compliance requirements have affected PCO business, and PCOs need to stay up-to-date and familiarise themselves with the changing compliance regulations across different industries and associations, as well as financial process, approval procedures, etc.

What challenges do you face at work?
The question we think about every day is how to remain competitive, and how to be an industry leader with leading innovations that other competitors strive to emulate.
PCOs are in a mature industry where many traditional practices have been used over the years, so we always strive to utilise the most advanced technology ahead of our competitors.

We introduced innovations – including face recognition technology registration, chip tracking of large data and 3D surgery live broadcast a few years ago – which are now widely used. On top of technological advances, we also constantly revamp our traditional service model to provide the best customer experience. We do not only have to learn new content, but also innovate and constantly step out of our comfort zone to explore the wider marketplace.

What motivates you?
I am an optimist. I believe that there are more solutions to be found than there are problems.

I am also thankful to MCI and my boss, Frankie Gao, for their trust and for giving me the platform and opportunity to do my best.

What do you do for fun?
I like to spend quality time with my family on my days off. I find time to travel around the world to visit new and fun places. I also do volunteer and charity work as well. As for my career, I just want to give my best in whatever I do, and see where this will take me.

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