Natalie Ciarallo’s qualifications for the 2012 Industry Rising Star Award are, in a word, stellar. As program manager at Pareto, she consistently demonstrated leadership and a keen desire to become an ambassador for our industry (in December, she joined TD Wealth as event coordinator). While a student in Ryerson University’s Hospitality & Tourism Management program, Natalie gained hands-on industry experience through her involvement in associations, student groups and charity events. As a recent graduate, she guest-lectured for Ryerson professor Judy Healy in classes devoted to the planning and management of meetings, conferences and conventions, and the business aspects of incentive travel.
Natalie shared with over 100 students her experience entering the industry and how the skills she learned as a student fit into the day-to-day operations of a planner and program manager. Subsequent to those guest lectures, she helped create an internship program at Pareto for university students interested in the incentive-travel industry. As of May, 2012, Pareto’s first student intern successfully completed her internship, with a second intern slated to start this fall.
To expand her knowledge base, Natalie also works part-time for Marla Brown Designs Inc., an event design and rental company. By assisting onsite, she keeps her finger on the pulse of event-design and decor trends, giving her valuable insight, which she then applies to the events and programs she plans globally.
For the last two years, Natalie has been a member of MPI Toronto; she has sat on the communications committee, as well as contributing and editing articles for MEETING magazine.
Earlier this year, she earned a nomination for a literary award for the article ‘Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone’, published last year in MEETING magazine..
Natalie was also a committed member of the Pareto School Pride Program. Pareto works with Free the Children to raise money for training and professional development opportunities for teachers in Kenya’s Masai Mara region.
In April, 2011, Natalie took the lead with two fellow students (who are now industry colleagues) in organizing an artisanal food tasting and silent auction for 100 guests, raising over $8,000 for School Pride. In addition, she assists the School Pride Team in other ways, for instance, with awareness initiatives.
Natalie has put her planning expertise to good use in other ways, such as volunteering in 2010 as the lead conference planner for Media Access Canada, which sought to educate broadcast professionals on how to prepare for upcoming license-renewal hearings. Though that conference featured many unknown variables, Natalie rose to the challenge, booking the venue and coordinating speakers, delegates, volunteers and catering.
Q: Value. What do you bring to the table?
A: I think that being fairly new to the industry, I bring an eager approach to learn from some of the best in the industry. Working at an organization like Pareto has given me a chance to dive into the industry. I’ve had the opportunity to put my own spin on the services and solutions we provide to clients. It’s that combination of opportunity and creativity that has allowed me to develop my skillset and grow as a solutions-oriented manager.
Q: The Competition. How do you measure up?
A: Not to sound naïve, but I don’t consider others as competition and I am not looking to be in competition with others, since I consider those who are highly motivated and successful to be opportunities for me to further develop within my career. Being able to work and collaborate with people of great skill and tremendous work ethic is something that keeps me striving to be the best I can be.
The Rising Star Award recognizes a planner or supplier, with two to five years experience in the industry, who has demonstrated leadership and the desire to become an ambassador for our industry.