After 13 years as the meetings and events director for the National Association of Sports Commissions, Beth Hecquet, CMP, CMM, took a leap of faith and seized an opportunity with The E.W. Scripps Company to become program manager of events for Scripps National Spelling Bee, which airs on ESPN each May from Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington, D.C. Hecquet is now responsible for the championship the world sees, the weeklong convention for the spellers and their families, and coordinating the regional bees that take place around the country leading up to the national event. One year into her new position, Hecquet reflects on how this change has paid off and how her sports planning background comes into play.
What prompted your job change?
It was the right place and right time to try something new to get those creative juices flowing again, to grow and expand professionally. But it was a little odd going from an office of four to an office of 400 people, and going from a small office in a suburb of Cincinnati to downtown.
You started this new job in February 2015, and the National Bee was only three months later. What was it like walking into the bee midcycle?
I walked in ready to drink from the fire hose. I definitely got a lot of compliments of how I handled myself coming into the event at that point in the process, but I always joke that no matter what’s happening, the chairs have to be set, the breakfast has to be served, the lights have to be on and the doors have to be open. But at the same time, I was in absolute high gear always trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything. So hopefully this year will have a lot more familiarity.