Erica Peitler was a bit of a wonder drug for the pharmaceutical industry. “Captivated by how drugs work,” Peitler began her career as a pharmacist before transitioning to marketing and brand management roles at several pharmaceutical giants. While she seamlessly ran multimillion-dollar divisions, Peitler was especially known for her ability as a transformational change agent. She was the one to bring in when a company or division was veering off course.

It’s fitting that helping companies and employees turn things around is what she did best, since eight years ago Peitler turned that microscope on herself. She took a step back from her powerful pharmaceutical career, took a year off to detox from the corporate world and filled it with everything from a soul-searching trip to Costa Rica to an academic stint at Harvard. She came away with a sharpened focus on what she wanted her next chapter to look like. “Just like I was captivated by how drugs work, I was equally fascinated by how leadership works. I think it’s why I went into business (and not research) in the first place,” she says.

She rewrote her career plan and was certified as a leadership performance coach. It’s been eight years, but she’s never looked back once. Today, Peitler is a sought-after speaker, two-time author with a brand-new book: Leadership Rigor! Breakthrough Performance & Productivity Leading Yourself, Teams & Organizations (available through Amazon) and a leadership coach hired by Fortune 500 CEOs. “I’m so lucky to be able to do this,” she says. “It’s a very rewarding career.”

While she tailors each speech to the particular audience, expect this fiery New Jerseyan, named one of the Best 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ, to shine a light on emotional intelligence and what it takes to be a trusted advisor. “Leadership can be vague,” she says, but her talks provide tangible insights. Peitler says she is “passionate about making things practical” for her audiences.

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 

 

Just like the rest of the world, the hospitality and travel industries slammed to a halt when the pandemic hit last March. Some sectors within them had built-in solutions to focus on, such as hotels limiting capacities and restaurants focusing on takeout and delivery. But for many businesses within the related meetings and events realm, there were no natural alternatives to turn to.

 

Event planning and experience design go hand in hand. Just ask Maria Moyano, experience designer for the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), based in NYC. “I think that everything is an event. You can go have coffee, and that’s an event. Everything is also an experience. You feel happy, and that’s an experience. It’s about what you are trying to get out of the event—and then how does an experience elevate it,” says Moyano.