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The Business of Meetings

Oct 12, 2021

We have the great pleasure of speaking to a rockstar in our industry today! Courtney Stanley has received many awards. She is a keynote speaker, an emcee, and the founder of the women-inspired podcast, Dare to Interrupt. Courtney started a business just before the pandemic and is full of ideas and optimism! She is joining us to share what she has learned about the importance of being authentic and understanding why you do what you are doing.

We hope you enjoy our inspiring conversation with Courtney today!

Courtney Stanley’s bio:

Courtney Stanley is recognized globally as an award-winning changemaker, keynote speaker, event emcee, and acclaimed creator of the women-inspired podcast, Dare to Interrupt. Courtney has spent ten years helping professionals, entrepreneurs, and organizations engage in game-changing, impactful conversations that empower individuals to tap into their true potential, improve team and culture dynamics, and drive meaningful change. Courtney is the youngest member to have ever been elected to Meeting Professionals International's (MPI) International Board of Directors. She is the recipient of Smart Meetings' 2020 Women in Events Entrepreneur Award, Meetings Today's 2019 & 2020 Trendsetter Award, MeetingsNet’s 2019 Changemaker Award, the Association for Women in Events (AWE) 2018 Disruptor Award, the 2015 MPI Chairman’s Award, and 2011 MPI RISE Award, named Collaborate and Connect Magazine’s 40 under 40 in 2011, and is recognized as one of the event industry’s most impactful change-makers. Courtney serves on the Events Industry Sexual Harassment Task Force, MPI's Women's Advisory Board, is a Meetings Mean Business Ambassador, and is the co-founder of the award-winning movement #MeetingsToo.

How Courtney joined the meetings and events industry

Courtney started university in the medical field, but after a year, a conversation with someone prompted her to look into a program at Central Michigan University with hospitality, event management, and international tourism. She loved the program after her first class, and she knew then that she wanted to be in the meetings and events industry.

Her first role

Her first role within the industry was an internship with the Country Music Association in Nashville, Tennessee. 


She later worked as part of the event marketing team for an event technology company based in Toronto, Canada, where she began to explore an area that was more strategic and more focused on marketing.

A side-hustler

Even when working for others, Courtney was always side-hustling. As her career progressed over the next eight years, that area continued to grow significantly. 

A leap of faith

The exponential possibility of growth and being able to do whatever she wanted to do eventually outweighed the security of working for someone else. Courtney also realized that the side-hustles she had grown excited her more than anything else, so she decided to take a leap of faith and become an entrepreneur.

How to create an authentic brand

A good place to start with building an authentic brand is getting to know who you are, what you are skilled at, and the value you have to offer. You need to know how you want to be seen and if that aligns with how you feel and who you are.

You cannot please everyone

Know that you will never be able to please everyone. Rather than trying to be what you think others want you to be, just be yourself and do the things that feel right for you. Be proud of who you are, and the right people are sure to come along.

Respect and kindness

If Courtney sees anyone not operating without the right level of respect or kindness toward others, she knows that something is going on with them that needs their attention.


Your worth is not connected to your work. Courtney has learned that it is vital that those who have been let go or furloughed understand that they are not their job and are still valuable.

Rebuilding confidence

Courtney encourages those who have lost their jobs to look objectively at themselves and make a checklist of all the skills, experiences, and strengths they have, personally and professionally. Getting some feedback from supportive individuals can help to rebuild lost confidence.

Overcoming life’s setbacks

There is always a lot to be learned from difficult situations. There are many silver linings and opportunities to grow from any setback you might experience in your life.

Being an entrepreneur

There was a lot about entrepreneurship that Courtney did not know when she went into it. She feels that even though being an entrepreneur is risky and uncomfortable, it is still wonderful! She strongly believes that the most growth is to be found in discomfort.

Hard times

Most entrepreneurs go through hard times when they wonder why they are doing what they do and question whether or not they are doing the right thing. When that happens, it can be helpful and encouraging to speak to an entrepreneur with more experience.

A tough year

It took a tough year of grit, going back to her why and her purpose, and getting to understand who she is to get Courtney to where she is today.

Dreaming big

Dreaming big, putting her goals down on paper, and feeling everything from the inside out was the fuel that kept Courtney’s engine going last year when there was no income coming in.


Coaching others to navigate the pain of rejection she went through when she lost her job makes Courtney feel purposeful, and it helps those she coaches feel more purposeful.

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