Staff Highlight: Chris Yueh
Before he officially started last month as Philanthropy Southeast’s director of meetings and events, Chris Yueh had the opportunity to engage in some early learning by attending last year’s Annual Meeting.
It was certainly a learning experience – though not the one Chris was expecting.
While the cancellation of the conference deprived Chris of the chance to see the Annual Meeting in action, he says the experience provided invaluable insights about the organization he was about to join.
“As disappointed as I was to see the cancellation of the Annual Meeting, it was evident that the Philanthropy Southeast staff, Board of Trustees, and member volunteers are among the hardest working and passionate people that I have witnessed,” he said. “It was impressive how everyone came together in support of each other to overcome an unthinkable situation.”
Now, as he turns his attention to planning the 2023 Annual Meeting and a full calendar of other programs and events, Chris says he’s focused on the members who make those convenings come alive.
“Throughout my career, I’ve always strived to look at events and meetings through the lens of the attendee,” he said. “I slowly learned that people meet to network and/or exchange ideas. What drew me to the opportunity at Philanthropy Southeast was the chance to improve the attendee experience at the Annual Meeting – to make it more engaging and experiential.”
Chris’ career includes nearly a decade of events and meeting planning. Most recently, he served as director of programs for the Atlanta Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
“Over the course of eight years, I was able to flex my creative and problem-solving skills by organizing monthly meetings, planning annual signature events, and even executing the complete revamp of the regional conference for the association,” Chris said.
While Chris studied chemical engineering at Georgia Tech, he said his interest in planning events was evident early on – he just hadn’t realized it was a career option. But since making the shift into his current career, he’s committed himself to understanding every facet of what makes an event successful, from negotiating large contracts to those who work in the background, often unnoticed.
“I spent a couple of years as a contractor for event management companies to learn about the industry and even worked as a busboy to learn the ins and outs of the restaurant business,” Chris said. “I do firmly believe that all my past work and life experiences have led me to become the effective and thoughtful planner that I am today.”
Away from work, Chris has plenty of interests – or, at least, interests-in-waiting.
“I enjoy traveling, hiking, camping, walking along the beach, watching movies, and reading science fiction and nonfiction on World War II – all of which I hope to return to doing one day after raising my two daughters,” he said. “My passion is playing and watching tennis. My dream is to attend each of the grand slams and the Laver Cup.”