Talented and Under 40: The Man Behind Meetings - Visit Singapore Official

Talented and Under 40: The Man Behind Meetings

Published: 20 February 2019

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Sam Lay, 38, Senior Director for Asia Pacific, CWT Meetings & Events. Sam Lay believes the fastest way to success is to first help others succeed.

“Being good to people that you meet or work with often rewards you in ways beyond your imagination. In every job that I have worked in, I have been very fortunate to have had great mentors who taught me the value of treating others well, especially in a ‘people industry’ like ours,” he shares. “It’s what makes you stand out as a person.”

Having graduated from James Cook University in international tourism, Sam’s career path has been an interesting and varied one. He has taken on a wide spectrum of roles and responsibilities across organisations, industries and even countries in the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry. His career experience ranges from events management, corporate travel and destination marketing, to content production for conferences, business research and sales and development.  

In addition, Sam had a six-month stint in Nagoya while he was with Singapore Tourism Board, and a three-year posting in Shanghai as Director for Greater China at BCD Meetings and Events. Both experiences allowed him to be exposed to the global MICE ecosystem and hone the art of collaborating with people of different backgrounds and cultures. 


In his current capacity as Senior Director for Asia Pacific at CWT Meetings & Events, Sam works with a regional team to deliver consultancy services and design customised programs that help clients better manage their meetings and events.

“Compared to the Americas and European markets, consolidated travel and meeting programs in the Asia Pacific have been somewhat blooming at a later stage,” Sam says. However, travel and procurement specialists are increasingly seeing the benefits of consolidation as opposed to isolation.

“Ultimately, what we aim to do is to deliver high quality meetings, provide visibility and control of spend, reduce risk and leave attendees feeling happy.”

Sam believes in building a strong team culture, so that every team member can function at his best and in turn, gives his best to his clients. Where possible, he makes the effort to meet his country managers face-to-face, and often outside of the office setting, so as to help them feel at ease.

He believes it is important to give his team room to grow as individuals, and he sees them as peers that he can consult with, and even learn from. “Whenever I am stumped by a challenging situation, I always go back to my team to brainstorm for solutions. It is important to keep an open mind to ideas and give honest feedback in a respectful and constructive way. They keep me going in tough times,” he says. 

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