7 AM: After getting the girls ready it’s time to get out the door; one stop at daycare and the next at middle school.
8 AM: Provided the girls got off smoothly, arrive at the office in De Pere, WI. A quick hello to the other three planners in my department and I begin attacking emails while eating a quick breakfast of oatmeal at my desk.
8:45 AM: Someone calls but I’m on another line. I see my red voicemail light come on, then the same person emails, and 30 seconds later comes the Instant Message. The reason behind the urgency: they need to add 10 chairs for a meeting 8 months from now. Make notes to up seating by 10 and go back to the meeting I was working on.
9 AM: Regularly scheduled conference call with two partners who insist on speaking weekly to discuss their meeting for 100 people that isn’t scheduled for another 12 months. Breathe deeply and go with it… red napkins or blue napkins?
10 AM: Continue work on emails which can include any or all of the following: sending out RFPs, confirming hotels and details with business partners, sending details to hotels, confirming sites and managing attendee hotel manifests.
10:30 AM: While reviewing and approving airfare, I realize that someone booked a $1,500 non-stop flight versus the $300 flight with one layover. I call to negotiate with them to change the flight and save the company $1,200; which is sometimes easier said than done.
12 PM: Lunch of soup or sandwich (made the night before at home) at desk while simultaneously doing research on new products, industry trends and other services that might be helpful for the company and/or peers.
1 PM - 3 PM: Call backs to all new incoming meeting requests and confirming existing meetings assigned. Schedule intake calls/meetings with new meeting requests to get details specs so I can determine needs, send out RFPs and schedule any online meetings (using Humana’s internal Skype like program).
2 PM: Due to the number of meetings all around the U.S., most meetings are planned virtually and not onsite. In this case the meeting is in Dallas and the phone rings asking me to have the room temperature turned down because it’s too hot. Call hotel and make request for the business partners who are onsite.
2:30 PM: Brainstorm with other planners in the department for issues we’re struggling with and get advice and support… enough to handle the next call.
2:45 PM: Reconciling bills, discover a mystery bar bill for $2k that wasn’t planned for, I begin detective work to find out the who, what, when, and where.
3 PM: Call comes in to cancel meeting space right after signing and returning the contract. Make the immediate pleading call to the hotel to release space and try to avoid cancellation fees by negotiating a promised rebooking.
3:30 PM: Receive an email request from business partner to add 50 more hotel rooms at a hotel which is sold out. The business partner insists they want to stay at the same hotel. Another pleading call to try and come up with the rooms at the current hotel and tentatively reserving overflow hotel rooms in the event that the groups needs them.
4 PM: Back to returning emails and phone calls before it’s time to head home for the day.