• From planner to coach and consultant
• Lessons learned
Dana L. Saal was born and raised in Illinois, where she still resides today. She is a past president and volunteer for the Illinois Society of Association Executives (ISAE), a member of PCMA Heartland Chapter, and volunteers with SPIN, the Senior Planner Industry Network, most recently as a member of the convention planning committee.
While contemplating a college degree, Saal wanted a career where she could “organize things.” Meeting planning wasn’t a common term in 1979 and thus her degree in Photojournalism and her Father’s involvement with the Illinois Press Association placed her in the right place at the right time to interview for the association’s newly created meeting planner position. “I couldn’t believe that such a job existed and couldn’t wait to start. I was googly-eyed by the time the interviewer said, ‘You’d do everything down to picking centerpieces for the tables,’” expressed Saal.
From 1986-2000 Saal worked full time in association planning and management and was an independent planner until 2016.