Director of Meetings & Events
Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS)
I graduated from UNLV Hotel Administration School in 1990 and worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years before deciding to become a meeting planner in 2005 and earning my CMP in 2007. I wish someone would have told me the amount of hours we would have to put in and that once meeting planning ‘gets in your blood’ you can’t get seem to shake it. I also didn’t realize how physically demanding our job is, especially on site. It is not just the standing or walking for 16 hours for four to five days in a row, it is the lifting of boxes, and moving signage or luggage, etc. I also don’t think meeting planners get the respect or attention we deserve.
The best part of my job is the people I get to meet. My association hires premier speakers for our events so I have met President Clinton, Tony Blair, Ben Stein, Condoleezza Rice, Malcolm Gladwell and so many others. This year we are lucky to have comedian Dennis Miller and author Michael Lewis. As the planner, I am the one who gets to meet/greet these folks upon arrival, walk them to their rooms and actually spend some quality time with them prior to going on stage. Not many people get that opportunity!
Minnesota HomeCare Association
When I entered this industry in 1985, I wish I had known that you are only as good as the information you receive. You need to ask, ask and ask! I’m a lot mellower these days. I can be confident that I have the information needed for a successful event. I became a CMP in 1989. Today, the single most enjoyable part of my job is seeing how well everyone enjoys the event.
Corporate Sales Manager
Global Spectrum, Sioux Falls Convention Center
When I entered this industry in 2002, I wish I had known that sometimes it is ok to advise a client that your venue is not the right venue for their event, if your facility cannot meet their program needs. I became a CMP in 2011. Today, the single most enjoyable part of my job is knowing that I can make a difference by demonstrating my passion for the industry and sincere care for each client, one event at a time.
Association of Legal Administrators
When I entered this industry in 1986, I wish I had known what attrition was. The first meeting for which I had sole planning responsibilities was held in Dallas in 1990. The association I was with at the time had 100 rooms booked at an overflow hotel and just days before the conference the sales manager called me to tell me only five rooms were picked up, and we’d be responsible for attrition penalties. I almost had a coronary. I took it to the next level – never did the sales manager send me a pick up report, give me warning about the low pick up, nor did she (or reservations) release the group block at the cut off to sell to the public. As it was 1990 (wouldn’t happen today) all penalties were dropped and we didn’t have to pay a dime. That was a lesson on attrition, pick up reports and cut off dates learned the (almost) hard way!
I became a CMP in 1998. Today, the single most enjoyable part of my job is still seeing a program all the way through from setting objectives to the post-program evaluation, including all of the strategic and tactical planning necessary for a successful meeting that exceeds expectations. I do still enjoy all of the aspects of my job, including the crazy week just prior to an event.
Meeting & Event Planner
International Dairy Queen, Inc.
When I entered this industry in 1982, I wish I had known how hard it would be to explain the legitimacy of my job to other people, including my employer. Back in the day we were seen as party planners and this profession was not taken seriously. Today there is a lot more respect and acknowledgment of what constitutes a meeting planners position, but we still struggle to be seen as valuable members of the management team and continue to educate the world with Meeting Professionals International (MPI), which champions this profession.
I became a CMP the first time in 1989, and the second time in 2009 after taking time off to raise my family. Today, the single most enjoyable part of my job is the feeling of great pride and satisfaction I have after successfully planning and executing a meeting or event. Nothing compares!