Mary Pat Cornett, CMP, CAE, senior director, education and meetings, American Academy of Otolaryngology, Alexandria, Va.

I love the early phases of designing a meeting. At the beginning, all things are possible and the process is open, inquisitive, and creative. I like the focus on the customer and the development of goals, objectives, and outcomes. Since most meetings I've worked on are annual events, the opportunity to learn from and improve upon the previous year's event is the aspect of meeting planning that hooked me early in my career.

If I hadn't been a meeting planner, I probably would have been a lawyer or accountant. Therefore, the financial and legal aspects are key to me. What I love about our profession is that we supplement those formal business disciplines with the excitement and complexity of planning and hosting a live event. I can't imagine doing anything else.

TONYA HORSLEY, CMP, DIRECTOR, MEETINGS AND REGISTRATION, AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS, WASHINGTON, D.C.

My favorite part of the meeting-planning process is the on-site conference management. Interacting with the members and addressing their needs or concerns, providing excellent customer service, and enhancing the member experience is why I am in the meeting-planning industry. Seeing the smiles on their faces after a meeting makes the long hours and stress worth it!

JULIE HEWETT, OWNER, JULNET SOLUTIONS ASSOCIATION AND EVENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES, BARBOURSVILLE, W.VA.

My favorite part of the meeting planning process has to be the initial site selection. It's the time when I can experience the location for the first time and visit places completely new to me. I use the experience to create a sense of excitement for our attendees as they prepare to come to the meeting.

LAUREN DEATON, SENIOR MANAGER, MEETINGS AND EVENTS, COURTESY ASSOCIATES, WASHINGTON, D.C.

For me the most fulfilling part of the meeting planning process is taking the objectives and abstract concepts that meeting-planning committees develop and transforming them into concrete logistics. It is like piecing together a giant jigsaw puzzle to create something much better than any single piece or idea.