Corporate Meetings & Incentives: What has been your involvement with PCMA, and how do you see the year ahead?

QUIGLEY: I have been a member of PCMA for close to 15 years now. I started when I was on the association side of the business, but when I switched to Microsoft, I stuck with PCMA because I think the education is so solid and at a senior level.

For the year ahead, I think what has shifted a bit is that, with the economy, people have to be more agile. PCMA can support its members given all of the struggles that everybody's facing right now. I think that's probably the most important thing for the organization to do in this coming year.

CMI: Are you worried about the financial end of things for this coming year?

QUIGLEY: It wouldn't be very smart if you weren't worried about the economic situation. Both PCMA and Microsoft are looking at their expenses and what we can continue to do that will add value. I think if you're not paying attention to it, you're going to get yourself in a pickle.

CMI: Will PCMA be looking for ways to address the needs of member planners who have lost their jobs?

QUIGLEY: We already are. We have a job fair at the annual meeting. It's been focused mostly on new graduates, but being involved in an organization such as PCMA means networking. If you are looking for a job, the career fair is a great opportunity to see a whole bunch of people in one space, especially right after the holidays when people are getting back to business and trying to plan their year.

CMI: What does it mean to you and to the organization to be the first corporate planner in the chair-elect role?

QUIGLEY: I'm really excited about it. I feel like there is an opportunity to create movement forward. PCMA started as an association purely for medical association planners, and then it expanded to all association planners, then it reached out again, to third parties and independent planners.

We're all in the same business. We may have different environments and cultures that we face from day to day, but when it comes down to it, you need the same business acumen, the same drive for results, the same leadership skills, and so forth.

I am excited because I am seeing more corporate planners join PCMA and become involved in different committees and task forces and speaking at the annual meeting. It opens up a whole world of learning from the association to the corporate side and corporate side to association side because, truly, I didn't leave it all behind when I left associations and moved to corporate. I think associations, given the economy, can teach corporations a lot about how to be resourceful when you don't have a whole lot to work with.

CMI: Is increasing corporate membership a goal of PCMA?

QUIGLEY: It's not. We're trying to reach more of the broad range of planners, from the start of their careers to the finish, with the emphasis on senior planners. I think that we have realized that there is a benefit to having a diverse set of members.

CMI: Do you expect more educational programming to be developed for corporate meeting professionals?

QUIGLEY: I think there will be. At our annual meeting in January, at least half of the sessions were applicable no matter who you work for. We are thinking about the audience in a broader way and ensuring that there is something for everyone. Six or seven people from my team attended, and half the team is now involved in PCMA at some level.

  • January 12 marked the first day citizens of the 35 Visa Waiver Program countries were required to complete travel authorization forms online prior to traveling to the U.S., instead of filling out paper forms at the airport.

  • Phoenix is celebrating several major convention-related projects: an expanded convention center, a new 1,000-room hotel, and a new light-rail system connecting the convention center to downtown, the suburbs, and the airport.

  • Despite the troubles in Detroit, a new automobile industry event, the International Motorsports Industry Show, will debut December 2-3, 2009, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

  • An ongoing boycott of the Manches-ter Grand Hyatt San Diego, a result of the owner's position on California's Proposition 8 ballot measure concerning the rights of same-sex couples, has led to a loss of some group business.

  • The former vice president and managing consultant for Maritz Inc., Rodger Stotz, has joined the Incentive Research Foundation in the role of chief research officer.

  • Dave Scypinski, former Starwood Hotels and Resort senior vice president, industry relations, has been named senior vice president of ConferenceDirect, based in Washington, D.C.

Salary Report

With an average base salary of $75,279 in 2008, members of Financial & Insurance Conference Planners outstrip the $58,380 average salary of financial and insurance meeting planners surveyed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

FICP's 2008 Compensation and Benefits Study was administered online to 517 members by the Market Research & Statistics Group at SmithBucklin Corp. in late August. Even before the economic meltdown, half of the FICP respondents anticipated no raises in 2009.

The study showed a major gender gap: Eighty-seven percent of respondents are women, but their average annual salary of $71,842 is 35 percent less than their male colleagues.