As her meeting planning company, The Compass Group, turns 25, Jean La Corte is experiencing a sense of gratitude, fulfillment, even (dare we say it?) … peace.

“I finally feel like I’m not the dog chasing its tail any more. It wasn’t easy, but I accomplished everything I set out to do. I’ve reached my goals. I have been blessed.”

Jean La Corte with Event Coordinator Sandy Garay and Vice President
Isabel Musial at The Compass Group's 25th anniversary picnic party with
vendors and friends on October 5.

That might sound like a lady who’s about to retire, but don’t bet on it. Having also just hit 65, she realizes the solution isn’t as much in stepping out as pulling back. “Meeting planners are Type A personalities. We like control. It took me a while to let go and not be afraid, but now I’m delegating more.”

That’s possible, she says, because of the talented, dedicated staff at her Montville, N.J., company, which manages national sales meetings, incentive programs, and special events for corporate, pharmaceutical, and medical meeting clients. “You must have good people who are trustworthy and have integrity in order to be able to let go. In a small company, it’s like a family.”

That family includes two full-time staffers. Isabel Musial had been a architecture student when she started planning social events on her campus and got into the medical meeting planning business (“From the moment I was introduced to her, I knew she was right, and six year later, I couldn’t run my business without her”). Sandy Garay came to her without a stitch of meeting planning experience six months ago and is already managing her own programs.

“It’s important for people to be able to think on their feet, to deal with the challenges that come up. She’s good at that. I always say that meeting planning is like doing live television. How many live TV shows are there any more? They all get to do retake after retake, but we don’t have that chance.”

She also works with two contractors who she uses on site for all of her meetings. Call them her extended family, if you will.