HOW EXCITING — and enlightening — it has been to work on CMI's 25th anniversary issue! The experience has shown me how some things have changed dramatically — while others remain exactly as they were in 1980.
In her editorial in the inaugural issue, founding Editor Connie Goldstein addressed our readers for the first time: “Darned few of you who read this magazine plan meetings for a living,” she said, in her unmistakable writing style. “It's in your job description as ‘occasional other duties.’”
That's still true. While we have a larger number of independent planners reading the magazine than we did back then, many of our readers are still “occasional planners” — people who are charged with managing meetings in addition to their full-time jobs.
“For those of you professional meeting planners,” Connie went on, “It's important that the company's perception of you is of a person who delivers a professional product — you need to learn to do it like a professional.” That has been one of the biggest challenges for our in-house corporate planner readers in the past two decades: to gain recognition as professionals, to connect what they do to the bottom line, and to prove the value of meetings to their companies.
Connie joked about corporate management's lack of understanding of what it takes to plan meetings: “They think you can plan meetings with your left hand while balancing your budget on the tip of your nose.” But it's not so funny 25 years later, when I regularly see meeting departments being downsized. The people who make these decisions clearly have no understanding of your value to the company.
It takes a very special person to manage the excruciating level of detail that goes into every meeting. Whether or not your managers understand, we at this magazine have tremendous respect for what you do. And our goal is to continue for the next 25 years — and beyond — to provide you with information and tools to help make your job easier and more efficient.
The funniest part of reading that first editorial was when Connie asked people to contact her with information that they wanted to see in future issues — by using a mail-in coupon at the bottom of the page. That's right, mail it back to her — there was no fax or e-mail back then. I can't even imagine …
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