Think critically. Invest in yourself. Lead. Grow. Those were the themes during three days of education and open forum at the Alliance of Meeting Management Cos.' 6th Annual Educational Conference, held in June in Providence, R.I.

Much of the conference centered around practical business advice, topics such as insurance coverage and when — and whether — to grow.

“Independents are like lobster fishermen,” said George deLodzia, PhD, professor of management at the University of Rhode Island. “They want to run their own business and control their own destiny.”

To control that destiny, planners should preplan, in business and for an event, deLodzia said. They should work through those worst-case scenarios and have a contingency plan. One contingency might be firing a client. Releasing a client might be a valuable business investment, said James Daggett, CAE, CMP, president, JRDaggett & Associates, Las Vegas (see article on page 64).

Hattie Hill, CEO, Hattie Hill Enterprises, Dallas, capped off the conference with a talk about effective leadership. “Leaders infuse people with spirit,” she said. She shared her LEGACY leadership method: Leading: Decide to be a leader; Entrepreneurial: Take accountability for the resources entrusted to you; Growth: Analyze the past, and change for the future; Alignment: Commit to the organization's vision and goals; Communication: Be open, candid, and speak often with employees and clients; Yearning: Create passion for leadership, even during tough times.