Lynn Schwandt, CMP
Senior Event Planner
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
Appleton, Wis.

Jen Klosner, CMP
Senior Event Planner
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
Minneapolis, Minn.

FIM: Why did you volunteer as co-chair for the Midwest Region of Financial & Insurance Conference Planners?
Schwandt: I’ve been an FICP member for more than 12 years and have been on two design teams. When I was approached to chair this region with Jen, it seemed a natural next step. It has been one of my most rewarding development opportunities—from leading a design team to designing and developing the agenda to moderating the meeting.

Klosner: I am fortunate enough not only to have a job in this industry right now, but also to work for a company that encourages professional development. So when Lynn and I were approached with the opportunity to be region co-chairs, I knew I had the support to take on the position. I have found the greatest benefit to be the chance to collaborate with other planners. I love to be inspired by others. This is the part I can take back to my daily work, to look at my planning approach through a fresh lens.

FIM: What are the benefits of attending FICP regional meetings?
Schwandt:Relationships are key in our industry. Regional meetings allow planners and hospitality partners to network in a more intimate environment. We are also able to customize our agenda.

Klosner: Regional meetings are an educational and cost-effective option for planners, especially those who are unable to attend national events. And they’re small enough that you can get to know everyone in attendance.

FIM: How is FICP, both regionally and nationally, helping members and hospitality partners in this time of continued uncertainty?
Schwandt: Efforts like “BUY FICP” support hospitality partners dedicated to this industry. Helping each other out in tough times is crucial.

Klosner: Our industry needs to have a common voice. Associations like FICP help us find this voice when we are charged with responding to stakeholders and the media. FICP has partnered with the Convention Industry Council and others on campaigns like “Face Time. It Matters,” which educate the public on the role our industry plays in the job market and local economies, and the value of face-to-face meetings.