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LISA MEEHAN
Director, Merck Meeting Services
Merck & Co.

CRED Meehan, though a 20-year veteran with Merck, has been in her role with meeting services only since August 2010. One of her first tasks after coming to the meetings division was to pick up where her predecessor left off in implementing the globalization of the company’s meetings policy. Meehan took the policy, which had been in the works for six or eight months, and ushered it through the review with compliance, the final adjustments, and approval. It launched November 1, 2010.

SUCCESS STORIES In just the first quarter of this year, Meehan has seen a twofold increase in the number of meetings registered over those registered in the first quarter of 2010. Also, after a concerted effort to get people to put all aspects of their meetings on the AMEX meeting card, the amount of spend put on the cards has more than doubled, from about $40 million to about $100 million.

TURNING POINT As Meehan’s team was crunching the data on meetings registered under the policy, they found that 600 of the 2,000 meetings registered last year were still being handled entirely by non-planners, employees who didn’t have the benefit of knowing the best practices they’d worked so hard to develop for the company’s managed meetings. So Meehan is now putting together a self-service meetings tool kit full of checklists and streamlined information that can be used by those who don’t want to engage the meeting-planning department.

LOOKING AHEAD She and the global meetings team are also working on addenda that will outline procedures specific to each country in which the company holds meetings (the U.S. procedures were included in the first release). The target is to complete procedures for 20 countries by year’s end. “There’s a method to the madness, because as you get the local procedures documented in a standard format, you start to understand where your differences are across the different countries,” she says.

ADVICE “Data will help you make the business case for why people need to do what you want them to do.” It also, she says, gives you the confidence to say no to a customer or propose an alternative to something they want to do but should not. And, she adds, you don’t have to go it alone. “Benchmark—learn from other people’s successes, and their failures, and share yours with others. There’s a lot you can learn out there if you just ask.” —Sue Pelletier