Patricia Capawana began her meeting planning career with a square dance. "In 1988 I was working with Prudential's events planner as her assistant, and the assignment was to put on a square dance at the Wardorf for 1,000 people," says Capawana, now director, event planning for The Prudential, a Newark, N.J.-based insurance company. According to Capawana, the event's success got her career rolling. "Things just snowballed from there," she says.

These days Capawana plans special events and meetings. This past January she organized two same-day financial seminars for 1,200 and 1,500 people in two different cities--Sun City, Ariz., and Phoenix. Says Capawana: "The logistics of planning two events in one day is a big nut to crack." Her greatest challenge was finding venues. "Usually, you have about a year to book meeting space," she says, "but these events just popped up. I got the assignment for the January meetings in November and I really had to scramble." She "got lucky" and found facilities during the holiday season on short notice.

According to Capawana, the meeting planning business is all about getting it right. "Making sure the registration is set up beforehand, that the food is good, that the set-up is correct and that the audiovisuals are working all make an event successful," says Capawana. "You always want it to be perfect."