managing director,head of events, AllianceBernstein, LP, New York
PAST Menache joined a boutique investment research and management firm, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc., in 1986 as an administrative assistant; she became a meeting planner in 1987. Starting the department with one assistant, she went from planning four large catering events per year to more than 1,000 conferences in 2007.
CRED In 2000, her company was bought by Alliance Capital, a global company, and all meetings were decentralized. Menache decided to write a proposal to the board of directors identifying areas of savings and showing the benefits of a centralized meetings department. She knew that it could only be achieved through the consolidation of both companies’ meetings operations.
She took on the challenge of reorganizing the group, which involved everything from evaluating online registration systems, to communicating with internal clients and planners, to determining best practices. She managed a staff of 40 (including temps and interns) until the financial crisis hit and she had to eliminate more than half.
That’s when she created a three-tier meeting management system: self-service meetings, semi-service meetings, and full-service meetings.
“Most in-house meetings fall into the category of self-service meetings, where my team creates templates for online invitations and name tags, preselects menus, and prenegotiates. Basically it’s like a controlled decentralized department for these self-service meetings, so the meeting department is able to focus on the other meetings.”
She has also taken SMM to the granular level by signing international contracts with restaurant chains to consolidate the company’s spend and even with AV companies to capitalize on savings and ensure consistent service.
MENTORS She credits her direct boss, Amy Roth, “a believer in doing the right thing the best way possible and never compromising what you believe in. “
ADVICE “Success is having what you want, while happiness is wanting what you have.’ Both are very important in any job you do, and you need to check in with yourself to make sure that you still want what you have and never be afraid to change.” —Barbara Scofidio