What is your current job description?
My role includes managing all aspects of conference and incentive planning including: strategic sourcing, budgeting, contract negotiations, chairing a design team, creating and consulting on agendas, vendor acquisition, site selection, logistics, on-site management, and creative production of gala events. I am also responsible for project management and coordination of regional budgets, including managing budgets for conference and incentive travel. I also project-manage our auditor staff to ensure compliance with financial, regulatory, and client-service standards, including coordinating training, hiring, and performance evaluation.

What have been the benefits of membership for you?
My first FICP event was the 2005 Canadian Region meeting in Toronto. I didn’t know anyone, yet soon found out how knowledgeable and friendly this group is. Once I discovered FICP and the people who were willing to share their experience with me, joining was an easy decision. The education and sharing of knowledge has allowed me to operate superior programs. This drives higher engagement from our attendees and in turn has a direct effect on how our business performs.

Why did you decide to volunteer your time as Region Chair and what do you see as the value of FICP’s regional meetings?
I wanted to give back to FICP and to my region because they have given me so much. I served two years on the regional design team, and am in my second year on the education committee. This was a natural next step in giving back to FICP. The value proposition for the regional meetings is threefold: The opportunity to discuss information pertinent to Canadian planners; the opportunity to foster relationships with the HP community in a more intimate setting; and the chance to attend a meeting from a different perspective—as an attendee rather than the organizer. We can take away ideas and trends to apply to our own meetings in the future.

What trends are you seeing this year?
Little things go a long way. In a tough economic environment, a note from the president goes just as far as a gift. Corporate social responsibility initiatives at meetings increase engagement from attendees. I want to drive higher engagement to motivate and inspire them.

What is one great piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
Never let them see you sweat. You have to be in control at all times. Also the more you plan in advance and anticipate, the more you can reduce or eliminate problems on site.