Please share a brief description of your job.
My role as a senior meeting planner is to provide high-quality meeting planning services, support, and advice to business partners, and to deliver meetings that best meet their needs. These services include site research and selection, budgeting, registration site development, logistics, and on-site support.

What have been the benefits of FICP membership for you?
The greatest benefit has been the opportunity to network with other meeting planners to learn about their experiences at hotels and meeting venues, how their departments are handling current trends and challenges, and to exchange best practices. I have also built solid relationships with hospitality partners and expanded the network of contacts that my department can work with when searching for properties for our programs.

Why did you decide to volunteer as regional chair?
When I first attended regional meetings, I was impressed with the educational content and chance to meet others in our industry. I knew I wanted to get involved to expand my network, so I participated in a few regional meeting design teams. When an opportunity arose to chair the region and continue the tradition of quality regional meetings, I knew I wanted to take on this role. It’s a great developmental opportunity that allows me to focus on leadership skills in areas outside of my job responsibilities. These skills include managing a team of individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise; creating meeting themes, agendas, and continuity plans; securing speakers; and presenting at the meetings.

The regional meetings are a wonderful opportunity for planners and hospitality partners to network in a smaller setting, which allows more one-on-one time to learn about each other’s needs. For some planners, the larger FICP programs may be financially out of their reach, so the regionals provide an opportunity for them to feel part of the organization, to spend time networking with their peers, and to gain knowledge about the host city for the meeting.

What do you see as the biggest current meeting planning challenges?
Continuing to provide high-quality customer service to business partners given the high volume of meetings we handle is a challenge that all planners are experiencing. In addition, the rising costs of meetings, coupled with tighter budgets, definitely adds to the challenge we face to successfully plan meetings that “wow” attendees.

What is one great piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
Listen twice as much as you speak. That way, you won’t miss what others are saying and you can clearly formulate your thoughts before you speak.