Melissa McCarroll
Meeting & Event Planner
Aviva USA

FICP Midwest Region Chair

What have been the benefits of FICP membership for you?
The largest benefit for me has been the idea-sharing among fellow financial and insurance planners as well as hospitality partners. I find myself walking away from each and every meeting inspired by new ways of doing things—“green” ideas, budget-conscious ideas, or simply a new and exciting idea that will surprise and delight my attendees.
FICP is also a great place to learn what hasn’t worked so well for others so that you don’t make the same mistake yourself.

What do you see as your biggest meeting planning challenge in the coming year?
Finding the time to do it all! I remember a few years back when we were slowed down a bit by the economic environment. That was a scary time not only for me, but for many of my fellow planners. While I’m pleased to say we’re “back in the saddle,” it is challenging to manage so many programs with a smaller team. I’m meeting this challenge by developing strategic meeting management plans that allow me to develop precise timelines in order to keep all events on track.

How do you keep up your energy on site at a meeting?
I focus on aspects that I find to be new and exciting. Even at a repeat destination, I find excitement in learning something new, from trying new menus, to changing up decor, to planning new activities. I also try to limit myself to one caffeinated beverage per day. I used to go into caffeine overload, and found that I’d actually feel more exhausted than before. I go to bed as early as I’m able to, drink lots of water, and remain enthusiastic about the program.

Why is meeting planning the right career for you?
Attention to detail and organization have always come naturally to me, and they are the skills that are needed to be a successful event planner. I find a lot of joy in putting events together. As they say, “If you enjoy what you do, you never work a day in your life.” I think what we do is fun—complicated, stressful, and busy, but fun!

Describe your favorite photo sitting on your desk right now.
This is a toss-up. I have a photo of my husband and me on our wedding day, which of course I love. However, I also have a hilarious photo of my 90-pound chocolate lab, Jake, and our 9-pound poochin, Larry. It makes me laugh every time I look at it. They are complete opposites, but brothers just the same.

If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you be?
On a sunny, warm beach with my friends and family—drinking margaritas! To me, that is the epitome of contentment.