The coyote is an interesting animal. Its dark silhouette against the moon has been reproduced countless times in movies and print. Coyotes are most active at night, and the coyote’s howl is instantly recognized and sends shivers down the spines of those who hear it. Unlike wolves that socialize and travel in packs, coyotes travel alone or in small groups.

Coyotes have been hunted since our ancestors began to settle the West. They are considered a threat to livestock, and ranchers have tried to trap, poison, and shoot them to extermination. But despite their best efforts, the coyote population has actually increased in the last century. Today, you can find a subspecies of coyote in every state of the United States except Hawaii.

Experts attribute the increase in coyote population and their expansion of territory to two factors: their ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment and their ability to survive. When threatened, coyotes have been known to retreat to the some of the most inhospitable places known to man—yet still survive. Coyotes prey on a variety of small animals, but have also been known to eat plants, road kill, and garbage. There have been many accounts of coyotes sacrificing their limbs to free themselves from traps and thus ensuring their survival.

If you think about it, meeting planners are much like coyotes. The meeting planning industry is an ever-changing, and at times, somewhat inhospitable environment. Canceled flights, last-minute meetings, changes in requirements, changes in management, weather, downsizing, mergers, acquisitions, etc., are all issues that can impact the environment in which we operate day to day. Yet the meeting planner survives.

There have been "settlers" who try to exterminate the profession, and yet the meeting planner survives. Meeting planners have been known to be scavengers for food. Just look at what is left on a buffet table at the end of the night. Meeting planners are very active at night, preparing for the next day’s events. Meeting planners are loners traveling from program to program. And you can find meeting planners in all 50 states.

To be successful in the meeting planning business you must mentally and physically prepare yourself to be adaptable to changes in your environment. Instead of dreading or worrying about change, save your energy, embrace change when it occurs, and look for opportunities that will allow you to adapt and survive in the new environment. Create a little coyote inside of you. You will become a better meeting planner and a better asset to your company. (Note to Joel Weldon: Thanks for creating a little coyote in me.)


Ken Juel
Manager, Sales Incentives/Recognition Programs
Mutual of Omaha