David C. Freeman
VP, Advancement The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada, Toronto

My proudest moment came when a delegate at our biennial Assembly who had a corporate background advised me that he had been to many corporate conferences, and that this conference was as well-organized as any he had ever seen.

My most satisfying experiences in meeting planning are when I see the delegates oblivious to the logistics of sound, lights, setup, staging, staffing, etc., but fully involved in the moment and having a sense that God is speaking.

Linda Reed
Conference Manager Pro Athletes Outreach Issaquah, Wash.

The most satisfying thing about my work is when everything comes together as it should for the four nights and five days: meals, rooming lists, speakers arrive when they should, child care is arranged, everything goes as planned.

We conduct leadership conferences for professional athletes, coaches, and their spouses. They learn what it means to put Christ first, they gain financial management skills, and they are given tools for building healthy relationships. It's rewarding to hear someone share how their life has been changed because they have applied what they have learned at a conference!

Frank LaGrotteria
Conference Planner Interreligious and Int'l Federation for World Peace Tarrytown, N.Y.

The most fulfilling thing to me as a meeting planner is when no one speaks to me.

It's like seeing a movie. You don't want to be able to tell what the producer did and what the director did. It should seem like it's seamless.

Meeting attendees don't want to see the staff scurrying around. Hearing nothing means that I have done my job.

Karen Pickett
State Youth Director Florida Church of God Youth Ministries Lake Wales, Fla.

It was probably the first one I did on my own, a youth convention for 1,300 students.

I do meeting planning part time, and at my full-time job they were laughing at me because the month before the convention, I developed an eye twitch.

But I have a wonderful staff. Everything fell into place. And the twitch went away. I also had a wonderful hotel/convention manager to work with. My dad was a convention planner, but I never knew how much work went into it. The one thing I learned from Dad was to have a good staff.

Emily Gould
West Ohio Conference The United Methodist Church And Health Ministries Powell, Ohio

There was a national conference last year in Seattle. About nine months out, we contracted with a boat line to transport about 300 people to an island for dinner and entertainment.

When the registration deadline came, we were short about 50 people. I called the director of sales and explained. She said she'd gladly give me another two weeks. We picked up some people, but not the full amount.

The day of the meeting, Tuesday, we were deluged with 40 more people wanting to come along Thursday evening. I called the director again, and she graciously said she would take the extra people. The bottom line was, everyone was willing to help.

My 33 years of meeting-planning experience have led me to develop friendly working relationships.

I always say, let people know up front instead of waiting until the day of the deadline. They got their 40 extra people after all. It made them happy, me happy, and the attendees happy.