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global category lead, travel and meetings, Accenture Procurement BPO Services, Chicago

Chris Hunnes decided to join the travel industry while she was still in college. She was hired by a major travel management company in 1989 to work on the meetings consolidation program, one of the first of its kind, for a Fortune 500 company. She moved to Accenture in 2008 as procurement category lead for travel and meetings.

Her first step was to outsource the meetings management to a travel management company, designing the request for proposal, managing the bid process, and negotiating the details. Accenture has taken its SMM technology and deployed it globally, so it now has a system in place to support its meetings policy, authorize approvals, and collect data on meetings. She is the main contact for sourcing third-party meeting planners. She also handles the meetings project for procurement colleagues in France and the Benelux region.

In 2009, she was named to the National Business Travel Association’s Groups and Meeting Committee. “That was one of my biggest accomplishments. It has given me a great perspective on what people are doing at other companies.”

She considers one of her greatest assets in her procurement role to be her ability “to see the big picture of meetings from the business side, to understand the multiple stakeholders who need to be considered, but also to understand fundamentals of executing and delivering a meeting.

“That’s why Hunnes recommends that anyone interested in a career in meetings learn about business. “My business classes have served me well.”—Barbara Scofidio