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CAROLYN PUND, CMP, CMM
Senior Global Meetings & Events Manager
Cisco Systems

PAST Pund began planning events before it was a “career choice” and has worked at several Silicon Valley tech companies. Prior to Cisco, she was with Bay Networks in the mid-1990s, working on meetings consolidation in travel and finance. After Nortel acquired Bay Networks, she transitioned from travel and continued her strategic meetings management efforts (at that time known as consolidation) as part of the event-marketing organization. In August 2008, Pund joined Cisco Systems, charged with developing a global strategic meetings management program. She came in as part of the travel and meetings department, working under finance, but by the time the SMMP was approved to launch in early 2010, she had transitioned the entire meetings organization to event marketing (home to teams that organize the CiscoLive! user group conferences, Cisco Advisory Boards, tier-one customer/industry conferences, virtual meetings, corporate speakers bureau, and more), which has now been rebranded as Global Events.

CRED “We did something that was really quite historic at Cisco as well as in the industry,” says Pund, “in that we merged an organization that was primarily driven as a finance and procurement organization to become part of an event marketing organization, while still retaining the core competencies of both organizations. … We’re merging SMM with strategic events and measuring the outcomes of both. We’re aligning events to business objectives.” Another historic move on her part was to co-found a best practices sharing group called the Meetings Competitive Advantage Forum (MCAF) in 1999, with a membership of senior-level meeting managers from Forum 100 companies. The invitation-only group, capped at 20 companies, holds quarterly meetings to discuss challenges and share ideas relating to strategic meetings management.

LOOKING AHEAD As Pund structured the global SMM department—in Bangalore, India; Singapore; London; Raleigh, N.C.: and San Jose, Calif.—she set up each office/team structure exactly the same, using the same staff titles/roles, the same teams (sourcing, housing, logistics and planning, Web development, etc.), the same technologies, and the same standard operating procedures.

Collaboration is woven into the Cisco culture, Pund says, and consistency of tools, resources, and processes allows for a dynamically networked organization making teamwork easier. She explains that there are times when a Web site has to be built or a report run overnight, and with global teams closely aligned, an office in a different time zone can make sure the project gets finished on time. The result, she says: great customer service. —Sue Hatch