Judy Lamborn believes that good meeting planners firmly grasp the vision of their employers.
Her employer, Joyce Meyer Ministries, aims to reach people with the message of the Gospel and the opportunity for healing. “Knowing that meeting planning is a crucial part of her ministry gets my motor going,” Lamborn said.
As conference department manager, Lamborn oversees 25 to 30 meetings a year, both in the United States and overseas. The free, three-day events draw an average of 7,000 people. Based in Fenton, Mo., Joyce Meyer Ministries employs 500 people internationally, and the ministry reaches people through television and radio programs, teaching tapes, videos, books, and conferences.
Lamborn knows that her job helps people who hurt, and that resonates with her. Before Lamborn joined Joyce Meyer Ministries, she was one of the hurting people.
Long Road Back
“God has delivered me from drugs, alcohol, and degradation,” Lamborn said. She met her husband, Rick, in Las Vegas and soon left there, knowing that she had to make a change in her life. In 1991, Lamborn rededicated herself to the Lord, and in 1995 she was rebaptized. Also that year, Lamborn and her husband saw Joyce Meyer on television and decided to become partners in the ministry.
Later, while reading the ministry's magazine, Lamborn saw an employment ad that caught her eye. She knew it would be difficult for her and her husband to leave their real estate business in Pennsylvania, but the job intrigued her. She prayed about it, asking God to put it in the magazine again if she were meant to respond. It didn't appear for six months, but when it did, Lamborn sent in her application, and in 1998 she and her husband began working for Joyce Meyer Ministries.
Her husband, who is now manager of the distribution department, began in the warehouse; she began in the call center. Six months later, she was promoted to a secretarial position. In April 2000, she took over meeting planning, despite no previous experience in the field. “I knew it was God's will, so I accepted the position,” she says.
She joined RCMA in 2001, based on advice from the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, with which she works closely.
RCMA emphasizes establishing partnerships with CVBs and hoteliers, Lamborn noted. “RCMA provides one of the best platforms to do that by gathering all of us in one place every year. It's like a big family reunion. They help me to stay educated regarding the latest technology and trends in the industry,” she explains.
Lamborn says a great meeting planner needs to have a couple of qualities: good decision-making and humility. “They recognize their weaknesses. The buck stops at your desk, but when everyone's working together, you should never have a bad situation that comes up.”
Asking for help is a necessity in Lamborn's office, which for 2004 planned 16 domestic meetings, two international meetings (in England and India), and 23 speaking engagements. To help her, the ministry employs seven other people to deal with facilities coordination, travel, and volunteers.
Finding the right people is very important. “Surround yourself with people who complement your weaknesses,” she urges. “So many times I see people who want to surround themselves with like-minded people, but then there's no one there to see that everything gets done. Let people do things. You'll burn out if you think you can do everything.”
“I try to stay involved, but not micromanage,” Lamborn says. She rarely travels, preferring to stay home with Rick, her son, Christian, 10, and her daughter, Victoria, 12. But her ministry isn't limited to her job. The Lamborns also are involved with their church and with outreach programs in St. Louis.
The Lamborns' story has been broadcast twice on Joyce Meyer television programs, and Lamborn is writing a book on her experiences, titled From Vegas to Victory.
True to the motto, Lamborn wants to start planning her next project. “I've asked the Lord what comes after [the book], but He said He'd let me know after that was done.”