director, meetings and special events, Raytheon Co.
PAST John Touchette worked at John Hancock Financial Services for 17 years before moving to Raytheon in 2005. “It is a much larger company [Raytheon has 75,000 employees] but with a significantly smaller staff, and I realized I would need to work hard to engage the other event planners from throughout the company who historically worked in silos, which is typical for decentralized companies,” he says. “I also learned that it’s crucial to partner with functions such as procurement, finance, HR, and IT to successfully achieve results.
“When I first got to Raytheon, one of the first calls I received was from what we call ‘supply chain’ [procurement] welcoming me to the company and asking if I would be willing to collaborate with them in developing a strategic approach to meetings at Raytheon. I knew that was a good sign. It’s been a long road but we have made it over the hurdles together.”
CRED Touchette established Raytheon’s Meeting and Event Council and engages the 20 members through biweekly phone calls and semiannual off-site meetings. “We now have a cohesive team of event managers who share their expertise and best practices, work to support each other’s events, collaborate, and train and mentor each other. Getting their buy-in and active participation brought us a cooperative spirit that has benefited all of us.”
Touchette also helped create the MeetingSmart Web site to support the company’s SMMP. “It has been a great, collaborative effort between our Event Council, communications team, and IT.”
SUCCESS STORY “When I started at Raytheon— known for its math and science initiatives through programs like MathMovesU and its sponsorship of MATHCOUNTS—we had an idea to create a math- and science-based exhibit, which led us down a path to a partnership with Walt Disney World’s Epcot and Innoventions Pavilion.
“In 2009, we launched an experience called the Sum of all Thrills, which was a culmination of three years of work. I remember being at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, feeling so proud to be part of that project and how we were able to take a corporate initiative and tie it into a program that will engage and teach young people for years to come.”
Even better, he says, this was not a stand-alone event, but rather part of an overall strategy. “We now are able to host meetings and special events there to showcase this unique attraction to our employees and others.”—Barbara Scofidio