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CMP, CMM, manager, conference and meeting management
Liberty Mutual, Boston

In 32 years at Liberty Mutual in Boston, Mary Keough-Anderson, CMP, CMM, has gained the trust and respect of clients and vendors—along with a direct line to the company’s leaders. It’s a long way from her early days as an audiovisual assistant working with filmstrip projectors.

She started building her reputation early, handling small training sessions that eventually led to calls from all around the company. “It’s been a journey,” she laughs.

And along the way she’s practiced what she sees as the secret to being a good meeting planner: “treating everyone with dignity and respect,” whether that’s the CEO or a hotel housekeeper. Among her many innovations is a multipronged approach to motivate and reward the entire staff at her meeting properties.

Keough-Anderson started the conference and meeting management department in 1985. Now she oversees a $10 million budget and 12 people planning 250 domestic and international meetings per year for Liberty Mutual, which employs 45,000 people and came in at No. 71 on the latest Fortune 500 list.

And yet Keough-Anderson says there are 300 to 400 meetings planned outside her department, and she is on the hunt to capture and track them. Two years ago, she began rolling out StarCite’s online site-sourcing and RFP system, which is now used by 40 people. Her goal is to continue to find ad hoc planners, capture their spending, and train them on meeting planning—everything from negotiating contracts to using preferred partners. “The best part of the job for me is the relationships I’ve developed all over the world,” she says. And despite her long career, Keough-Anderson says she’s “still having fun” learning her clients’ business goals and being their strategic partner. “The satisfaction you get from putting on a successful program never gets old.”—Alison Hall