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After 11 years planning conferences for four different associations at the start of her career, Kati Quigley jumped over to the corporate side when Microsoft came calling 10 years ago. “I felt like I changed careers instead of just changing jobs,” she says of making the switch from association to corporate. “My kids were two years and six months old, we moved across the country, my husband quit his job—it took about a year for me to really learn how to operate in a corporate culture instead of an association one.” But this challenge also brought big opportunity, she found. “I realized how much we can learn from what each side does best.”

ADVICE “Jump in and volunteer in your industry associations. You’ll meet people who will enhance your development throughout your career.”

EVOLUTION Quigley recently switched positions from being the director of event marketing to her new job as senior director of worldwide partner community events. The job entails managing all aspects of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, an annual gathering of about 15,000 partners. Technology is, not surprisingly, integral to her company’s events; she’s in the process of transitioning the digital WPC from something that just supports the face-to-face event to a robust year-round community. She also manages the company’s partner advisory councils, and her new role as Microsoft’s staff liaison to the independent International Association of Microsoft Channel Marketers harkens back to her association roots.

KUDOS In 2010, Quigley became the first chairperson of PCMA ever to come from the corporate side. This gave her a platform to help the industry benefit and grow through sharing across the corporate and association sides of the meetings business, something that remains one of her proudest accomplishments

LOOKING AHEAD Quigley thinks the future of meetings will be about creating experiences that allow people to develop and connect with other people. “There is no division between work and life components any more, it’s all one piece,” she says. The challenge: Meetings will have to enhance people’s work lives, but they also have to enhance them personally.

GIVING BACK Quigley serves as a coach for four or five people each year as part of a Microsoft program, and she never says no when asked to be a mentor. “It’s just so important,” she says.

MENTORS While she has had many mentors in her career, two strong working parents stand out as key role models. Christine Duffy, president of the Cruise Lines International Association, helped Quigley understand how to be successful and still be able to enjoy her family. “She was chair of MPI, she has two kids, she’s obviously very successful in what she does, and I thought it was cool there was this strong, intelligent working parent who could hold it all together and still look like she’s having fun.”
Another mentor is Anne Hamilton, vice president, Disney Destinations, again a strong, intelligent working parent who has been able to be successful and gain a lot of respect from her peers. - Sue Pelletier