Thursday, April 18, 2013

We Are More Than Just "Planners" - Part I

I was having lunch with a colleague a few weeks back discussing next career moves. Many of us go through transitions in our lives when what has been a passion for years suddenly seems like it will become "the death of us".  Well, this was apparently the point my colleague had reached and she was ready to move in a completely different direction.  She sighed heavily, looked at me with genuine bewilderment and said, "But what comes next? I'm too old to try something different and I've been a planner for 15 years, what other skills do I have?!"  To which I responded, "heyyyyy, we are the same age, and I can assure you, I am NOT old!".

Now I'm a solver of everyone else's problems besides my own, so this seemed like the perfect time to jump in and offer my advice and assistance.  As the old saying goes, therapists have a hard time solving their own problems because they're too busy solving everyone else's, or something like that!  We chatted about her resume and goals, what she wanted in her next position, her strengths and weaknesses.  She showed me her resume on her iPad and we went through her achievements and skills.  When I tell you her resume was impressive, I'd be selling her short.  She had responsibility for financial transactions, technology purchases, marketing, education and accreditation, sponsorship revenue...and did I mention she assisted with internal facility rental?  As a former conference center manager myself, I can attest that the role is a job on its own!  She possessed a wide array of skills and could clearly get a job in any field of her choosing. I don't know why she didn't see it as clearly as I did. 

It hasn't been until recently that organizations even felt the need to hire professionals to handle their meetings, conferences, and special events. We are so much more than our titles though.  We have developed the skills to handle almost anything that is thrown our way.  We thrive on the unexpected because we prepare for it.  We get a thrill out of finally seeing what the picture looks like after so many months of piecing the puzzle together.  Planners wear multiple hats and play many different roles during the planning of any type of event.  We are facilitators, marketers, business developers, technologists, and I could keep going...but I won't because I want YOU to.
Your mission...tell me what other labels you would give to event professionals/planners. What is it that we REALLY do?

You can post it here or follow me on Twitter @meeting_pro and tag #PlannersAre. 


  1. I loved your blog!! And look forward to part 2.

    Having recently "retired" I am on the journey of using my past experiences to take me forward to a very rewarding future

    Hello Marilyn!

  2. Thanks so much! See part II here -