Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 24 2013

GMC Member Spotlight: Lora Tannehill, CMP

Jill Formeister

“Do your best” are words that have guided Lora J. Tannehill, CMP, Director of Scientific Meetings, American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR), throughout her career.

Lora began in
a corporate marketing department for a Chicago-based real estate and property management firm.  She handled special events at various office buildings through the property management division and moved to the association multi-management/meeting planning area in 1990. She’s been at ASNR since 1995, focusing her efforts on medical and scientific meeting logistics and education planning.

Two mentors have supported and helped guide her career.  One is her older brother Carmen, who“has always been there for me on both personal and professional levels.   Also, Tim Moses, my former director at ASNR, has provided me much guidance throughout my career and we continue to exchange ideas on medical meetings and industry trends.”

Those trends have led to big changes in meetings.  Changes in the economy impact registration numbers. Economic factors also affect sponsorships, while revised rules determine what sponsors can and cannot do.  Cost factors determine food and beverage at meetings, and ASNR is reviewing whether food should be eliminated, be available on a pay-as-you-go basis, and other options.  “Everything is on the table,” Lora said.  Her physician members also are concerned about health care reform changes.

ASNR has begun experimenting with hybrid meetings, offering live-streaming of selected sessions during a recent meeting in San Diego.  To the organization’s surprise, some of the viewers were on site.

Lora’s biggest challenges are balancing demands, listening to volunteers and juggling the budget.  She said it is key to “identify tangible goals and results” for her members, evaluating “what we do and what we do best.”

She credits PCMA membership with moving her out of her comfort zone and providing much guidance and personal and professional development opportunities. “Most importantly, I’ve met wonderful colleagues through my professional involvement and career path who have become close friends, too.”

Lora acknowledges that she has “received so much more in return for my professional volunteer efforts. We are so fortunate to have GMC PCMA right in our backyard and have so many professionals to learn from who are so willing to share their personal experiences and offer advice and support to each other.”  She currently serves on GMC’s Student Membership Committee.

“I’m passionate about the industry and am focused on mentoring younger professionals and enjoy all that comes with being a meeting planner professional. It’s a demanding profession with many opportunities to make an impact for your employer and your members/clients, etc.,” Lora said. She said that we need to remind colleagues, family and friends to help educate the public and press on the contributions of the hospitality industry, including employment opportunities, to many sectors of our economy. 

She urges young professionals to identify a mentor, such as a faculty member or maybe someone they have met at a meeting, pursue an internship, and “scope out” the particular area of the hospitality industry that they would like to target.  She encourages both young and established professionals to “stay involved in industry associations like GMC PCMA” and “experience new activities and career opportunities.”

When she is not balancing professional demands, Lora enjoys spending time with her husband and 12- year-old son.  She relaxes through travel, gardening and reading.  As a first generation Italian American, she has visited Italy three times.  Other favorite destinations include Vancouver, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Michigan, Wisconsin – and Graceland.  Lora is a self-described “huge Elvis fan.”