Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 24 2014

How To Redefine The Role Of A Meeting Planner

By Michelle Crowley

Planner. Coordinator. Logistician. There are plenty of traditional names for meeting professionals who oversee the details of designing and executing conventions, but in today’s do-more-with-less industry, those typical names aren’t cutting it anymore.

At the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo in Melbourne, Australia, I had the opportunity to moderate a session with Carolyn Pund, senior global strategic meetings manager, Cisco Systems, Inc., and Ping He, global general manager, APAC, Maritz Travel Company. The two focused on the importance of redefining themselves within the organization’s eyes as leaders who are focused on shaping a more promising future for their entire organizations. He offered a new definition: global change maker and grand thinker.

While that title might not show up on a business card, its aspirational quality is a key ingredient to becoming part of the senior-level conversation. There is plenty of talk of “getting a seat at the table” within an organization, and the seat needs to be occupied with a forward-thinking perspective. He and Pund both stressed that they have worked to arrange their team structures to avoid falling back into managing logistical details. They’re both all about strategy, carving out how their meetings advance the big-picture objectives and highlighting how continued investment in meetings pays off.

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As I met more planners from around the Asia-Pacific region at the expo, it was clear that the audience included plenty of those big thinkers who are out to change the world. From how to monetize digital meetings to how to uncover business opportunities through big data, the conversation at AIME was an advanced-level look at the future of bringing people together.

It’s a conversation I hear everywhere I travel, too. From IMEX and EIBTM to MICE Connect in Singapore to PCMA’s Global Medical Meetings Summit in London, it’s an exciting time to see meeting planners positioning themselves as leaders in the era of globalization.

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Looking to gain some education of your own? PCMA is hosting digital events specifically for the Asia-Pacific and European regions. 

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