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‘We Have Great Visibility’ No two companies are exactly alike when it comes to their meetings function — from who reports to whom and how much autonomy any one group has, to how procure- ment functions and whether there’s a Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP) in place. With that in mind, we asked our Best Companies to Work For about the back- end wiring of their meetings departments.


Kati Quigley, CMP, senior director of worldwide partner group marketing, Microsoft Corporation The central event team sits in marketing. I am given responsibility for managing my event as my own business, but there are many stakeholders across the company that have to be in agreement with the direction and decisions in order to be successful. We don’t have a formal SMMP, but we have a really strong process in place, connected with procure- ment and systems and tools that support the process.


Cindy Scharringhausen, senior vice president of hu- man resources, Camden Property Trust We do not have a centralized meeting department. Human resources re- ports to the president of the company. We have quite a lot of autonomy. We seek feedback in our planning process to make sure we are meeting the entire company’s objec- tives. We share information about the conference with our peers and leadership throughout the planning stages. At this time, we do not have an SMMP program.


Don Jones, vice president of sales for the Americas, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts We do not have a meeting-planning department. Each meeting will have an


“internal lead” — and, when possible, the logistics and plan- ning are outsourced to a meeting-planning company. The internal lead has significant autonomy, and the meeting- planning company follows the direction from the internal lead. We definitely consider our outsourced meeting-plan- ning company an integral piece of the planning process and give them a seat at the table. We count on their input and expertise, and value the direction and advice they provide. We do not have an SMMP. Our meeting-planning function is very decentralized.


Ann Woelfel, CMP, vice president and manager of corporate events, Robert W. Baird & Co. I report to the head of our HR department, which we call “human capital.” Conferences and external-facing events report up through research and sales. We look at our job as a partnership with all of our clients. We don’t go making critical decisions on our own. That said, we do have a fair amount of autonomy when it comes to making recom- mendations and decisions. Because we report to someone on the executive team, I feel we have great visibility and are respected for what we do. Having an SMMP is a work in progress. It’s definitely a huge goal of mine. Do we find admins are still booking space on occasion? Yes. We hear about it, and it drives us crazy — but we just remind them that’s what we’re here for.


PCMA.ORG


JULY 2013 PCMA CONVENE


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