Want To Be An Event Planner?

There are growing career opportunities in the meeting and event industry. Here's how to get in the door.

of the check-offs, but it wasn’t such a big deal. Now when we do meetings, we have to have a risk-management strategy prepared to discuss with our attendees before they travel. Everything from how long it would take you to get in and out of the airport is now a huge part of planning a meeting,” says Hill.

Multicultural meetings: There’s an anticipated 20% growth in the number of multicultural meetings held worldwide. MPI Foundation created the MPI Multicultural Initiative to increase multicultural business-to-business opportunities in the event industry. Hill, who is the founding chairperson, hopes to provide more leadership opportunities and professional development for African American, Hi
spanic, and Asian constituents (www.multicultural.mpiweb.org).

Industry Organizations:

  • Convention Industry Council (www.conventionindustry.org) represents more than 98,000 individuals and 15,000 firms involved in the meeting, convention, and exhibition industry. It offers a certified meeting professional designation for full-time professionals with a minimum of three years of meeting management experience. A written exam is administered to those who qualify. A CMP must recertify every five years.
  • MPI (www.mpiweb.org) provides professional development, resources, networking opportunities, and strategic partnerships.
  • MPI Foundation, the research and development arm of MPI, offers scholarships for related undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education studies (www.mpiweb.org/resources/wli).
  • The National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (www.ncbmp.com) provides training and educational programs as well as networking opportunities and resources, including consultants and vendors. The organization holds two meetings annually.

MONIQUE NERO’S POWER MOVES:

  • National Urban League. With a master’s degree in educational communication and technology, Nero left teaching in the New York City school system and accepted the national program director position with the league, managing a $1.5 million budget.
  • United Parcel Service. Nero was the public relations administrative manager, planning internal meetings and coordinating professional development seminars. She planned United Way campaign corporate and interdepartmental events, increasing donations by 22%.
  • MCI Worldcom Telecommunications Inc. As senior business programs staff specialist in event marketing services, Nero’s duties included managing annual conference workshops. She also directed regional events, including kick-off events for new product seminar series. She received the Marketing Services Circle of Champions Recognition for outstanding performance.
  • BellSouth Telecommunications Inc. Nero was hired as the events manager for Small Business Services to develop and manage the customer event program’s strategic and communications plans to strengthen the unit’s market position. Within one year, she was able to increase the average seminar attendance from 95 to 250. Working with a $3.5 million budget, Nero saved the company $300,000 in 2001.

In 2004, Nero was recruited to her current position as manager of strategic relations and special events in the Office of Diversity. By combining several separate internal company conferences, she says her efforts to date have saved the company more than $100,000.

SALARY RANGES
The average planner earned $60,714 in 2002, which was more than a 10% increase from two years prior. The mean annual wage for a meeting and convention planner is $42,570, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2003).

Compensation by experience:
Less than 3 years $39,003 — $45,434
3 to 5 years $50,117 — $58,861
6 to 9 years $51,724 — $63,420
10 to 14 years

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