This post is an introduction to our new series, “Wanted: New Breed of Professional Planners,” where we describe a new breed of professional planners who help business executives focus on people, performance and profitability through strategic corporate meetings and events.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
- George Bernard Shaw
Throughout my career I’ve had the privilege and pleasure to wear a few career hats. From a teenage model (highlight experiencing Paris fashion week) to a management role (at 23) in financial services. While all the roles have been personally and professionally rewarding, none of them compare to the diversity of experiences I have had as a meeting and event professional planner.
Looking back to the mid-80s, when my professional planning career started, I never imagined that one day I would be referred to as a veteran planner. A badge of honour I have worn proudly!
If there is one thing I’ve learned during my career, it’s that change is constant. It’s necessary and, for the most part, it’s good! Change affects everyone in different ways. Though there is one change that has had the same impact on professional planners and the world in general: the Internet.
And just when we figured out how to charter the Internet waters, technology rapids once again engulf and challenge us to change our lives and the world!
The significance of this change on the role of a professional planner can be summarized as we went from (incoming tough love):
- Leading with knowledge to following knowledge.
- Being subject matter experts on travel & hospitality logistics to order-takers.
- Being a valuable asset to our organization to being made redundant.
Today, a typical recruitment ad for a professional planner might read:
"Strong willed, determined, focused, attentive individual with in-depth understanding of company culture and structure. Comfortable advising c-level management is a plus. Must have proficiency in change management, communication and finance. Must understand corporate and marketing strategy. Excellent project management and presentation skills are essential."
What’s missing from the ad is any reference to knowledge and skills in travel and hospitality logistics. That’s because this skill is not relevant to meetings and events core value proposition.
The bottom line is the new breed of professional planners is not the same with different stripes. The new breed of planner is someone focused on aligning meetings and events with business goals and positioning them beyond the traditional travel & hospitality logistics and audience engagement. We refer to this new breed as Event Alignment Strategists .
An Event Alignment Strategist is someone who provides advice to senior management regarding an organization’s event portfolio investment. They counsel business leaders on how to achieve top/bottom line growth, deliver excellent customer service and help their organization innovate to stay competitive through leveraging the organization’s internal and external meetings and events.
Finally, an Event Alignment Strategist is a leader not a follower. She is a person with wisdom and integrity always ready to listen and empower. This is important because, and, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw…all progress depends on the unreasonable woman!
Over the coming weeks we will expand on our hypothetical recruitment ad and drill down on the role, responsibilities and business acumen required to be an Event Alignment Strategist. We hope you join the conversation.