Independent Thinkers

Before I participated in PCMA's Independent Planner Think Tank, I thought "tank" might take on a different meaning. Not a shark tank, but maybe more like an aquarium where the fish warily circle each other.

After all, the 24 independent planners who gathered in a meeting room at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside would be small business owners competing for business. How open would they be to sharing their challenges and the hard-earned secrets to their success?

As it turned out, very. The sense of community was palpable. They clearly appreciated that this forum was created in order for them to have meaningful discussions about the work that they have in common. And the discussions continue on a LinkedIn Group created for those independent planner participants.

While there, I asked Max Suzenaar, CEO of Minding Your Business — whose company’s tagline is “A Strategic Agency” — to talk about how planner consultants can become more strategic in the way they approach events. As a non-staff member, the planner is not privy to the organization’s culture, goals, and objectives. Unless they ask. Here’s what he had to say — please excuse the background music. This is, after all, New Orleans, and we were sitting on a deck overlooking the Mississippi River.

Samantha Bowerman, CMP, president of Strategic Meetings Group, shared an “epiphany moment” she had during the Think Tank that helped her think about marketing her services in a new way.



Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.