the meeting planner
The Art of Being Involved
ALLISON KINSLEY, CMM, CMP is the Founder and Chief Meeting Architect for Littleton, Colorado-based Kinsley Meetings, a full-service, meetings management firm which will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary. Allison was recently nominated to serve on the Executive Committee of the Meeting Professionals International Board of Directors.
MPG : On your company’s website – kinsleymeetings.com – you provide a helpful series of short articles called “The Art of ...” Great stuff. I’d like you to share your thoughts on “The Art of Serving Others.” How important has “serving others” been to your success and the success of Kinsley Meetings?
Thanks for the opportunity to share our thoughts on this. What you refer to as “serving others,” is a cornerstone of Kinsley Meetings and of our success.
We talk about our “involvement”– which manifests itself in areas like volunteering and mentoring – both inside and outside of the meetings industry. Kinsley staff has leadership positions on boards of the Meetings Industry Council, IAEE, PCMA and MPI in the Rocky Mountain region, as well as on the board of Junior Achievement. We feel it is important for staff to take time to be a part of organizations outside the office for
a few reasons.
First is the educational value of learning from other leaders. We stay on top of trends and best-practices, which really serves our clients and their meetings. Second, it gives our staff the opportunity to explore and develop their strengths outside of the office setting. Finally, volunteer involvement supports the organizations that give our industry a voice - something that’s been very important, especially in the past few years.
In addition to being part of organizations, we also have been working with individuals in a mentoring role. When we last spoke, we talked about the war for talent – getting and keeping the people that have the education, the service mentality, and the drive to be successful in our industry. Those people, whether newcomers or experienced planners, can benefit from someone to talk to, to bounce ideas off, to make suggestions. It’s quite gratifying to feel that you’re helping someone define – or re-define – their career path. I know I’ve been grateful to those who have guided me
in this way, so it makes great sense to
be of service to others.
Please share a story that can help us understand the value of serving others
to your success?
We have informally gotten involved with the Colorado Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting for the past several years, supporting the CEO with content and strategic consulting, and also working on logistics and on-site staffing. As a result, we’ve learned about a variety of Colorado-based associations, one of which, the Financial Planning Association, has just brought us on to manage their portfolio of meetings.
I’m delighted that our pro bono work for CSAE has connected us with a
What do you believe is the greatest challenge that we as an industry are facing? What should we be doing
to address this challenge?
We continue to be undervalued as a profession, in part, I believe, because so many of us are accustomed to consciously avoiding the spotlight. Another major reason, though, is that ours is a profession perpetually in transition. Are we purely tacticians or are we heeding the pressing need for strategic direction behind and around the meetings we plan? The answer is that many planners fall somewhere
To address this challenge, I recommend certifications like the CMM. On a less formal note, I think that industry engagement (yes, all the things we discussed above), continuing education on the local, national or international level, and awareness of and involvement in industry advocacy efforts are all areas we need to seriously consider.
What is your top priority in your new senior leadership role on the board of Meeting Professionals International?
It’s an honor to be part of the MPI Board. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot in this first year about the organization and its governance. One of the Board’s primary focus areas is to provide strategic leadership and to guide the evolution of the association. I’ve been fascinated with our industry’s evolution for the past 30 years, and
I’m excited about any part I can play
in its future direction.
If you were addressing a group of young meeting professionals, what is your best advice that could help them succeed.
While this is true for young meeting professionals, it really applies to everyone: Find ways to connect with people in our industry. You will not move ahead, get a first job, or find
your dream position by hiding behind
a paper or electronic resumé, or by hoping people will come find you.
We are a community that thrives on face-to-face interaction. Attend local meetings, join a committee, be involved.
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