by Morton D. Rosenbaum | November 01, 2005

Janice Telstar"Like a lot of people in my age bracket, I kind of fell into CVB  work. Once I realized how exciting it was, I was hooked."

After working for 19 years (and five departments) at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Janice Telstar, assistant director of convention services, was named president of the Princeton Junction, N.J.-based Association for Convention Operations Management this year. M&C asked Telstar about her humble beginnings and everything since.

So how did this career start? I was working as an administrative assistant in the communications department.  Like a lot of people in my age bracket, I kind of fell into CVB work. Once I realized how exciting it was, I was hooked.

What should planners know about convention services managers? Just to expect the best, and consider the CSM an extension of their staff. Half of our job is making our clients aware of how valuable we can be. At Philly, we’re always increasing the level of service we’re providing.

For example? We had a huge meeting in town with an Earth, Wind & Fire concert planned on the parkway. When a tremendous storm came through the region that day, our client called at noon asking if I could secure 8,000 rain ponchos. They didn’t all look alike, and some of them had other corporate logos on them, but the ponchos were there.

On the subject of storms, how is ACOM aiding the Katrina relief project? Of course, we’re linking our website to the Professional Convention Management Association’s relief fund. On top of that, we’re working on a more personalized ACOM fund so that our affected members we’re talking 25 to 35 people will get some extra cash around the holidays this year.