by By Terence Baker | September 01, 2004

Stephanie Cunningham, CMP

"Attrition remains an issue. Increasingly, I am training staff to ‘own’ their travel dates."

Stephanie Cunningham, CMP, is event coordinator at Avid Technology Inc., a Tewksbury, Mass.-based technology company serving the media industry. She has been an event planner for 10 years, the past five at Avid.

How do Avid’s products affect your role as an event planner? Avid’s trade show booths are intricate, and setup takes time, especially at the National Association of Broadcasters convention, the biggest show at which we exhibit. Our booth there is 11,000 square feet. This is where we tell the world about our new hardware and software solutions.

What are your responsibilities at the show? I manage housing for 500 to 1,000 Avid worldwide staff. Even though we manage the housing process in-house, attrition remains an issue, although each year I get a better handle on the actual number of people and room nights. The major challenge is that sometimes staff attendees can go only for a day, change their arrival and departure dates on the fly, or are redeployed and do not come at all. Increasingly, I am training staff to “own” their travel dates and require them to fill out a housing form that puts the onus on them in understanding how their nonattendance will affect their own cost centers.

How did you arrive at your job? I started out as an account rep at an electronics company, and part of that job was to train regional reps in new products. Then I took some meetings-management classes.

What do you do in your spare time? I really enjoy mountain biking and hiking, especially in Vermont, near Killington and Stowe.