by By Kaylee Hultgren | September 01, 2009

0909 TBreining2"One thing that's come out of economic challenge is the fact that we have to measure meetings."

In January 1988, Terri Breining, CMP, CMM, launched Concepts Worldwide, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based meetings management company with 13 employees serving the pharmaceuticals industry. Last month, she ceased operations. Breining spoke with M&C about that tough decision.

What led to the company's demise? The economy just beat us up. We lost and couldn't replace some anchor clients. We were notified they were canceling in January, but there's a long, complex sales cycle required for those types of events; we didn't have enough business to keep going.

What was the highlight of running your business?
There are so many! I have worked with remarkable people. I've been able to make contributions to the meetings industry, through volunteering and participating. I have produced meetings that have made a difference to my clients. I don't know if any job gets better than that. It's a bittersweet end, but I don't look back with regret.

What have you learned along the way?
When I started, I knew a lot about meeting planning and nothing about running a business. I've learned how to be good business owner and a boss from working with some of the most brilliant people.

What will you do next? I'm not going to start a new company. I'll focus on things I've drifted toward, such as the strategic element of meetings and ROI, doing facilitating and training, and audits of meetings departments. One thing that's come out of economic challenge is the fact that we have to measure meetings.