"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.
Suriani Joins Meetings Management Group
Annette M. Suriani, CMP, has been appointed director of meetings by McLean, Va.-based Meetings Management Group, a division of the Association Management Group. Prior to joining MMG, Suriani was director of meetings and expositions at Painting and Decorating Contractors of America, based in St. Louis.
TK&A Custom Catering Promotes Smith
Taylor Smith has been promoted to event coordinator by TK&A Custom Catering, a high-end event and catering company in San Diego. His main duties are assisting clients with concept development and design, and the planning and execution of events. Previously, Taylor managed behind-the-scenes event operations for Hospitality Inc., TK&A Custom Catering's parent company.
ConferenceDirect, a site-selection and conference management company based in Los Angeles, has appointed Jed Arrogante as global account executive.
Event Producers, an event management, design and production company in New Orleans, has opened a new office in Chicago. John Beagle has been appointed to the position of general manager, and Tom Maguire will act as director sales and marketing.
Susan Drewery has been hired as sales manager for Chesapeake (Va.) Conventions and Tourism.
Michael McMahon, CRDE, has been appointed general manager of the 279-room Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Kevin Schiller has been named director of sales at the 1,000-room Sheraton Phoenix Downtown hotel.
Jeffrey E. Thomas is the new director of global group sales, East Coast, USA and Canada, for Kempinski Hotels.
Nathan Tollet has returned to the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau as director of sales. In his last stint at the bureau, Tollet was a national sales manager.
Michelle Travis has been hired as vice president of sales at the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association.