Coffee With... Martha McGinnis


Blitz joins Fission
Bethany Blitz has been appointed meetings manager at New York City-based Fission Communications, a division of McCann-Erickson Healthcare Worldwide. She comes from the now-defunct Worldwide Healthcare Communications, where she was a senior program director responsible for the company’s national and international medical conferences.

Opsitnick moves up at NREC
Jeff Opsitnick, CMP, has been hired as director, meeting and event planning, at the Arlington, Va.-based National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Previously, he spent 19 years with Marriott International, most recently as logistics manager and director of event management.

Zola appointed at SmithBucklin
Mary Ellyn Zola has joined Chicago-based SmithBucklin as executive director of Encompass, a computer-user group for business clients of Hewlett-Packard. Zola, responsible for the group’s meetings and conventions, previously was with Discovery Chicago, a medical-education provider.


Michele Bowling has been named senior sales manager at the 684-room French Lick (Ind.) Resort & Casino, which opens in November.

Steve Milo has been appointed director of sales at Coral Gables, Fla.-based Landry & Kling, Meetings at Sea.

Rick Mitrovich, CMP, is the new director of catering and convention services at the 1,625-room Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.

Mark Podolski has been appointed executive vice president of convention sales and marketing at the Anaheim/Orange County (Calif.) Visitor & Convention Bureau.

Mark Theis has been named executive vice president, sales, for the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau.

Karen Townsend recently joined the Jacksonville & the Beaches (Fla.) Convention & Visitors Bureau as senior national sales manager.

Martha McGinnis"I believe it is easier to grasp what goes on at a meeting in visuals than it is in words."

Martha McGinnis is president of Visual Logic (, an independent company that uses graphics -- drawings, sketches, voice bubbles, etc. -- to record the minutes, debates and decisions at approximately 50 to 60 meetings each year. She lives and works in Atlanta, where she started the company in early 2003.

What do you do at the meetings you attend? I lay out a huge roll of paper and record, highlight and illuminate an event’s key elements with color, words and drawings. I record meetings and provide in visuals a summary of what went on, what is discussed, what the moods and concerns were and what, perhaps, is decided upon. Written minutes do not encapsulate meetings in a way that people can see quickly what went on and what needs to be done after the meeting is over. I believe it is easier to grasp what goes on at a meeting in visuals than it is in words.

Does anyone criticize what you record? Not really. But if someone makes a valid point, that is an excellent way of fostering further discussion.

How did you get into this business? I have an MBA from the University of Kansas, and I worked for 20 years at Atlanta-based Colonial Pipeline Co., a fuel company. I discovered I loved facilitating, organizing and improving systems in what is a hazardous industry. I sat in on hundreds of meetings in different areas, such as finance, development, training and safety. In the last 10 years, I have helped design events always while asking myself the question: What is the bigger goal?