Jennifer Brown is a student again. She is not back in school per se like her time as a Speech Communication major at University of California-Fresno or Fresno Pacific University where she received her Master of Arts in Organizational Development. No, this time Brown, like most everyone in the meetings world, is navigating the galaxy of webinars and virtual events trying to gain knowledge on how to move forward with the meetings she produces.
It’s just another challenge this veteran of hospitality and meetings will surely master.
From her early days as a bartender in her hometown of Fresno, California to assistant general manager at Prism Hotels & Resorts to her current position as Director of Meetings & Events at Pharmaceutical Strategies Group (a Plano, Texas-based company which helps hospitals and health systems optimize employee benefits, reduce pharmacy costs while supplying enhanced clinical oversight and compliance), Brown has learned to wear many hats in this industry. She sees the challenges from many different sides of the business.
“We’re all in the same boat. We are all trying to gather as much information and get a consensus in the industry,” said the one-time Food & Beverage Training Manager for Harrah’s Entertainment in Las Vegas. “People need face-to-face meetings and trade shows. We will all be meeting again.”
One of the hurdles Brown is researching is how to make her company as viable and effective when it is exhibiting at a conference. “We normally have client events in a catering space or a lounge with eating and drinking and laughing,” she said, now facing the challenges of an on-line conference. “We are still trying to see what that will look like.”
Like many in this learning mode, Brown is dealing with the bombardment of information which has found its way to her.
“I try to not let my inbox dictate my day,” said Brown, whose first job with PSG had her managing the company’s travel bookings as well as hotel contracts. “There is so much CoVid overload and virtual (meeting) overload. I think I’m more mentally exhausted now than I ever was before.”
As for her own meetings, Brown says it is still early to know when, but she thinks she knows how her meetings will roll out. “We will probably start more regionally (with meetings) in Texas. Our company was already two-thirds remote anyway. So we are used to coming together for gatherings. We will definitely be having meetings.”
And when those meetings happen, Brown will surely be learning from them as well.
Notes: Brown, who lives in Boynton Beach, Florida, says she has done one thing during this stay-at-home hiatus that most people don’t know– rescue a French bulldog. An avid water-activity fan, Brown enjoys many events of the sea, especially deep-sea fishing.
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