Meeting Planning: Best Job of 2011?

US News & World ReportMeeting planners know all about hard work. We juggle many things, put in long hours and not many people know exactly what we do. As a matter of fact, meeting planners are right up there with CEOs - minus the perks, benefits and six-plus figure salaries.

So it comes as an unexpected delight to find that US News & World Report considers meeting planning one of the top 50 jobs of 2011. It looks like our profession is finally becoming, well, professional. I've known for many years that in order to do what we do, we have to act like a CEO - look at the big picture of the organization while managing small day-to-day details.

Although I like to joke that meeting planners have been around for millennia, it's only recently that the profession has gotten an ego boost from prestigious educational institutions now offering certificate programs, undergrad majors and even graduate business degrees in, yep, you guessed it, Meeting Planning. Tie it to tourism  (which is commonly considered an aspect of meetings) and you have the largest industry in the world with significant economic impacts.

As a result, we are becoming more strategic and our input more meaningful. As budgets shrink and members and customers demand more for their dollar, meeting planners will be called on to provide not only a return on investment, but a return on time, making sure the meetings we plan provide honest, true value.

Let's make everyone aware of what it means to be a Meeting Planner. After all, it's the professional thing to do.
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