Senior Planners Should Consider Taking SPIN for a Spin

SPINIf you are a senior meeting professional, someone who has planned meetings for at least 10 years, there’s a special place for you. Coincidentally, this place is also celebrating a special milestone.

Senior Planners Industry Network, or SPIN, just reached the three-year mark and all signs point to continued growth. SPIN is an independent network led by the motto: BY senior-level planners, FOR senior-level planners. One of the other things that makes SPIN unique is it’s a member-driven operation, meaning each member has a voice in the group’s major decisions.

As they approached this milestone, SPIN asked its members if they thought there would be value in a paid membership, reiterating its belief that SPIN only exists if its members find value in it.

Believe it or not, the answer was yes. And no. They did the reasonable thing and offered its members both. Elite membership is a paid option and comes with certain benefits for Elite members only.

However, Basic membership continues to be complimentary. The only requirement is that you be a senior-level planners, someone who has planned meetings full time for at least 10 years (most members average around 20 years!).

There is an in-between-level membership called Supporter. It shares some of the benefits of the Elite level.

As a peer-led and peer-focused organization, SPIN doesn’t have a lot of small committees trying to gauge all members’ needs. The group tends to move as one large unit, doing its best to create opportunities to meet the needs of all senior-level planners, a unique group in and of itself.

Shawna Suckow founded SPIN as a LinkedIn group with the hope of getting at least 30 members. Within a matter of months, the group grew to 500. Now with 1,900 members, Suckow is finding she’s hit on something significant. She left her salaried job and began full time on SPIN.

She says she began SPIN because she felt senior-level planners were so used to putting the needs of others before the needs of themselves that their own professional development suffered. “There's also not a lot of education out there geared just for us.  We need our own private forum to connect, learn, vent (sometimes), ask questions, and share ideas amongst ourselves, “ she said. 

“This group enables us to reconnect with colleagues and create new relationships.  At our quarterly Think Tanks, we get to plug back in, exchange brilliant ideas and reinvigorate.  At our annual SPINCon North American Conference, we reconnect, meet new peers and explore new concepts.”

I tend to agree with Suckow. After nearly two decades as a planner, not only is it a challenge to find relevant networks and connections, but it’s a challenge to know what I need from those networks and connections. Congratulations to SPIN!

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