Last week Lynne Patton, a former event planner for the Trump family and board member of the Eric Trump Foundation, was promoted to head of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Region II. The appointment is controversial; two New York Representatives have urged the administration to rethink its choice because the only previous government post Patton has held was as White House liaison to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. I don’t know if Patton is qualified for the job or not, but it got me thinking about what would happen if more event planners were in the government.
First off, the government would be more deadline oriented and less wasteful. Meeting planners dive into the details. They know how to get things done on time and under budget. They plan years in advance to get the right venue, they calculate the amount of food their attendees will eat to cut down on waste, and they negotiate every aspect of an event to get the best deal for attendees while still supporting the local economy. Whatever your politics are, I think we can agree that “on time and under budget” are concepts that need to be applied more often in Washington, D.C.
Secondly, America would be friendlier. Most event planners I have met seem to be drawn to the industry because they really do care about people, and that’s a characteristic we need more of in government. I like to think that the current bipartisan atmosphere would improve and that whole red state/blue state-divide would become a little more purple.
If event planners ran the government, things would be calmer. Planners keep their cool, whether it’s a problem with equipment failure or a speaker is a no-show, meeting professionals have a back-up plan, or at least know to open the bar early and keep smiling. MeetingsNet recently wrote about Mandy Hazlett at FFA and the four-day event she runs for 40,000 teenagers. Is it too late to nominate her for the State Department? If you can handle 40,000 teenagers in one place for four days, the diplomatic missions of the U.S. are probably not such a big deal.
Lastly, America would be so much healthier if event planners ran the government. Planners make sure their guests have vegetarian and gluten-free options, and there is usually a fabulous creative salad. Chair yoga, group meditations, and fun runs are standard practice at events these days. If meeting planners ran America we’d all be stretching regularly and eating our greens.
If I ever see a candidate for the “Planner Party” on a ballot, I guarantee he or she will get my vote.