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Attendee Experience Above All

Changemaker Amy Zellmer employed creative strategies to roll out a new events division at a marketing agency.

MeetingsNet’s annual Changemaker list recognizes 15 outstanding meetings professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways. Find all the profiles here.

Amy Zellmer, SMMC

Formerly Vice President,
Meetings and Incentives at GMR Marketing LLC

For rolling out a new events division at an experiential marketing agency that blends  with the company’s strengths


Making Change 

I was tasked with launching a new meetings and incentives division within a marketing
agency, which required a unique strategy to appropriately blend the approach of an experiential agency with the nuances of meeting and incentive events. With the meetings industry shifting away from the tactical to focus on attendee experiences, it made sense to leverage GMR Marketing’s many years of experiential expertise to bring an innovative and fresh approach to planning meetings and events. To truly impact the way that attendees think, feel, and behave, I brought together a team of professionals who not only possessed a passion for experience design, but who excelled at the logistics to support the execution. The end result was an enhanced service offering that places the attendee journey at the core while curating brand-centric experiences to align with the desired outcome. 

What’s Next? 

As the business world begins to recover, it’s certain that the meetings industry will experience a metamorphosis. It’s a powerful and closely connected industry that endures change with grace; when it comes back it will be stronger and more resilient than before. The strategy we had set in motion in early 2020 shifted to a focus on partnership and developing the new model of what meetings will look like. It’s our job to bring solutions to the table so that our clients are confident we can deliver the desired results, and so they know their attendees’ needs are addressed on every level. The changes in our industry are happening fast and executional strategy will continue to evolve over time. It is critical that planners and suppliers keep the lines of communication open and work together to provide clients with the comfort level needed to host and attend live meetings.

Managing Change

Change is what we do, it’s what we plan for. To be prepared, I make sure I am keenly aware of whatever change could happen, the potential impact of that change on the people and the program, and then commit the time to research the options to minimize any negative impacts.

Best Business Advice Received  

Many years ago, a very wise leader I know shared his definition of empathy in such a way that my world was forever changed. Here it is: Before drawing a conclusion about a situation or a person, take a moment to understand the circumstances surrounding the actions and decisions taken so far. This will provide clarity and guidance that benefits everyone involved. 

From that, approaching people with empathy has allowed me to create strong, supportive, successful teams.

Thinking Differently  

I believe there is a time and a place for tradition along with windows of opportunity for ingenuity. I’ve found a balance between the two by actively listening to others. Whether it’s your clients, your team, or your peers, when you truly listen you gain an understanding of the decision drivers, and then you know when to maintain the status quo and when to push for insightful change. 



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