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Two Minutes with Toby Frowen

Munich-based event agency Proske has hired a former pharmaceutical meeting professional to build its U.S. business.

Proske is on the move. In August, the German event agency hired noted meeting professional Kevin Iwamoto, GLP, GTP, as strategic advisor to assist with the launch of a U.S. division, and on October 10, it announced Toby Frowen will lead the U.S. operations as vice president, Proske U.S.

Proske has a strong focus on strategic meetings management, and Frowen will bring her experience as global lead, meeting programs at Amgen to the role. Frowen has also served as meeting program consultant at ZS and strategic account director at Maritz Global Events.

We caught up with Frowen a few weeks into the new role to ask about her experience and the changes ahead.

MeetingsNet: Change management is critical to SMM success, digital transformation, and other meeting department initiatives. What have you learned about implementing change that you didn’t know when you started in the business?
Toby Frowen: I didn’t realize how unilaterally disliked change management is in professional and personal-life settings. I’ve learned that by acknowledging that change is not instant, especially in larger enterprises, people will eventually accept it. Don’t overwhelm them; dole it out piecemeal. Also, when managing change in a global organization, you need champions in and out of your home country who can guide you and help you understand cultural differences. If you acknowledge and incorporate an organization’s culture, it makes all the difference.

MeetingsNet: As Proske expands into the U.S., what do you think the company will need to do differently in the American market compared to Europe?
Frowen: In the American market we will capitalize on Proske’s innovative approaches while addressing the specific needs of U.S. clients. However, communication and cultural understanding between our headquarters in Germany and the U.S. are critical for us to succeed. The pace of decision-making will need to be faster in the U.S. versus Germany.

MeetingsNet: What’s the most memorable conference you’ve attended from the perspective of conference design, and what made it stand out?
Frowen: In 2019, I attended an incentive event for Amgen with attendees from all parts of the globe.  We brought together employees from diverse cultures and created an agenda and social schedule that allowed people to learn and bond together despite cultural differences.  We made special efforts to create sessions that were culturally sensitive and that were delivered in an unintimidating manner.

MeetingsNet: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
Frowen: Many people view me as an outgoing people person, but I’m far more introverted than I’m perceived.  I prefer to be in the background, and feel more comfortable being in small groups where I make more of an impact.

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