Carol Krugman, MEd, CMP, CMM, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Chair, Department of Hospitality, Tourism & Events
Metropolitan State University of Denver
When I joined MSU Denver, there was only one course specifically related to meetings. It has taken me and my faculty colleagues five years to develop the Bachelor of Science in Event and Meeting Management degree. Beginning in September, we’ll be one of only four programs in the country to offer a standalone baccalaureate degree in event and meeting management, and the only one based on global industry benchmarks—the professional Meeting and Business Event Competency Standards and the Certified Meeting Professional–International Standards.
My vision is to see meeting and event management transition from an industry to a profession. We’re moving in that direction. Professions are founded on a recognized body of knowledge and competency standards (MBECS and CMP-IS were completed in 2011), recognition as a separate job category by the Department of Labor (achieved in 2015), and academic preparation aligned with the industry’s standards. This is where we have broken ground with our new BS in Event and Meeting Management, and I look forward to helping colleagues in other programs who may consider developing or adapting curricula to align with the MBECS/CMP-IS. The next step will be working toward accreditation for the meetings industry’s academic programs.
Making change is not easy! Inertia and denial are both very powerful. Most people don’t want to change. To start, you need a vision of what you want to accomplish, but you also have to have the conviction that the vision is worthwhile and attainable, the passion to share it, the ability to communicate its value, and the patience and persistence to keep going even if it’s a long-term proposition.
The expression “giving back to the industry” is too amorphous. I much prefer the concept of “paying forward,” which better reflects the generosity of time, expertise, and spirit that so many people have provided to me over the years. And what I am doing now is the ultimate paying forward for me: helping make a dedicated meeting and event management degree accessible to colleagues, exploring accreditation models and feasibility, sharing everything I’ve learned with the next generation of faculty and students, and remaining active in the industry as an advocate for the academic segment that can no longer be ignored.
Best Business Advice
In my career, I didn’t consciously follow what is now known as “blue ocean strategy,” where you look for new markets rather than compete for a share of an existing market; however, that’s the way it worked out. When I started Krugman Group International, my focus was first on planning meetings outside the U.S. and quickly narrowed to meetings in Latin America for the pharmaceutical market. That was a blue ocean in which I was highly effective and that I really loved. My advice is to get clear on what you do best and what you love to do, and then determine your blue ocean—that is, position yourself as unique and expert within an uncrowded segment of the market.
When I worked at Merck, my very first corporate boss was wonderful. He shared everything he knew and was always encouraging and available. Then he let me fly and reveled in my success. I learned the importance and value of generous, supportive management from him.
Got a Spare Hour?
What I do to relax is needlepoint and petit point. I call it my “brain lavage.” It doesn’t require any decision-making. It completely takes me down from the day. I used to buy the kits, but now my husband, who is a talented artist, creates the designs that I stitch.
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