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Shauna Whitehead

2 Minutes with Shauna Whitehead

BCD Meetings & Events expanded its team in March, adding Shauna Whitehead as vice president, global account management and Nancy Medoff as vice president, global sales. Whitehead, a meetings-industry veteran of 20 years most recently with CWT Meetings & Events, took a few minutes to share her experience with MeetingsNet.

MeetingsNet: Five years from now, what won’t we be doing at corporate events that we’re doing today?

Whitehead: Today, we find clients not fully adapting to the fact that the digital world has arrived. In five years, we will no longer be having conversations questioning the use of digital. Instead, the question will be how we further optimize, connect, and engage with various attendee demographics. Everything we do will be mobile first, web second. We will also extend the duration of an event’s engagement in a whole new way—it will no longer be centered on arrival and departure dates. We will focus on the behaviors an organization is attempting to change or inspire, and our ability to engage and captivate an attendee pre-during-post (ongoing).

MN: What do you wish corporations better understood about global strategic meetings management rollouts?

Whitehead: I wish they better understood that spending time upfront to gain a true understanding of their organization’s current state in all markets being considered provides invaluable information that can be used toward scoping a much more strategic and realistic pre-planning path. This is true for both start-ups as well as SMM expansions (adding markets or service components). Engaging key stakeholders upfront and having them involved when assessing both the current and future state lays a foundation of engagement that will allow for a better adoption and support structure all the way from implementation to delivery and program optimization. The only other thing I wish was better understood is that an SMM program doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can start as simple or as complex as you want in the global space. Typically, starting small and getting some quick wins gives you the momentum and support needed to progress at a pace that is reasonable for the business yet still impactful to the goals and objectives driving the program.

MN: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?

Whitehead: I’m an Australian living in Minnesota. So there’s that! From a leadership perspective, I strive to create a team culture that is collaborative, empowering, and encourages new thoughts and ideas and is not limited by current realities.

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