At Ashfield Meetings & Events, Jennifer Perry has taken on a new role. The former account director is taking her logistical and educational background in a new direction as director of training and recruitment, responsible for developing an engaged and knowledgeable staff to serve Ashfield’s target market: the fast-moving pharmaceutical meetings and events industry. We asked the 20-year industry veteran a few questions she may be thinking about in her new role.
MeetingsNet: As meetings and incentives change, planners need to evolve, too. What do you see as today’s most common gaps in planner knowledge and training?
Jennifer Perry: I think planners are married to organization. Every good planner worth his or her weight has a system of checklists, to-do lists, and tools in their toolkit to ensure that every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed. However, event technology and the use of social platforms has put the attendee experience front and center. Attendees have instant access to information and feel compelled to share their opinions and impressions in real time. Planners need to consider not only how they plan, but the impact of their planning on the attendee experience.
MeetingsNet: When you hire a meeting planner, what are the two most important qualities you look for?
Perry: I look for someone who embraces ownership of all the moving parts of planning a successful meeting. It’s not just about seamless logistics; energy is also key. Confidence, pride in your work, and a strong work ethic go a long way, too.
MeetingsNet: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
Perry: Studying and tasting wine has been a long-time hobby of mine. For my 40th birthday, I decided to check an item off my bucket list and take the exam to get certified as a sommelier.