Education Institute: What Keeps You Up at Night?

    by Bonnie Wallsh, CMP, CMM

    Chief Strategist of Bonnie Wallsh Associates, LLC


    Following my layoff from the New York City Board of Education in 1976, I worked as an outside travel agent. When I was invited on a one week cruise for $9.56, I paid for my husband to join me. It was the best investment that I ever made. He won $100.00 playing blackjack and handed it to me to start my own business. I had no meeting planning or business experience but I did have the passion, determination, tenacity, and my husband’s support to succeed by making more money than I did as a teacher.

    As a novice event planner, I made many mistakes that became the basis of crisis management sessions that I have developed. Singlehandedly, I took two busloads of senior citizens on a day trip to Philadelphia escorting them on a route that I had carefully planned in advance. One man collapsed in Federal Hall and was rushed to a local hospital with his wife where he was pronounced dead.

    I worked with a meetings magazine on a three round golf tournament for meeting planners and suppliers at sites where American Airlines provided free airline tickets and facilities hosted the foursomes. The day before I was scheduled to fly to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, for the 2nd round, I received a telephone call that the airport was closed because Hurricane Hugo was approaching. I had a choice of rescheduling the tournament or selecting an alternate site which would not be impacted by the hurricane and it had to be a city serviced by American Airlines.

    Vice President George H.W. Bush was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a major travel industry conference. That morning I read that a head of state in the Arab world had died and I thought nothing of it until I learned that the Vice President would be representing the U.S. at the funeral. Who could replace the Vice President on very short notice?

    As meeting and event professionals, we are continually confronting challenges to ensure the safety of our participants and the fulfillment of meeting and event objectives. Meeting and event sponsors, participants, speakers, suppliers look to us, as meeting professionals, for guidance and direction in worst case scenarios. Certainly our business is not for the faint hearted!

    Don’t miss this opportunity to actively participate in this session on risk management which will elicit, in advance, your individual concerns about what keeps you up at night. After clarifying a definition of risk management, we’ll analyze risk management techniques, utilize actual case studies, evaluate how to create, develop, and implement your risk management plan, and you’ll collect invaluable resources. What should be included in your own personal risk management plan? Following our session, group notes will be distributed to all participants submitting e-mail addresses within 24 hours of the conclusion of the MPIPHL Institute.

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