By Katie Scrivano
Wisconsin Meetings (WM) recently spoke with Carrie Jensen, an event manager and certified meeting professional for the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.
WM: What motivated you to get involved in meeting and event planning, and how has it translated to your current success?
CJ: In high school, growing up in St. Charles, Ill., I had an opportunity to participate in a a co-op program, was placed in the meetings department and loved it from the start. I earned my degree in elementary education, but once I started in the event industry, I never looked back!
WM: What sets you apart from other event planners?
CJ: I’d say the audience for which I plan events. League of Wisconsin Municipalities members are cities and villages throughout the state, and include mayors, city administrators and attorneys. We’re seeing a lot of change happening. Our members are looking for a mixture of in-person and online events, so we’re looking to create that balance in our offerings.
WM: Describe one of the meetings or events you’re most proud of and why.
CJ: We just celebrated the league’s 125th anniversary at our 125th annual conference in Green Bay and had a blast. From the staff dinner the night before, to the birthday celebration with live music, fantastic appetizers, carving stations and cake on the final night — it was a flawless celebration. I was proud to work with all of our partners to make it a success. From internal staff to Discover Green Bay and Hyatt Regency Green Bay staff to our members, it was a special celebration.
WM: What’s a unique thing you do when planning an event?
CJ: I do my very best to remember hotel staff names. I take lots of notes during events, but look for hotel staff who have great attitudes, and go above and beyond, and leave them handwritten thank-you notes with monetary gifts if my budget allows.
WM: How are virtual and hybrid events faring in the near and long term?
CJ: We’re using virtual (no hybrid) for some trainings and free monthly roundtables. It’s a great way to reach a large audience. Our free monthly roundtables provide a forum for our members to learn from one another. For us, they are growing in popularity, especially for our smaller municipalities or those in the northern part of Wisconsin. I foresee this trend continuing in both the near and long term, but you can never replicate the benefit of in-person events.
WM: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced over your event planning tenure?
CJ: Managing stress and anxiety. I’m a big anticipatory anxiety gal, so I must proactively work to keep it at bay before events. I utilize many cognitive behavior therapy strategies and practice self-care after events.
WM: What are you striving for in today’s event landscape?
CJ: Better, more transparent conversations and relationships with event partners. I strive to build great relationships, which often turn into friendships.