Kathryn Gleesing, MBA, CMP, works in Muskego, Wisconsin, as president and CEO at Destination Management Connection. As a 2019 15 Over 50 honoree, Gleesing discusses her passion for the events industry.
What I do: I do everything from business development, sales and marketing, operations, legal (contracts), accounting and IT. I assist corporations either locally or meeting in Wisconsin, with their event, from planning to execution including: transportation, entertainment, décor, catering, airport transfers, finding unique venue space for an evening reception or teambuilding exercise. I make the client’s job easier, handling all the details with one call or email.
How I got here: I have been in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years, with 15 years as director of convention services and housing at Visit Milwaukee. I was helping clients locate caterers, off-site venues for evening receptions, transportation, etc. However, I would only refer them to other DMCs or vendors that could assist. I left the CVB and worked as a meeting planner for 15 years, supervising a meetings division of 15 FTE. We handled more than 70 meetings a year in the U.S. and Canada, the biggest one was for 12,000 people. I then took the love of the destination and my meeting planning background and started my company.
Greatest career accomplishments: I’m most proud of starting my company and being successful immediately. I’m also proud of obtaining the CMP certification and maintaining it since 1994.
Impressive Stats: I have more than doubled my business each year and continue to assist new clients as well as having repeat business.
What I do outside of work: I have been involved with various committees for a professional industry association: Association of Destination Management Executives International. I served as the Education Chair for the 2019 annual conference and on the membership committee. I have served as an advisory board member of Visit Milwaukee’s Customer Advisory Board and Review My Speaker. I am also a past president of the Event Service Professionals Association, having served on that board for seven years.