Kari Messenger, CMP, 32, works in Chicago as senior meetings manager at Association Management Center. As a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree, Messenger discusses her passion for the events industry.
*Connect with Messenger on Instagram.
What I do: I execute planning the future meetings of each association, while keeping in mind their specific needs and personalities, and tailoring their event execution accordingly. I am lucky enough to manage several staff and help them grow into their own careers by identifying their strengths to contribute to the team.
How I got here: I learned that I had a passion for working in hospitality from my first job, a cashier at Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits. There I found my strengths of performing under pressure, working with many different personalities, and my passion for providing excellent customer service. In college, I majored in hospitality and the rest is history!
Greatest career accomplishment: Being elected to serve as board of directors for Association for Women in Events. I am so honored to have the opportunity to work with a group that is as passionate about the industry as I am. Ensuring women are helping other women grow into their careers is our mission and I am excited to be a part of the movement.
Impressive stats: I created and oversaw more than 20 meetings in the last year ranging from 20 to 3,000 attendees; negotiated a cost savings of 20 percent for clients AV needs, by conducting audit on what items were no longer needed to perform program.
What I am working on now: My team and I are working on how to make each event more of a memorable experience. For example, we are going to try and make more of a buzz by offering a “secret” meetup location that is not revealed until 24 hours before the event; perform pop-up breaks which are announced on Twitter to create an urgency to follow along online; and bring in more peer recognition by engaging attendees to participate in acknowledging those in their industry during conferences.
What I do outside of work: I volunteer at Tutoring Chicago where I am paired with an economically disadvantaged student for a weekly tutoring program. Along with being an AWE Board Member, I am the AWE Events Committee chair. The committee and I are tasked with expanding our name and membership by housing networking events throughout the year.