Laura Romaine, CMP, 29, works in Arlington, Virginia, as senior meeting planner at NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association. As a 2017 40 Under 40 honoree, Romaine discusses her passion for the events industry.
What I do: I am responsible for managing the development and execution of eight conferences per year, ranging from 150 to 2,500 attendees and comprising of budgets, site selection, online registration, transportation, attendee communications, banqueting, audiovisual and on-site registration. I exclusively source, negotiate, and manage all hotel and meeting vendor contracts. I am also responsible for the annual meeting’s exhibit hall, ranging from 100 to 140 exhibitors per year, serving as staff liaison to the expo subcommittee. In addition, I manage all of NTCA’s travel accounts (MacNair, Hertz and airlines), local hotel accounts and NSO relationships, and serve as co-chair on NTCA’s Community Affairs Committee.
How I got here: During my undergrad at George Mason University, I held three internships in the Northern Virginia and D.C. areas getting a head start in the tourism and events industry, including working at the Office of Travel & Tourism Industries at the Department of Commerce. I’ve held meeting planning roles at three associations since graduating college, my first job being a meetings specialist at the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and then being promoted to meetings manager. After three years at RID, I moved on to becoming a meeting planner at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials for two years before joining NTCA.
My greatest career accomplishment: When I was at RID and our director of meetings was let go, I was made responsible for executing all five regional meetings that summer, inheriting five regional volunteer program committees. During the closing ceremony at one of the meetings, I was awarded the staff service award by one of the volunteer program committees. This was the first time an award was ever given to an RID staff member as there was always a negative perception of the RID national office. I was proud to have broken the mold and bridged the gap between staff and members, in addition to learning how to associate my basic ASL skills on-site at all of RID’s meetings.