Travel Portland’s Karen Martwick Plays Her ACES

Travel Portland’s Karen Martwick Plays Her ACES

By Anna Dunn, August 19, 2016

Karen MartwickWhat happened when full-time Travel Portland (Oregon) editor and part-time American Copy Editors Society executive committee member Karen Martwick took on the volunteer role of ACES conference organizer? The organization’s 20th annual event was a (grammatically correct) success, attracting more than 650 attendees to Hilton Portland March 31-April 2. Martwick discusses her tried-and-true tips for being a hybrid editor-planner, her unabashed love for Portland and the importance of clear communication in events.

What do you do for Travel Portland?
My title is editor/content strategist. I’m responsible for our print materials, including our annual visitors guide, and all of our digital and web content. Travel Portland was one of the earliest CVBs to adopt a fully editorial approach to its annual publication. I came on in 2008 to help make it happen, both for the visitors guide and our convention and meeting planners guide.

How did you become the conference organizer for ACES this year?
My very first job was assistant meeting planner; it was sort of an administrative assistant job, but I helped organize a major national conference. I moved on and worked in web production and became an online editor. I’ve done that in one form or another for the last 18 years. I’ve been an active member of ACES since 2009 and joined the board in 2012. The former organizer of the conferences stepped off the board, so that role needed to be filled.

Did planning the ACES conference give you a new perspective on your role
as an editor?
I’ve been fortunate that Travel Portland recognizes the value of my being on the ACES board and doing conference planning as career development. There’s no other way I could have gained the experience, understanding what meeting planners are coming up against now, which is a great perspective for me when I look at what content needs to be on Travel Portland’s website for meeting planners. My hyperorganization skills and love of spreadsheets and problem-solving overlap a lot with planning meetings.

Why do you think it’s important for planners to be good communicators?
You’re serving your delegates best if you’re clear with them as they’re navigating how to get from the airport to the hotel and all of those logistical things. Well-written, clear, grammatically correct and consistent copy conveys trustworthiness. When there are errors and inconsistencies [in your event materials], that opens up the question [for potential attendees]: Do I feel like I’m going to get a worthwhile experience out of this?

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