Event Planner Spotlight with Micayla Diener, CMP, CSEPApril 29th, 2019 | hereschicago
How did you get into meeting & event planning? What were some of the hurdles you experienced?
I actually “fell” into the events industry 11+ years ago. My talented mother is an established Association and Non Profit Planner in the Washington, DC region. I grew up volunteering at her events ranging in size from 10-4,000 people and enjoyed the excitement that went into planning and putting on an event. I eventually went to school for Hospitality Management and have been working in the industry ever since. Over the years, I have had the hurdles of tough bosses, difficult co-workers and unreasonably demanding clients. However, these experiences have made me stronger. You have to have thick skin in this fast moving industry.
What are the biggest challenges of meeting and event planning today?
Each client wants to showcase their company in its best light, as well as having the most innovative meeting and experience. Keeping up and staying afloat with constantly changing trends, top culinary, and unique experiences in our dynamic city is truly a challenge! Clients and partners come to you to look for next best thing. You just have to make sure you know what that is!
What advice do you have for those seeking to secure a job as a meeting or event planner?
All events are equal. Just because one event is 10,000 people doesn’t mean your event for 10 people isn’t important or “cool”. Not every day is glamorous and ends in an “Instagram” worthy post. If you are getting into this industry, find the path that you are most passionate about.
What have you learned being on the job as a meeting and event planner?
That’s a loaded question! I have learned a ton of things over the years. I think the old saying “don’t burn your bridges” is true because you never know who you are going to come across later in life. That restaurant bus boy could be the next top sales person at the company sending you an RFP. People change jobs frequently, so always make sure that you play nice in the sandbox!
What type of meetings and events you plan?
I am with a Destination Management Company (DMC). We are the go-to experts for everything in the Chicago region. Our company assists clients with all sorts of events including but not limited to: transportation management, onsite and offsite events, décor, entertainment, meeting management, excursions, tours, and the list goes on. We partner with associations and corporate clients to make sure their meeting here in Chicago is exceptional.
What do you love about planning events and meetings in Chicago?
As a DMC, we work with a lot of vendor partners. After working in other markets, I feel blessed to be in this phenomenal market. The talent and creativity here are exceptional, and a lot of that comes from our partners. We work together to come up with wow ideas and events that are uniquely tailored to fit each client’s needs. Not just a step and repeat. What an amazing city!
Who has been the biggest influence (professional and/or professional) in your life?
My parents are truly an influence that I am lucky to have in my life. Their work ethics and professionalism are top notch. They’re great role models, and I appreciate all the advice they have given up to me along the way – personally and professionally.
Have you received any praise or accolades recently?
I am very honored to have been named part of the 2019 40 Under 40 “Peak Performers” Class by Connect Meetings.
What are your thoughts about Hereschicago.com?
A fantastic resource for the Chicago community! Jim is knowledgeable, caring and really wants the best for the event planning industry here in the Windy City!
What are you passionate about?
Rescuing and the welfare of animals, musical theatre and, of course, event planning
What tips can you provide to someone new who wants to be an event planning profession?
Keep your head up! Despite your detailed preparation, a light fixture may fail, food may come out cold, or the band shows up late without their instruments. Remain calm. Things can go wrong, but stay motivated, positive, and don’t let them see you sweat!
Do you have any Association affiliations?
What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?
At the animal shelter and then relaxing by the pool!
What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?
My favorite thing about my hometown, Columbia, Maryland, is my family, friends, and two furry pit bull siblings who live there!
What’s your go-to meal when you’re home alone?
Ice cream…. And I live alone, so I eat it a lot.