Kim Reynolds, CMM, CMP
Kim Reynolds, CMM, CMP and Principle of Strategic Meetings Solutions located in Dallas, Texas is one accomplished meetings and events entrepreneur. Kim has been in the hospitality and meetings and events industry for 25 years and shares her insights in this inaugural edition of iGroupNation.
iGN: Kim, before we get to Strategic Meetings Solutions, tell us what drew you to the meetings and events industry?
Kim Reynolds:Early in my career, 25 years ago, I worked as a reservationist for a chain of motels in Anaheim then at a catering company, not really understanding what the industry was at the time. About 10 years later I heard about a job opening at Kawasaki Motors for a meeting coordinator, applied, and I have loved every minute of it since.
iGN: So you decided to launch your own company, Strategic Meetings Solutions. How did that all come about?
Kim Reynolds: After 10 years working with Kawasaki, I decided it was time for a change. I wanted an opportunity to stretch my boundaries, that was 6 years ago.
iGN: There are planners who are reading this post right now that want to possibly follow in your footsteps. What would you say to them?
Kim Reynolds: It’s our job to make a meeting or event look easy, but it’s not and you really have to be dedicated, detail-oriented, and willing to do whatever it takes to make the meeting or event appear perfect. Also, there is much more to starting a business than one would probably realize and many, many more hours and a great deal of expense. I would recommend spending some time with a small planning company before you make he jump from corporate to small business owner.
iGN: How has the industry changed since you started 15 years ago?
Kim Reynolds: When I started it was hard to find any formal education or job classifications for meeting professionals, since that time the industry has really started to become a recognized and respected profession. Now we just need a NAICS code (how the government classifies professions).
iGN: You earned an MBA from University of Redlands and added two impressive industry certifications…one in Meeting Management (CMM) and the other as a Meeting Professional (CMP). What made you decide to pursue both of them?
Kim Reynolds: I have always strived to continue learning and these two designations are an outcome of the industry striving to grow and my desire to outwardly demonstrate competency and excellence.
iGN: As a business owner you’ve weathered a terrorist attack and two recessions. Where are you most challenged now?
Kim Reynolds: Keeping financially afloat through this downturn. We have had to make some difficult cost cutting decisions. The resulting challenge is what is the new business model and what will it look like and how can we be the leaders in this new world economy.
iGN: When do you see this thing turning around?
Kim Reynolds: Not soon enough, but I am anxious to see what the third and fourth quarters look like as organizations look at their balance sheets and set budgets for next year. I think that organizations are going to start to feel the need to get back in front of their clients, renew relationships and offer training to remain competitive and I am hopeful that corporate travel restrictions will ease in the next six months to allow this shift to happen
iGN: What will a meeting professional’s job look like five years from now?
Kim Reynolds: I think that one of the unintended outcomes of this downturn is that organizations will realize the importance of meetings to their bottom line. Not only from cost saving perspective but also aligning to the overall goals and strategies of the organization and the role that meetings play in the results (think if AIG and Wells Fargo had made different decisions). I believe that we will see more outsourcing of meeting planning departments to planning companies and the role of the planner will grow into a strategist.
iGN: So what keeps you awake at night? What worries you most about your responsibilities to your customers?
Kim Reynolds: The economy is at the core of it right now. We are having to do more with less budget.
iGN: What is the hardest part of your job? If you could change one thing about your job, what would that be?
Kim Reynolds: Juggling so many responsibilities (owner, sales, marketing, planning, travel and management) I would hire a team better than me.
iGN: Who is your mentor and what is the best advice that he/she has given you?
Kim Reynolds: I have been very fortunate to have a number of strong mentors and I think some of the best advice is “don’t sweat the small stuff; if nobody died, it’s not a big deal”.
iGN: You must travel a lot in your position. What is your favorite hotel/resort and your favorite destination?
Kim Reynolds: If I am going to a getaway locally, I love Rough Creek Lodge, Glen Rose, Texas in the spring and fall. My favorite destination is Africa. I have been twice and can’t wait to get back again
iGN: Are you involved with any social networks and is there one in particular that you are most involved?
Kim Reynolds: I am on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. I probably spend more time on Twitter than the other two; however I admit an addiction to Scrabble on Facebook.
- Company: Strategic Meetings Solutions
- Website: www.strategicmeetingssolutions.com
- Education: University of Redlands, Masters Degree
- Industry certification: CMM, CMP
- Management style: I prefer to let the professionals that I hire do what is best to get the job done.
- Last meeting or conference planned: Large incentive trip to St Maarten.
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