That’s my overriding reaction to news I’ve just learned that meetings industry veteran and legend Terri Breining, CMP, CMM, who started her company Concepts Worldwide Inc,. 21 years ago in the San Diego area, has shut down her firm. I can’t believe that a woman who’s achieved so much in this industry has become a victim of these tough economic times?
What does this say about the state of our industry? To me, this illustrates the devastating effects of continued public scrutiny (often unjustified) over corporate meetings and incentives, as well as blacklisting of so-called vacation or luxury destinations as places to hold government events. It’s amazing how much uninformed people and their agendas can devastate a multi-billion dollar industry that supports those who depend on it for a livelihood, e.g. waiters, waitresses, flower shop owners, pastry chefs, car valets, hotel bell hops. The list goes on.
Terri has had a truly remarkable career. Look at the evidence: she’s served on the Convention Industry Council's Accepted Practices Exchange Commission since 2000, most recently as chairwoman, working to establish industry best practices and voluntary standards. She was named International Planner of the year by Meeting Professionals International in 2000 and chairwoman of the organization in 2003-2004. EIBTM honored her as International Personality of the Year in 2008, and she is co-author of the book "Return on Investment in Meetings & Events." Concepts Worldwide was awarded the Professional Convention Management Association’s 2009 Spirit Award for community service.
And most deservedly, Breining will be inducted into CIC’s Hall of Leaders in January 2010. She will be one of five new inductees recognized for their significant contributions to the meetings and conventions industry.
I had the privilege and honor of being on a Strategic Meetings panel with Terri at a recent ICCA Conference in Windsor, Canada. She’s one of the brightest and nicest people you could ever meet. The new generation of meetings professionals entering our industry today can learn a lot from her. So while Concepts Worldwide may be history, don’t count Terri Breining out, she is far from done. Terri, in a story in Corporate Meetings & Incentives, said: “There is a bit of sadness [in closing the business], but I know that I'm not done in the meeting industry, and I know that I'll continue to cross paths with the people I value. I believe I'll be able to continue to contribute to the next generation of planners.”
I’m happy to hear she’s starting a new company, and when she opens up shop, you’ll read about it here. This industry needs the Terri Breinings of the world.
Kevin Iwamoto is vice president of enterprise strategy at StarCite. This post is syndicated from his blog, Strategic Meetings Management.