Advice from a Meeting Pro: Take a Chance
As meeting professional and educator Christy Lamagna, a 2017 Changemaker, shares her hard-won business lessons.
MeetingsNet’s annual Changemaker list recognizes 20 outstanding meetings professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways. Find all the profiles here.
Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM
Strategic Meetings & Events
For her dogged and ongoing efforts to educate her peers and share lessons learned
I have taught two college courses for 10 years: strategic planning and strategic production. I produce a tremendous amount of content; I want to share what I have learned with anyone who wants to learn it. I mentor dozens of people a year, which has resulted in some fascinating and some mind-boggling conversations!
My current goal is to help change the perception of the meetings industry. We need to become strategic planners and move away from the party planner perception that stigmatizes us.
At my company, making change has led to maturity. Our templates and forms have been fine-tuned, our processes have been streamlined, and we are more mindful of clients who would take advantage of our time if not kept in check. We work very hard to learn from our mistakes. They’re great teaching tools if you pay attention.
“There is so much to learn, and people are generous in their replies if you ask good questions and genuinely listen to their answers.”
My goal with my company is to bring each member of the team into an area they’ve not yet experienced so they stretch their skills. Boredom is death for over-achieving professionals.
Take a chance. Nothing worth having comes without risk. Being afraid is okay. Being brave is not the absence of fear, it is acting in the face of it.
I don’t have just one person to thank. From how to dress, to how to run a staff meeting or manage a team, even what books to read, I’ve learned from those I’ve met along the way. I love being in a room full of people smarter than I am. (It happens a lot!)
I ask other CEOs how they manage the isolation that comes with being the boss. It’s not something people outside that role consider but it’s a challenge at times. I also ask others what they are reading or struggling with in that moment and how they’re handling it. There is so much to learn, and people are generous in their replies if you ask good questions and genuinely listen to their answers.
Best Business Advice
Go out and look for important people because important people aren’t looking for you.
I am on the Board of Directors of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village and an active contributor to Hearts for Honduras and Valorclinic.org, a foundation to help homeless veterans. My philosophy of giving back is based on “tikkun olam,” which means “repair of the world.”
I got asked to leave the Girl Scouts. I wanted to run the meetings, not attend them, so it seems I have always looked at things from my own perspective with varying levels of success! I’ve rarely fit in, so I have learned to use it to my advantage.
Got a Spare Hour?
My number one pleasure: reading. From Dostoyevsky to cookbooks, everything interests me. (But it must be in print—no e-books.) Naps are a close second.
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