Today, Meetings & Incentives Worldwide has a truly refreshing perspective as a business owned and led by two sisters, Jean Johnson and Tina Madden. They are the third generation descendants of the Neider family and entrusted with keeping the legacy alive. Described as “young, fresh, energetic, and innovative,” Jean and Tina are dedicated to instilling these attributes into the Meetings & Incentives Worldwide staff, company culture, and vision.
When they started, they had 30 employees, $20 million in revenues and the dream of their father. Today, they have more than 225 employees, gross revenues of more than $85 million, managed meeting and event spend of more than $150 million, and are equipped with more wisdom and experience. Jean and Tina have continued to expand the business by implementing the latest technologies, opening global offices, expanding the incentive and conference divisions, hiring key experienced personnel, and growing their team to share the fruits of their labor.
The sisters grew up in the family business, learning the travel industry by working side-by-side with their father. Jean oversees the operations side as Partner, President and CEO of the company while Tina manages finance, sales, marketing and strategic departments as Partner and CFO. They may be opposites in looks and personalities, but they complement one another and are singular when it comes to their shared vision and devotion to the enterprise their father started.
In the early 1970’s, young family man Dan Neider along with his parents, Walter and Mildred Neider, started a small retail travel agency they named Neider Travelway, Inc. Walter had owned the local Racine Greyhound bus station for years and they saw an opportunity to expand into retail airline travel and tours. They bought a building around the corner from the bus station and opened their doors.
In addition to retail travel, the company dabbled in corporate travel for local corporations in Racine and Milwaukee area. As word spread about Neider Travelway’s superior service, they landed a couple of group incentive trips; and that got Dan thinking about what the future could hold.
In the late 1980’s, the focus of the company changed from the leisure and corporate transient business to corporate groups and meetings, as the clients’ needs and expectations expanded. They sold the retail and corporate piece of the business and changed the name to Meetings by Design. Fort Howard Paper, Circuit City and Oscar Mayer were the company’s first full group meetings clients. During this time, the company had only five full-time employees.
In those early days, Dan and his daughter Jean rolled up their sleeves and did whatever it took to make sure things got done. Dan often reminisces about being a meet and greet staff person at the airport or working late hours in order to issue all of the tickets for a group and get the best advanced purchase airfares. His motto was always that customer service came first; you did whatever was needed to make sure every meeting was perfect and the clients were happy.
In the 1990’s the business name was changed to Meetings & Incentives to better describe the company’s core services. At this time, Meetings & Incentives expanded to serve the many corporate clients that were referred to them due to their sterling reputation. It was at this point Tina joined her father and sister in the family business after first working as a CPA for a public accounting firm. Dan’s small shop grew to 30 employees, so he had an A-frame building custom built and moved the company out of the office building environment. As the business grew, the staff continued to expand as well and the company opened a second office and multiple on-site locations. Dan continued to lead the company as President while he passed along his skills, dreams, and vision to his two eager daughters. Since then, Dan continues as a silent partner while his daughters run the day-to-day operations of the enterprise, knowing he has given his daughters the skills, knowledge, and faith to take the company into the diversified and high-tech travel world of today. As part of their continued growth and global expansion, they are now Meetings & Incentives Worldwide.
“Meetings & Incentives Worldwide believes that meetings and events transform organizations.” This is our purpose statement and the culmination of collaboration by the entire team. The statement is not only a reflection of the entire Meetings & Incentives Worldwide staff but their promise to clients for tomorrow. Although no one has a crystal ball to predict the future, the third generation of this family-owned venture will continue to uphold the family legacy and one day pass it on to the next generation. Whatever happens, Meetings & Incentives Worldwide will remain true to the strong family values at its core while seeking new and inventive ways to be a catalyst in the travel and meetings industry for the future.