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| Written by Marie Johnson, CMP

Employee Spotlight: Smart Meetings 2020 Planner of the Year

Every year Smart Meetings receives peer nominations for their highly coveted award. We are excited to congratulate the Smart Meetings 2020 Planners of the Year, including our very own, Jenny Carerra, CMP, HMCC, Sr. Program Manager. 

According to JT Long, Content Chief at Smart Meetings, this year’s winners are the true definition of resiliency. These master connectors realized their jobs are changing to motivate, educate, and inspire communities. They learned new skills for delivering those outcomes—and along the way, something about themselves, their teams, and their audiences.

Smart Meetings asked these role models to describe their approach to resiliency; how they maintained focus when everything was changing so quickly. Jenny said she is learning as much as she can regarding the effect the pandemic is having on our industry and the necessary changes we need to make in order to successfully continue to have meetings—whether that be in-person, virtual, or hybrid. She said staying informed is key and moving forward, she will be more knowledgeable and proficient with technology alternatives, not only to provide options but also to be prepared for changing situations.

We wanted to learn more about our star performer and asked her a few of our burning questions on how she got started in the industry, what she values most and what keeps her busy in her free time.

Q. Tell us about your role at M&IW.

I started with M&IW a little over 2 years ago and provided event management support for one of our major pharmaceutical clients. Now, I work with various clients and different types of programs. Before joining M&IW, I was internal at a pharmaceutical company and had worked at a third-party prior. So, it has been interesting to return to the supplier side. It definitely allows for more variety.

Q. What do you value most about M&IW?

Hands down, what I value most is the friendships. If you are not in the industry, it is hard to understand what our work entails. It is nice to have kindred spirits like other event planners, program coordinators, now digital producers who can relate. And, even though we don’t see each other often (especially now) we find a way to stay close and support one another.

Q. How does it feel to be named to the Smart Meetings 2020 Planners of the Year list?

It feels great to be recognized, and my mom was very proud. But, what I appreciate most is that a colleague has to nominate you in order to be considered. Knowing I was able to make a positive impression on someone that was a part of my team really makes me happy. I try to treat everyone with the same respect and I’m glad that translates.

Q. What is the best advice you have been given regarding your career?

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. The worst that can happen, is that they’ll say no. But, more often, you hear yes. Make time to enjoy yourself. In our role, we get the opportunity to travel to some amazing places. I try to take a couple of extra days to enjoy the destination and learn more. You never know when you’ll get that opportunity again.

Q. Share a fun fact that most people do not know about you or something you enjoy in your free time.

I love to dance to Latin music, salsa, merengue, etc. Regretfully, I don’t bring out my dancing shoes much anymore. However, it was great to attend the Welcome Reception and Latin-Infused Dance Party at our 2020 M&IW (Virtual) Summit earlier this month to try a few moves and lip-sync to a few of the songs.