Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTM, began her career as a public relations coordinator at a hospital. Now one of most respected event professionals in the industry, Lamagna, CEO and master strategist of Strategic Meetings & Events, spends much of her time curing common ills seen in meetings and conferences.
Beyond planning events, she is one of the most-renowned speakers on the circuit and well-respected authors when it comes to planner self-help books. Her latest, “The Strategic Planning Guide for Event Professionals,” was released in November. She is also one of four industry veterans involved in the recently launched Crowne Plaza Meeting Mentors program. She, along with Julian Lwin, Tahira Endean and Michaela Alexis, share insight and advice through blogs, videos and other vehicles.
Connect spoke to the New York-based Lamagna about her rise from PR specialist to meetings guru.
How did you go from public relations at a hospital to planning events?
The best way to get press coverage was to hold an event and write about it before and after it occurred, or to speak at events about health-related issues. Once I felt the rush of public speaking and experienced the power of events and the logistics to manage, I knew I was going to be an event professional who also spoke professionally and wrote—instead of a writing professional who spoke occasionally and sometimes planned events.
What has set you apart in such a crowded field of event planners?
The events I produce help make money, and they do not simply spend the budget dollars allocated to them. Strategic Meetings & Events creates events that influence what target audiences feel, think, say and do, which shortens sales cycles and brings marketing messages to life. The accepted method of executing events is all about managing logistics, but that is an expensive way to complete ‘to do’ lists and has no positive effect on sales or attendee behavior.