Suzanne Shaw is a textbook case for how to prove the intrinsic value of meetings to organizations. Once a sleepy conference services staff at one of the country’s most prestigious schools, her department at Yale University is now a recognized revenue resource and major contributor to the institution, partnering with and assisting other departments in areas such as risk management and technology. Shaw started at Yale nine years ago as a housing and events planner, moving up to director after a year and a half. Collaborate’s Christine Born talked with Shaw about the evolution of this Ivy League meetings department and what she’s learned along the way.
What was the initial impetus behind the changes in your department?
It’s kind of funny. I brought about a dozen new clients when I came on, and our provost realized we met our budget about the same time the economy went down, so we looked good. Traditionally, we were viewed as a small department that helped plan campus conferences and meetings. Suddenly, we were on the radar.