MPI Perspective - June 2009 - (Page 17)

connec t ing w ith – S ean Kir klen, CMP By Scott Slocum, MMH SEAN KIRKLEN, CMP SENIOR CONFERENCE MANAGER UCSF – OFFICE OF CME In keeping with our theme of Connecting through Collaboration for the 2008–2009 program year, we give you this column to connect with some of the diverse professionals that make up the Northern California Chapter of MPI. MPI: Sean, thank you for taking some time to speak with us. Let’s first discuss the economy. How has the economic situation affected meetings and events at UCSF? Sean: Although a few of our courses have seen some drop in registration, medical education has been more fortunate in the current economic climate. Registration for our courses has been minimally affected with some courses actually exceeding past years’ registration numbers. However, we have found that some of the courses that are partially funded by educational grants have seen a reduction in the amount of grant funds available. MPI: What advice might you provide to hotel sales professionals seeking business from UCSF or other organizations during this challenging economy? Sean: As a former hotel employee myself, I recognize the cyclical nature of the meetings market in relation to the economy. I think that is very important for all hotel sales forces to understand the ebb and flow of the hospitality industry. When the economy is good, you find that many hotels are not willing to work with you on rates only to have them beating down your door when they are empty in a bad economy. Building strong, mutually beneficial relationships that understand the ups and downs in the industry allow both sides to achieve their goals with a rate that can work in the both good times and the bad. MPI: Could you describe your current role and your recent career path? Sean: I am currently a senior conference manager in the Office of Continuing Medical Education at the University of California, San Francisco. I am a member of a staff of eight planners in my office and we plan approximately 68 live courses per year. I started at UCSF in October of 2005 after 18 years on the hotel side, most recently spending eight years at Hyatt Hotels Corporation. MPI: When did you join MPI and do you remember what/who prompted you to join? Sean: I joined MPI in 2007 as a way to network with other planners and become more involved in the meetings industry. MPI: What advice do you have for a planner that is just beginning his/her career? Sean: Get involved. Build a strong network of other meeting professionals. Your network will not only allow you to share ideas and solutions to problems but can also help you along your career path and with future job opportunities. MPI: Which trends do you expect to develop or continue within our industry during the next year? Sean: The biggest trend that I hope to see develop in the meetings industry is the advancement of “green meetings.” There are so many ways to improve on the environmental impact of meetings and I am so glad to see that it has been so enthusiastically embraced. It is also great to see how many meeting attendees are conscious and concerned about more environmentally friendly meetings. In the past year, we have switched to printing our brochures on recycled paper. MPI: Where do you find the latest news and notes regarding trends in our industry? Sean: MPI has many great sources of information including Perspective and One+ publications. Additionally PCMA’s Convene publication is another great source of information as is Meetings & Conventions magazine (M&C). But probably my greatest source is my network of fellow meeting professionals and hospitality industry colleagues. MPI: Ok, let’s learn more about Sean … what are your favorite activities/hobbies outside of the office? Sean: I love to travel which is probably why I got into this industry in the first place. I also like hiking, mountain bike riding, camping, and spending time with my friends and family. MPI: What is your definition of success? Sean: Success can be defined in a number of ways but most importantly success is being able to do what you love and loving what you are able to do. ● Scott Slocum, MMH, is Director of Sales and Marketing at Hotel Shattuck Plaza. He can be reached at (510) 225-6005 or MPINCCperspective | VOL. 27, NO. 6 | 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - June 2009

MPI Perspective - June 2009
President’s Message
Meetings Mean Business
Survival Guide for Planners
Survival Guide for Suppliers
Connecting with — Sean Kirklen, CMP
Member Pearls
Chapter Chatter
Sponsor Spotlight
Index to Advertisers

MPI Perspective - June 2009