Successful Meetings - March 2008 - (Page 43)

CSM of the Year CSM of the Year CSM of the Year THE 30 TH ANNUAL Convention Services Manager of the Year Award It’s awards season. But forget the Grammys, Golden Globes, and Oscars—our favorite is the Convention Services Manager (CSM) of the Year, where those seemingly ubiquitous, 24/7 pros at hotels, CVBs, and convention centers finally get their well-earned kudos from the folks at the Association of Convention Operations Management (ACOM) in conjunction with Successful Meetings. Here are the top CSMs for 2007 By Marc Boisclair CONVENTION CENTERS Shawn-Ta Wilson, CMP Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, FL Shawn-Ta Wilson may well owe her award this year to the trait planners seek most in their convention services manager: dependability. After graduating from Radford University in her home state of Virginia, Wilson offered to go with a friend on an appointment with an executive search firm. While there, the firm met Wilson as well and coaxed her into an interview for herself. “They sent me to meet with a show manage- ment company and, almost by chance, I got my first job in the industry,” she says. Over the next five years, Wilson immersed herself in the trade show world, got engaged, and moved to Florida for her husband’s career. In the process she landed at the Tampa Convention Center and has since been making life much easier for planners who book their events at the center. “She’s a ‘straight-shooter’ who gives honest and clear answers,” says Barbara Hill, president of Barbara Hill Events in Alpharetta, GA. “I always feel I’ll get the best that I can get with Shawn-Ta. She balances the needs of the clients but operates within the center’s standards.” Hill’s last point particularly resonates with Wilson. “After being the client for almost five years I thought it would be nice to go into the facility side,” she says. “The funny thing is, I still feel my show management roots. I find myself looking at things from their perspective.” For example, Wilson uses her client’s spec sheets as a jumping off point for good service. “Maybe they have a guest with a disability who needs special parking, and if that’s the case, I should also be thinking ILLUSTRATIONS: MIKE MORAN ahead,” she says. “Do they may need a ramp for the stage as well? I need to look not just at what they’ve handed me for specs, but what they haven’t asked for.” That attention to detail impressed Kathy Driggers, the meeting planShawn-Ta Wilson ner and office manager with the Cam Tech School of Construction in Lutz, FL. “Shawn-Ta anticipated our parking needs on a weekend where there was a huge boat show at the convention center,” she says. “She SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS MARCH 2008 43

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - March 2008

Successful Meetings - March 2008
Editor's Note
On the Record
Planner's Spotlight
Management Matters
Mouth for Sale
Meetings Law
Tools of the Trade
On Site
Quick Tip
Critical Conditions
A Family Affair
Conference Centers We Love
CSM of the Year
Places & Spaces
Luxury Las Vegas
New York CIty
New Orleans
Oahu & Big Island
Florida Keys

Successful Meetings - March 2008