Megan Buzzetta is no stranger to the meetings and events industry. She started her company Global Planners, Inc. in 2000 and now has grown to 30 employees. Global Planners specializes in full-service and ancillary corporate meeting and conference planning services, but when the economy collapsed in 2010 it was Buzz Registration, a slice of the business, that kept them afloat. 

“Buzz was really a lifeline when the economy crashed,” says Megan Buzzetta, president and CEO. “Technology really changed the business. I remember a time when we had seven fax machines going and we had to enter registrations,” laughs the spirited Buzzetta, who oversees a mostly female staff headquartered in Hamilton that works on both Global Planners and Buzz (their office is consistently named one of the Best Places to Work in New Jersey by NJBIZ). “Now there are two distinct roles: the meeting planner and the registration role,” she says. 

Buzz Registration lets planners outsource registration, a task that she says many planners dread. “Most planners like logistics and client relations … registration is often a pain point for them,” Buzzetta says. That’s where Buzz comes in, serving as the registration team. “We build the websites and serve as behind-the-scenes support, and registrants don’t even know that they’re going through a third party,” she says.

“You can use us when you need us,” explains Buzzetta. “Maybe that’s just one event annually or maybe you want us to serve as your registration department on an ongoing basis. It’s different for each client.” 

Buzzetta knows the value of making clients happy. As someone who entered the business planning conferences for a financial firm, she likes creating something out of nothing, but credits her team with the company’s success. “I think I hire really well. Our leadership has been here for more than 10 years,” she says. 

This mother of two isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty either. “I like that we’re addressing a problem for planners,” Buzzetta says. “The registration process is a little bit like the dirty dishes of the dinner party, but that’s ok. We’re here to handle it.” 

Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.

 

You may not have seen her name among Chicago’s James Beard award nominees or caught in the buzz of another trendy eatery opening, but the ripples of Rita Dever’s culinary creations have made an impact far and wide. After cooking around the world, the Pacific Northwest native put down roots as Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ (LEYE) associate partner and corporate chef where she collaborates in the company’s test kitchen to innovate new dishes for all LEYE restaurants.

 

Retreats and off-site meetings present wonderful opportunities for groups to collaborate, strategize and build relationships away from their normal office environments. With proper planning, these sessions can be highly effective and even pivotal in setting a new direction. However, off-sites may present some unforeseen challenges that can quickly deflate the energy in the room if not anticipated and addressed in advance.