Jenn Morden loves being part of a team, and she found hers at the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau. Joining the organization last October, she came by way of a variety of experiences: restaurant management, special events, association meeting planning, project management, and event technology. “I love wearing many hats inside an organization, juggling tasks,” she says. “And I love the team here in Lansing. I feel at home and kind of found my work family.”
In her current role as convention services and events manager, Morden works with groups that contract services through the CVB. “Whether they’re hosting an off-site event, need customized dining maps, shuttle services—I’m assisting a client right now with their meeting planning things—[or] putting their badges together for them,” she says. “Every day is different, really. It’s what the client needs. We’re more of an extension of their team. We want them to keep coming back to Lansing.”
As a certified tourism ambassador and certified meeting planner, Morden says it has been especially gratifying to learn about the many services the CVB offers that she wasn’t aware of as a planner. “I just didn’t know what a great resource the CVB could be,” she says. “I feel like it’s my duty just to inform all our planners in our region. I just want to make an impact that we are a resource for them—we can be an extension of their team.” And with Lansing as her product, it’s not a hard sell, she says.
“I’m still kind of a newbie here, but I think our region is so exciting because there are so many different things to do: the capitol, Michigan State University (MSU), and all the things on campus like the Abrams Planetarium, the MSU Dairy Store—all those resources,” she says.
She’s excited about the new Lansing Shuffle, a 15,000-square-foot entertainment complex that will include seven restaurants, shuffleboard courts, a full-service bar, a lounge, and a riverfront patio. Attractions like that can help sweeten the pot. “Right now in the industry, there’s more of an emphasis on transformational experiences,” she says. “Attendees are looking for an overall experience. Content may not be the focus. … Attendees ask themselves, ‘Is it worth it to attend, who will I meet there, what will I learn?’ The CVB can help with that.”