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Planner Resilience: Ann Luketic, Progressive Insurance

July 9, 2021
Reading time: 1 min

How were you able to adapt during COVID-19 when the meeting and events industry got disrupted?

My job responsibilities have never been contingent on my official work title as I’ve had a variety of titles during my career. I often tell my students that we are all really project managers or my other favorite job description – tactical execution manager. To stay current in the industry you constantly need to be looking for a solution to the unknown problem. I was already be working on finding a way to engage 44K+ employees across the country. When COVID hit, it accelerated the project from the research phase to the execution phase and shifted my responsibilities from event logistics to communications and virtual engagement.

Even though I have a background in communications, my passion still remained with event strategy and management. Fortunately, there was a new opportunity around the corner, and in June 2020, I made the move from Internal Communications to the Agency Experience team where I manage our merchandise strategy and incentive trips. When the world opens up again for travel and live events, I look forward to being part of the incentive travel industry.

In addition to my corporate planning job, I own an independent event planning business and teach event management at a local college. The pandemic devastated the hospitality industry which included my student base of entry to mid-level hospitality professionals. As the job market decreased, so did the pool of students able to afford college thus canceling my course for the past few semesters. Ironically, my personal business is thriving as my client base includes local, financial planners who have been forced to reduce their staff however still need someone to handle ad hoc events. Several of my previous clients have contracted me to manage their virtual and live events.

These are challenging times for the meetings and events industry. There is so much uncertainty around all aspects of events, and planners now have additional considerations when planning events. Leadership is leaning hard on their event professionals to help them make the right decisions while the standards change daily. I’m optimistic that the industry will bounce back and that we will meet in person again. I’m excited to be one of the pioneers working on new solutions for our industry.

This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where we celebrate the extreme resilience shown by planners across the industry when navigating the turbulent waters that COVID-19 has brought to the meetings and events industry. Keep an eye out as we release more stories like this over the next few months. 

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