5 Questions with a Pro: Carol Krugman
Carol 'Krug' Krugman dedicated decades to the meetings industry, planning events in six continents and building world-class educational programs. She recently retired as the Chair of the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events Department at Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado after imparting her wisdom on future event planners. We were able to capture some of her expert advice in this edition of Kinsley's 5 Questions with a Pro.
1. Can you provide your top tips for people new to the industry to do/get involved in to help them grow within their career?
I like to call them Krug’s 3 B’s:
Be a sponge: Learn as much as you can, wherever, whenever and from whomever you can.
Be fearless: Trust your instincts, take chances, fail with dignity, learn from every mistake.
Be a resource: Be generous with your time, your knowledge and your expertise. You will always know something or have a skill that someone else does not, even when you are brand new in the industry. Share graciously.
2. What are the Top 3 pitfalls planners need to watch out for when it comes to planning international meetings?
There are several things planners need to watch out for when planning an international event:
Assuming that planning meetings overseas is the same as it is here in the US. Underestimating the challenges of working in a country where the language, culture, currency, business practices and logistical operations are very different.
Not working with a network of reliable local support partners, especially a good Destination Management Company.
Not obtaining expert assistance in specialty areas, such as currency exchange, tax refunds, technology needs, legal issues, etc.
3. How many languages do you speak? Did that give you a leg up over other international event planners?
I speak four and a half. I’m fluent in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese with a working knowledge of Italian – enough to get in and out of trouble 😊
The ability to speak one foreign language is a valued skill, so my multilingual proficiency has been a distinct advantage throughout my entire career. The ability to communicate (and be charming) in French, Spanish and basic Italian was especially useful in Europe. Spanish was invaluable throughout Latin America, obviously. Portuguese was the unexpected bonus, as it provided a unique ability to work successfully in Brazil. When I started my own meeting management company in 1990, most other US-based planners either would not, or could not, cope with Latin America. The political and economic instability, along with the existing cultural and language challenges, intimidated most of my professional colleagues – even those who worked regularly in Europe. My foreign language skills and extensive network of outstanding
4. In your book, Global Meetings and Exhibition, you acknowledge several people who helped you along your career? As you traveled the world, how do you stay connected to people you met over your career?
In the previous millennium, being continuously active in our industry professional associations and attending conferences and trade shows regularly was my ongoing source of connection. Attending an MPI WEC, PCMA Convening Leaders or IMEX was as much a family reunion as a professional education activity. Now I can keep up with all my peeps on Facebook or LinkedIn.
5. What was your favorite part about the meetings and event management industry?
Meeting and working with so many extraordinary people all over the world, many of whom became and remain close personal friends.
The continuous challenge to “make it happen,” no matter what the circumstances, and the finite nature of the results – you know right away whether you nailed it or blew it. Nothing is routine, every experience, unique and ongoing opportunity to learn, teach and/or accomplish something new. In over 30+ years in this business, I have never been bored.