So the year is 1996, I have recently quit my job and hadn’t really planned ahead to figure out what I wanted to do next! I never expected to miss all the things that had almost driven me away….the frenetic pace, the too many balls in the air, the deadlines, oh! the joy of deadlines, and the crazy travel schedule!
One day, without even being aware of it, the name “to plan ahead” jumped into my consciousness and I knew that would become the name of my business, and that I had to be in business for myself. I had to get back into the business of meeting planning. I could do it better, more efficient, and I could create the business and the life I wanted for myself, and for my clients.
The very next day, I registered the name, opened a bank account, bought a desktop computer, installed a business phone line and made my first phone call to a potential client, and 20 years later the rest is history.
I had come to the USA in 1990 (as a blushing bride) and I worked with a non-profit organization for 4 years as a full-time Meeting Planner. I knew the industry, but I had a lot to learn about how things were done on “this side of the pond”. “Two countries divided by a common language” took on a whole new meaning once I started working in the US.
Being from England, I had no clue where Baltimore was in relation to where I was living in California. So out I went and bought a huge map of the country and mounted it on a board to hang on my office wall. My co-workers thought it was hilarious but if I had charged a dollar for every time one of them came into my office to take a peek at it, I would have been rich!
After 4 years of constant travel all over the US, I left the security of my job. I thought I was done with the ongoing deadlines and the million tiny details that went into every meeting. I imagined that I would never plan another meeting as long as I live – how wrong could I be!
Within the next year I studied for, and passed the CMP exam which I firmly believe is a necessary accreditation to have as an independent planner, (more on this in few weeks). I also needed to hone my presentation skills and so I joined ToastMasters and became a certified Toastmaster. As a great surprise to myself, I went on to win the 1st place in my district 4, Area Toastmasters Evaluation Speech contest and 2nd place in the Division.
Now I was ready to take on the Meeting Planning Industry. I wanted to create a company that would build relationships with clients that would help them achieve their goals through the use of innovation, adaptability, sensitivity and integrity. I wanted to provide professional, top-notch meetings and event planning services that reached past the surface and helped clients reach their goals, by using our industry expertise and creating memorable participant experiences.
To Plan Ahead is an industry leader in creating well-planned, organized, stress-free meetings and conferences in Asheville, NC, Greenville, SC and around the world.