2019 40 Under 40: Kari Messenger, Association Management Center

Kari Messenger describes her rise in the events industry to become one of our 40 Under 40 in 2019.

Kari Messenger

Kari Messenger, CMP, 32, works in Chicago as senior meetings manager at Association Management Center. As a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree, Messenger discusses her passion for the events industry. 

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What I do: I execute planning the future meetings of each association, while keeping in mind their specific needs and personalities, and tailoring their event execution accordingly. I am lucky enough to manage several staff and help them grow into their own careers by identifying their strengths to contribute to the team.

How I got here: I learned that I had a passion for working in hospitality from my first job, a cashier at Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits. There I found my strengths of performing under pressure, working with many different personalities, and my passion for providing excellent customer service. In college, I majored in hospitality and the rest is history!

Greatest career accomplishment: Being elected to serve as board of directors for Association for Women in Events. I am so honored to have the opportunity to work with a group that is as passionate about the industry as I am. Ensuring women are helping other women grow into their careers is our mission and I am excited to be a part of the movement.

Impressive stats: I created and oversaw more than 20 meetings in the last year ranging from 20 to 3,000 attendees; negotiated a cost savings of 20 percent for clients AV needs, by conducting audit on what items were no longer needed to perform program.

What I am working on now: My team and I are working on how to make each event more of a memorable experience. For example, we are going to try and make more of a buzz by offering a “secret” meetup location that is not revealed until 24 hours before the event; perform pop-up breaks which are announced on Twitter to create an urgency to follow along online; and bring in more peer recognition by engaging attendees to participate in acknowledging those in their industry during conferences.

What I do outside of work: I volunteer at Tutoring Chicago where I am paired with an economically disadvantaged student for a weekly tutoring program. Along with being an AWE Board Member, I am the AWE Events Committee chair. The committee and I are tasked with expanding our name and membership by housing networking events throughout the year.