Megan Tallman, 35, works in Denver as a conferences and meetings manager at the Financial Planning Association. As a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree, Tallman discusses her passion for the events industry.
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What I do: By definition, I help coordinate the strategic, operational and logistical activities necessary for the production of all FPA meetings. But what I really do is help create an experience: the user experience, the learning experience and the customer experience for our event participants. Every decision I get to be a part of helps enhance the attendee experience. From all the backend decisions, such as booking speakers and maintaining our speaker management system, to securing audiovisual needs, to helping source properties, to the forward-facing branding—I have an opportunity to touch everything that goes into creating impactful experiences for our members.
How I got here: Prior to FPA, I worked at a state association and started by answering the phones, and over the next 10 years I would transition from the office manager to the membership coordinator, and finally transition into the programs and education director role. With that incredible opportunity I, not only, learned about associations, but also developed an understanding of membership and my love of events and planning which led to an opportunity with FPA.
Impressive stats: FPA had outsourced its meetings to a third-party meeting planning team up until a few years go. When meetings were brought back in-house, FPA hired my supervisor and, shortly after, I began with FPA, I transitioned to the meetings team. We’re only a team of two people, however we oversee approximately 10 events a year that range from 25 participants to more than 1,900 participants. Over a two-year period,
Specific improvement I’ve made: At the end of 2018, the meetings team successfully launched our official call for ideas and subsequent call for speakers process. The call for ideas was developed to release to the entire membership base for FPA to ensure we’re identifying cutting edge content, core skill development gaps, and advanced-level issues while also giving our membership a voice in what they want to see at events. The call for ideas then informed a content map that guided the task force’s speaker solicitation and selection from submissions for our call for speakers. The entire process is being adopted for our other events and has created a formal, streamlined process that did not previously exist.
What I am working on now: I’m currently studying to sit for the Certified Meeting Professional designation in 2019.
What I do outside of work: My husband and I are the proud parents of a corgi named Willow, so our lives mostly revolve around her. Outside of that, I love to bake and take cooking classes, and force others to take cooking classes with me. I also volunteer for a local nonprofit, Food For Thought Denver, whose aim is to eliminate weekend hunger for children in the Denver area by providing sacks of food every Friday for them to take home.