Shauna Whitehead, SMMP, 39, works in Minneapolis as vice president of global account management at BCD Meetings & Events. As a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree, Whitehead discusses her passion for the events industry.
*Connect with Whitehead on Instagram.
What I do: I lead a team of dynamic account managers that help our global clients to design, create and optimize customized solutions to effectively manage meetings across their organizations. My role is to stay on top of trends, identify opportunities for improvement, and bring strategic and innovative ideas to my team and our clients to make a positive impact and show value to their business and their stakeholders.
How I got here: I’ve worked my way up through the ranks in the meetings and events space. I draw from my varied experience every day in my current role and truly feel like I can apply an extra level of consult and design to our client’s program because of it, balancing forward thinking and at times aspirational ideas with operational realism.
Greatest career accomplishment: It was a huge undertaking and risk moving my family from Australia to the United States and hoping I could be successful in a much larger and more mature space. The move paid off and six years later I am still here and working in a key role for a major player in the fastest growing company in the global M&E space.
Impressive stats: I have a team that scores a consistent 99% rating from our customers when surveyed on service to their meeting owners. I have another team that is driving to, and achieving, a 23% savings rate on hotel negotiations.
Specific improvement I’ve made: Since joining, one of the key changes I initiated within our account management function was renewed focus on our quarterly business review. They now receive weekly and monthly reports with pertinent data and trend results. By shifting the focus of these business reviews, while still incorporating data, we have been able to better use this time to conduct business planning and innovative dialogue as it relates to pathing the future for our client’s meetings programs.
What I am working on now: I’m working with several of our high-potential future leaders within the company in an executive sponsorship capacity. It’s a small group of passionate and dedicated individuals that give up extra time, mostly outside of their working day, to connect, brainstorm and produce project-based deliverables that make a difference in our organization.
What I do outside of work: I spend time with family and friends; ferry my kids to and from their multiple sporting commitments; enjoy relaxing at home when I’m off the road. I attempt to workout and stay healthy to balance out my love for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.