Todd Schwartz, CMP
Meeting Planner and Event Strategist
Based in: Cleveland
How I got here: Resilient, tenacious, strategic and proactive for many years in the industry, I got here by being open to change and adapting to the needs at that time. I treat all those with whom I connect with respect and kindness—and add a little bit of humor in the mix! I am passionate about the MES industry and have made it a lifelong career. I got here by my continued passion for bringing immersive, best-in-class experiences to the end user/attendee, and having them feel excited and wanting them to come back the next year. My career actually found me, versus me looking for it, as I started out planning events in college and didn't know a meeting event planner role even existed. Early in my career, I became a CMP while working for Ernst & Young for a few years, then moved into a strategic planner role for many years until my most recent employer in-house for a global law firm. I was laid off there in 2020 due to COVID, along with countless others in our industry, and am currently looking for my next in-house senior-level/director-level opportunity in the corporate, professional services or health care marketplace.
Greatest career accomplishment: With my most recent employer, I saved over $350,000 in meeting and event management expenses and negotiations in Q1 and Q2 of 2020. I was proud to leverage negotiations and more during uncharted COVID waters at that time.
Creatively, I am most proud of my out-of-the-box spin on the many events I have managed and produced over the years, including a John Wayne look-alike appearing on horseback to deliver key messaging in Tucson, DJ ‘Ben Franklin’ mixing it up for potential clients at an Independence Day reception in Philly, St. Patrick's Day bagpipers playing at an outdoor Irish reception welcoming corporate guests on the beaches of Miami and more. All of these creative, immersive experiences led to revenue-generating opportunities for the companies I worked for at the time. I am humbled and thankful as I continue to receive great feedback on my creativity and immersive experiences for attendees.
A specific improvement I’ve made: I feel I've contributed to the industry in my role as an educator. For many years, I've led workshops, taught and designed curricula at a few colleges in northeast Ohio/Cleveland, all making an impact upon those in the field for future generations to come. In giving back, I feel so satisfied and get excited watching these newcomers and seasoned managers 'get it' after my learning sessions.
Systematically, I improved efficiencies in the workplace at several companies over the years: streamlining their RFP process; building revenue-generating event opportunities to engage clients and drive attendance that wasn't there before my events; and increasing live, virtual and digital branding/marketing opportunities along with sales growth for various markets.
What I do outside of work: I stay physically active, working out and jogging; I volunteer on two boards (one a children's organization I helped create and of which I am past president); I am ‘Head Elf’ at the North Pole for a children's organization over the holiday season; I enjoy live concerts and cooking; and I enjoy hanging out with my awesome nieces and nephews.
What I’d tell my younger self: ‘Enjoy the ride.’ ‘Be patient and be kind to all you come into contact with while continuing to be open to learning/growth opportunities and experiences every day.’ ‘Change will come, with or without you; you have to navigate upstream and be positive as you go against (or with) the flow of the current as you collaborate with many along the way.’
Connect with Schwartz on LinkedIn.