Kimberly M. Bean, Events Specialist
KBT Creative Support Services
Can you provide some of your background as a meeting professional?
My career has included working as a PR account/event coordinator, and volunteering for 16 years producing fundraising events for my alma mater at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. This experience led me to the nonprofit sector, where I was fortunate enough to work many great partners. In January 2011, I began KBT Creative Support Services with the complete support of my husband, as he encouraged me to attend an education meeting and event planning certification course.
Why did you choose to become a meeting professional?
Becoming a meeting professional seemed a natural fit, as this career combines details which motivate me—personal collaboration, organizational leadership, business management, marketing, entertainment, and timelines. Balancing multiple daily deadlines and troubleshooting on the spot are necessary segments of the job description.
What was the most challenging/fun event you have been involved in to date?
Years ago, I was tasked with directing/managing a very high profile dinner complete with 1,500 of Nashville’s elite. The weekend after the large mailing of invitations, a friend shared the worst possible news—the invitation and reply card contained an unspeakable misspelled word twice. I called the group’s executive director, and although busy, she was more than gracious, and was compassionate and appreciative of my apologies.
Although it ended up being the most difficult and embarrassing mistake of my professional career, it was a lesson in owning my own mistakes and gained me an honest reputation.
Greatest rewards of being a meeting professional
Organization, working with a range of people, traveling, and hospitality are areas that energize me. The networking, camaraderie, and learning are exciting and has expanded my world. Making clients look good and attaining their goals is rewarding and fulfills my professional life, and I take my commitment and responsibility to my clients very seriously.
How has COVID-19 affected you personally?
Absolutely, but fortunately, I (nor any family members) have not been infected by the COVID-19 virus, but it is beyond anything I could have imagined and while one minute I am confident life will return to normal, the next minute I am not so certain. This experience has challenged me as part of the hospitality industry, strengthened my faith, given me new perspective on what is profoundly important.
Are you in the process of planning any in-person events in the remaining months of 2020?
I worked on a fall retreat for executives at Barnsley Resort in north Georgia. Otherwise, my meetings for 2020 have been moved to 2021.
Have you or are you in the process of planning any virtual/hybrid events? If so, which platform are you using?
Virtual events have become a part of my daily routine—Zoom calls, virtual meet and greets, and webinars, etc. They all have their place and are an alternative to in-person meetings/events during this time. However, there is an energy missing in virtual events from in person events that cannot be replicated.
What do you see as the future of the travel and tourism industry?
I can only hope and do my part to move the industry forward in a safe and informed manner. The future is exciting and we are all learning in new ways daily, information is available, and common sense is essential. Supporting our industry as it rebounds and relearns gives way to positive attitudes and we become a light to those around us.