Corrections or additions?
These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring were prepared for the
2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
New Jersey is becoming a "little hotel mecca,"
says Joanne Dennison, owner of the Bridgewater-based meeting
and event planning company On a Shoestring. Still, says Dennison,
despite the proliferation of new hotels, don’t even think of planning
a midweek meeting anywhere in the Garden State on short notice.
is a real shortage of meeting spaces," she says.
Dennison speaks on a panel giving insights into the future of the
meeting and events industry to Meeting Professionals International
on Wednesday, February 21, at 11:30 a.m. at the Radisson Meadowlands.
Cost: $50. Call 732-536-5135.
"No one grows up wanting to become a meeting planner," says
Dennison. "No one know about the industry. Our parents don’t even
know what we do." Along with a shortage of meeting space, she
says, there is an acute shortage of personnel in the industry.
Dennison took a typically circuitous route to becoming an event
She holds a bachelor’s degree (Class of 1982) in American studies
and women’s studies and a master’s degree in higher education
from the State University of New York at Brockport. She worked in
college administration until 1991. Her last job, associate dean of
students at Upsala, involved planning student events, including
After leaving Upsala, and before starting her own business in 1993,
Dennison "wandered around trying to figure out what to do."
During that period, Dennison says, her husband dreaded questions about
what she did for a living. "I was doing about eight things at
once," she laughs. "I’m the queen of multi-tasking."
Having mastered the juggling act that is event planning, Dennison
has become active in Meeting Professionals International, an
trade group. Through her own experience and through attending industry
events, she is well positioned to discuss future trends in event
Among those trends:
conferencing would be the end of meetings," Dennison says. Not
so. "It’s almost humorous to think that," she says. "In
no way has technology replaced massive numbers of meetings."
popular now, she says, are sales and training meetings. Association
meetings also are on the rise.
obstacle courses are still with us, Dennison says it’s a different
type of course that corporate groups crave. "More want a nice
resort with a golf course," she says.
as demand for meeting space intensifies, often don’t want to sell
conference rooms unless the client will also take bedrooms as part
of the deal. This is particularly true on the most popular nights
— Monday through Wednesday, and Tuesday through Thursday. Catering
halls are jumping in to fill some of the demand, Dennison says,
with an eye toward expanding beyond weddings and adding the technology
and lighting that will appeal to business groups.
a crimp in live events, Dennison says technology is indeed having
an impact on the event industry. "Registration, searching for
sites, people planning meetings for thousands of people from Palm
Pilots," Dennison says, ticking off the ways technology is
her often frantically-paced profession. Among the event planning
Dennison is finding invaluable are www.madsearch.com, www.bethere.com,
requests to put on a really swell midweek confab for oh, say, 2,000,
on a date barely a flip of a calendar page away is unnerving. But
it happens. All the time. Dennison says pharmaceutical companies are
notorious in planning circles for asking for big drug launch events
with little notice — maybe six weeks, or even four. It’s not easy,
but Dennison says event planners grow good at fielding these requests.
can keep her head when all about her are losing theirs, Dennison lists
an important hint. "The person in the supposedly lowest position
(the janitor, housekeeping, the lady in the cafeteria) will be the
one who magically comes up with the red magic marker you need when
no one else can or will. Be nice to them before you need
It’s like the first week of school, but trickier. Being
the new kid in the cubicle — or even in the executive suite —
can be a mine field. Should you wear khaki or serge? Call the
"Frankie," or "Mr. Big"? Shoot out your ideas for
reorganizing the place, or lay low?
How to make the transition? How to get off to a good start in a new
office? Jack Guarneri, senior career counselor at Mercer County
Community College, offers advice when he gives a free career workshop,
"Succeeding at Your New Job," on Thursday, February 22, at
5:30 p.m. at MCCC’s Student Center. Call 609-486-4800, ext. 3397.
"The most common mistake is not fitting in with the culture,"
says Guarneri, who has been a career counselor at MCCC for nearly
20 years. A graduate of Stony Brook, where he earned a bachelor’s
degree in Spanish literature, Guarneri holds a master’s in counseling
from Long Island University. "You want people to like you,"
he says of an early imperative for new employees. "You’ll need
all the allies you can get."
This is equally true for supervisors and for the troops they guide.
Fitting in encompasses everything from putting together a work
with just the right degree of formality to identifying — and
away from — the negative political animals who lie in wait at
the water cooler.
Guarneri’s advice for fitting in at a new job includes the following:
culture before you even step into your first interview, Guarneri
"Look at the website, the annual report," he says. There you
are likely to find photos that will indicate whether Hawaiian prints
or pinstripes are the corporate uniform. Big clients, board members,
corporate officers, and even favorite charities, will show up too.
Study these materials and you will be better prepared to make small
talk if you find yourself standing next to the CEO as you ride the
elevator on your first day. You may also save yourself from making
a joke about a client whose fees help fund your paychecks.
Guarneri recounts. "He was very eager. He wanted to reorganize
everything the first week." The young man was not "conscious
of his place in the scheme of things," Guarneri says. "He
was there to learn, not to be the teacher." Had the intern been
a paid employee, he would not have made it through the week at most
jobs, is Guarneri’s guess. That is not to say that new employees
remain mute. "There is a difference between being pushy, and
to an invitation to give input," Guarneri says. "Once you
understand the lay of the land and have some credibility, people will
be more willing to listen," he says. "People resent
too early on."
close to the grindstone is not a good idea," Guarneri says. Get
out and about, meet colleagues and supervisors, volunteer for
offer to help out on projects, look into working for the company’s
favorite charity, perhaps even contribute to the newsletter. Building
up a network makes it likely, Guarneri says, that you will be aware
of shifts in company priorities and will have a group of friends ready
to help out if problems arise.
have a tendency to cover up and try to keep going. This is a mistake,
says Guarneri. Better to ask for help right away than to try to hide
an area of ignorance. "Say `I’m not sure how to handle it,’"
Guarneri advises. Approach a supervisor with two or three solutions,
and ask advice. "Then it becomes a situation where you have
to compile thank you letters from grateful clients, positive notices
from supervisors, press clippings, and a synopsis of the projects
on which you are working. Then, Guarneri says, when the time for your
first review rolls around, present the file to your supervisor ahead
of the meeting. Not only should the file increase your chances for
a glowing review, but it becomes a tangible record of your value to
the organization, a good thing to have when, for instance, lay off
decisions are being made.
find they are expected to perform illegal or unethical acts. When
that is the case, his advice is to get on out of there — fast.
"But if the problem is boredom," he says, "try to stick
it out for a year." The stigma that was attached to job switching
before the downsizing of the 1980s has lost much of its bite, but
still, Guarneri says, employers like to hire those they believe will
be dependable. A trail of jobs held for mere months can be a negative.
is to fit into the existing organizational culture. And the worst?
"Make your boss look bad."
The Princeton Public Library now has 942 titles
online. These E-books, available to patrons at
can be "checked out" for 24-hour periods. Acknowledging that
that span of time is not long enough to do justice to War and Peace,
the library says the service is intended as a reference tool. The
E-books are searchable by keyword, which makes it easy to find
information fast. Initial titles fall under the categories of
business, computers, travel, careers, and examinations.
The Princeton Public Library is one of seven libraries in the region
participating in a netLibrary trial sponsored by the Central New
Library Cooperative. The cooperative has established a users group
to set policies and share experiences and tips.
Attention biotech investors, the Journal of the American
Medical Association is predicting major breakthroughs in the next
25 years against some of the most stubborn disease states. Progress,
in many cases, will come as a result of work now being done in biotech
labs. Here are some of the advances the American Medical Association
predicts we are most likely to see:
will be brought under control.
anemia can be ensured.
defines cystic fibrosis may be solved.
and targeted for specific preventive intervention, improving the
of their lives.
pace, resulting by 2020 in more personalized therapies for brain
disorders, such as depression and schizophrenia.
a way to treat spinal cord injury and stroke in ways that would be
restore vision, repair bladder and grow liver tissues — may
eliminate the long waiting lists for specific organ transplantation.
in bioengineering and imaging technologies.
to deal with resistant infections.
such as obesity will be accelerated as intensive research locates
drug "platforms," areas where specific pathways for complex
diseases and multiple targets for drug therapies will be found.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.