Carolyn Pund, CMP, CMM, is one of those people who is always willing to share her knowledge. Call her and she will call you back; email her and she will find time to respond. Her mission is to further the profession and the way she does that is by making herself accessible to those who want to learn.
It’s that openness and generosity—along with the huge strides she has made as senior manager, global strategic meetings management, at Cisco Systems, Inc.—that led the Professional Convention Management Association to honor her with its Achievement Award for Distinguished Meeting Professional of the Year at the annual Convening Leaders, held in mid-January in Chicago.
“At the beginning of my events career I remember being at an industry meeting and watching people receive awards on stage like I just did,” she told Prevue during PCMA. “I would think about how much effort they must have put in to deserve that and I never dreamed I would one day be a recipient back then.” And that she has, from speaking at industry events around the world to volunteering her time with associations and advisory boards through the years—over 30 at last count.
At Cisco Systems, her focus is on the global growth of the company’s strategic meetings management program, working event vendors, hotel partners and internal departments, as well as overseeing the company’s meeting planning teams around the world. She also leads Cisco’s Corporate Speakers Bureau, which places Cisco executives in thought leadership speaking roles.
What’s most striking to Pund about how the meetings industry has evolved since her start as an event planner at Tandem and Compaq many years ago is that events are no longer just a moment in time.
“What we do is no longer about a single event. The industry is so much more vibrant and sophisticated now. Technology has changed the delivery and duration of events today. They are a business discipline involving marketing and branding and the goal is to help grow and develop the business—to affect your company’s bottom line.”