Submitted by: Susan Herrington, CAE, CMP, American Cancer Society
A Very Rewarding Career!
My name is Susan Herrington. I am a 40-year veteran in the meetings and travel industry. I started working for Bell and Howell Company in 1979 planning sales meetings. At that time there was not an official meeting professional job classification. From there I moved into planning sales meetings and incentive programs for Cotton States Insurance. During those five years, meeting professional organizations started emerging. I remember going to my first MPI meeting in the early 80’s. It was a group of 10 – 20 people and we mostly discussed was who was hosting the next fam trip. We have come along way since then and have very robust educational opportunities in the industry and great certification programs.
Following my time at Cotton States, I went to work for Osborne Travel, which later became US Motivation. I was in sales focusing on the insurance industry incentive programs. From there I went on to manage a small travel agency for several years and I learned a great deal about that aspect of our industry. Marriage and family came along about that time and I had to regroup. Took a few months off and then re-entered doing contract work for Coca Cola Enterprise and some other small companies.
In 1989, I was hired by the American Cancer Society’s Global Headquarters in Atlanta, GA. The Society had just relocated its headquarters to Atlanta from New York in 1988. I was thrilled to have been selected to manage the Society’s Meetings and Travel operation. We were a small but mighty team focusing our energy primarily on the Society’s larger meetings. Over the years we further consolidated all meeting management for the Global Headquarters and its field offices under one umbrella and as technology emerged, we created a full-service operation for our internal clients at the Society. Our services provided comprehensive support for sourcing, contracting, meeting and attendee management as well as meeting production services. 30 years later….. we have the most amazing professionals who make up our Meetings and Travel Management team many of whom have been in the industry for decades and have served in leadership positions at PCMA. I served as PCMA’s SE Chapter President 2004. Other previous President’s from the American Cancer Society are Sharon Collins and Judy Shope. I am proud of our team’s commitment to the profession and for what they have contributed over the years.
It has been rewarding to witness our profession grow through the years and to have been involved in some way leading that effort for over 40 years. I will always be connected in some way to this work. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story.
Editor’s note: Susan Herrington, CAE, CMP served as Executive Vice President at American Cancer Society’s Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Her last day after 30 years of service was on 9/27/2019.