Investors Group Financial Services
In her 20-plus years in the meetings industry, Angie Pfeifer, CMM, has a tremendous track record of creativity and forward thinking.
Currently assistant vice-president, corporate meetings, travel and incentives, Investors Group Financial Services, Angie demonstrated resourcefulness in the early 1990s, shortly after being named leader of Investors’ meetings department. At that time, she developed processes and systems for the department, including identifying a budget template and process.
But there were bigger things to come. In 1999, as part of her Certification in Meeting Management (CMM) case study, Angie developed a business plan for the department as part of the course requirement. The plan included identifying roles and responsibilities for meeting planners and a career path, centralizing meetings organizationally, consolidating meeting and corporate travel (business/individual) and identifying sourcing and contract negotiation as a skill set and requirement.
As part of the case study, Angie presented to senior brass, who approved the plan, resulting in two new hires: one from the hotel industry, to manage sourcing, and one from the travel industry, to manage the corporate-travel program.
Moreover, Angie involves herself in the wider industry. She was a member of the MPI Corporate Circle of Excellence and then a co-chair. For seven years, she participated on the MPI board of directors and executive committee, ending as MPI chairwoman for 2007/2008, only the fourth Canadian to do so.
Today, she sits on client advisory boards in Canada and the U.S. and on the MPI Foundation Global Board of Trustees, giving back to the industry and sharing her experience and knowledge with a broader group.
Q: Value. What do you bring to the table?
A: Having access to senior management, who share our corporate goals and objectives…has allowed me to have strong knowledge of our corporate focus. That knowledge, combined with my understanding of our sales force based on the relationships I have been able to develop over the years and my efforts to stay informed on industry updates and trends, has resulted in our team delivering strategic meetings and events that directly affect the bottom line.
I am able to contribute to the strategy discussions in a meaningful way that will help drive the necessary change or results required. Years of investing my time to know our company and our industry have resulted in meetings and events being a key part of our culture.
Q: Technology. Do you control it or does it control you?
A: Technology is a tool, not a strategy, but also a key part of business today and growing in importance. As the demographics shift in the workforce and the next generations engage differently than those today, we need to understand how we can engage all generations in a meaningful and valuable experience. We need to be aware of the trends around technology and understand what it can do for us.
In 2011, we developed and implemented our first hybrid meeting. This was a significant undertaking, with a steep learning curve, not only for our team, but organizationally. It was a risk, recommending something that I really didn’t know much about. It was out of my comfort zone, but I felt it was right for Investors Group.
This was an initiative that gained interest by many through Investors Group, to see how this would evolve and how ready we were organizationally for this new frontier. We were successful, able to measure against our defined objectives and moved the needle slightly towards understanding how technology and social media can play a role in our future meetings and events.
The Industry Planner Award recognizes Canada’s top meeting or incentive-travel planner, someone who represents everything professionals should be. The list of criteria includes at least five years of industry experience; client satisfaction; business acumen; and mentorship.