Meetings Canada


Where Do Retired Meeting Planners Go?

By Sandy Biback, CMP, CMM
Imagination+ Meeting Planners Inc.

Sandy Biback, CMM, CMP

Recently, I saw the movie Quartet, directed by Dustin Hoffman and starring, among others, Maggie Smith.

The story depicts what takes place at a retirement home for performers who had been involved in opera, and a concert they are planning. I won’t give away any more than that.

Allow me some self-indulgence here. Here’s what I got out of the story:

• We are all going to grow old (who wants the alternative?)

• Many will do so gracefully, some not so gracefully

• Love can be found at any age

• If you have a gift, continue to use it, no matter if you can’t reach the high notes any longer

• Respect yourself and be kind to yourself as you age

So, here’s the twist. How many in our industry right now are thinking of retiring or semi-retiring in the very near future? I raise my hand. Many that know me personally know that my current goal is to just teach and do the odd consulting job. I want to continue to age gracefully – and certainly can’t be schlepping boxes any longer!

I’m fortunate that I have a gift: I’m good at designing, planning and implementing meetings/conferences, a profession I’ve honed over the last 30 years by continuing to learn. I’m also pretty good in the classroom and spend a lot of time mentoring.

So my goal is to continue to use my gifts and not worry about reaching the high notes any longer. I no longer need to be implementing four-day conferences that keep me on edge. I can use my gifts to mentor the future professionals in our industry.

I have another gift: I’m not a bad writer and photographer. Perhaps I need to spend more time honing those gifts.

What are your gifts? And how are you using them to help you into semi-retirement, or at least working less stressfully as you age? Do you have a plan in mind?

I didn’t until recently, and quite frankly, that’s too late to put a plan in place, since the next part of your journey is actually happening. Hmmm, I never had a business plan where I decided to open my own company, either!

Would it not be fun to open a home for retired meeting and event planners? My dear friend and colleague Gale Gingrich suggested this several years ago.

I’m beginning to think she really has something here. Imagine the fun we could have. Imagine the events we could plan. Imagine, most importantly, how we could support each other, as we use our gifts that perhaps ‘don’t hit the high notes any longer.’

Of course, we’d hire all the right people to make it comfortable for us – think spa services, chef, drivers, etc. Any backers?

Thanks for allowing my self-indulgence this month. Now go see Quartet and see where your journey to semi-retirement takes you.


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