Kay has always been able to see things from multiple perspectives, a skill that is invaluable when planning large-scale meetings with attendees from a variety of different backgrounds. Kay has been with AMC for more than 20 years and has been in the meeting planning field for more than 30 years. Her wide-ranging experience in meeting logistics—both domestic and abroad—and involvement on the boards of Meeting Professionals International (MPI; as president of the Chicago Area Chapter) and the Association Forum of Chicagoland has made her a leader in the meeting planning profession. Kay believes her team has set the standard for great meeting planning because the elements don't change based on the size or type of meeting.
Kay won the Meeting Planner of the Year award from MPI Chicago Area Chapter twice and has been inducted into the chapter's Hall of Fame. As a result of her volunteerism and involvement in professional organizations, she is able to understand board members' perspectives and roles within an association, as well as how staff members interact and team with association boards. She recently received the 2015-2016 John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award from the Association Forum of Chicagoland for many years of service to the organization.
She may have had early aspirations to work within the zoology field, but her stint as an office manager for an accrediting agency gave her that first taste of multitasking and organization—tools that she has found to be critical when planning meetings for several thousand people. She advanced into a career focused on meeting planning and never looked back. Her time as director of meetings has yielded a staff with great capabilities and long tenure, which makes up a great team. Kay has been able to find excellent young talent and given them opportunities to learn the many aspects of planning a successful meeting. The longevity of her staff is one Kay's greatest successes at AMC.
Not only does Kay have experience within the meeting planning field, she served as executive director of the Chicago Advertising Federation (CAF) for 14 years. When CAF came to AMC, she helped them grow from a small individual-member organization to a well-structured and growing company-membership organization that hosted numerous successful educational and networking events annually.
Kay says that one of the most memorable meetings she planned was a high-profile luncheon for John F. Kennedy, Jr., that included dignitaries and a large number of members of the press. She admits the event was stressful, but also quite fun. "To meet and plan an event for someone like him," she says, "was truly amazing."