Five Questions With a Pro: An Interview with Carol (Krug) Krugman, MEd, CMM, CMP

5 Questions with a Seasoned Global Meetings and Events Expert helping Meeting Planners Navigate International Events with Ease

Carol Krugman dedicated more than 30 years to planning global meetings and events helping shape the industry today. Krug, as many know her, was an industry expert planning meetings on every continent (with the exception of Antarctica) and racking up numerous accolades along the way. She developed multiple academic programs and wrote books for meeting planners used in colleges and universities today. She recently retired, but hasn't strayed too far from the Meetings and Event Industry, and shares her knowledge on how to not only plan successful global events, but how meeting professionals can grow their careers.

1: You recently retired as the Chair of the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events at Metropolitan State University in Denver, CO. Can you provide your top tips for people new to the industry to do/get involved in to help them grow within their career?

I like to refer to "Krug's 3 Bs":

  • Be a sponge: Learn as much as you can, wherever, whenever and from whomever you can.
  • Be fearless: Trust your instincts, take chances, fail with dignity, learn from every mistake.
  • Be a resource: Be generous with your time, your knowledge and your expertise. You will always know something or have a skill that someone else does not, even when you are brand new in the industry. Share graciously.

2: What are the Top 3 pitfalls planners need to watch out for when it comes to planning international meetings?

Some of the more common pitfalls are:

  • Assuming that planning meetings overseas is the same as it is here in the U.S. Underestimating the challenges of working in a country where the language, culture, currency, business practices and logistical operations are very different.
  • Not working with a network of reliable local support partners, especially a good destination management company (DMC).
  • Not obtaining expert assistance in specialty areas, such as currency exchange, tax refunds, technology needs, legal issues, etc.

3: How many languages do you speak? Did that give you a leg up over other international event planners?

I speak four and a half. I’m fluent in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese with a working knowledge of Italian – enough to get in and out of trouble.

The ability to speak one foreign language is a valued skill, so my multilingual proficiency has been a distinct advantage throughout my entire career. The ability to communicate (and be charming) in French, Spanish and basic Italian was especially useful in Europe. Spanish was invaluable throughout Latin America, obviously. Portuguese was the unexpected bonus, as it provided a unique ability to work successfully in Brazil. When I started my own meeting management company in 1990, most other U.S.-based planners either would not, or could not, cope with Latin America. The political and economic instability, along with the existing cultural and language challenges, intimidated most of my professional colleagues – even those who worked regularly in Europe. My foreign language skills and extensive network of outstanding local support partners were a distinct competitive advantage. My entire career would have been different had I not had a good ear for languages and the ability to adapt to other cultures.

4: In your book, Global Meetings and Exhibitions, you acknowledge several people who helped you along your career. As you traveled the world, how did you stay connected to people you met over your career?

In the previous millennium, being continuously active in our industry professional associations and attending conferences and trade shows regularly was my ongoing source of connection. Attending an MPI WEC, PCMA Convening Leaders or IMEX was as much a family reunion as a professional education activity. Now I can keep up with all my peeps on Facebook or LinkedIn.

5: What was your favorite part about the meetings and event management industry?

  • Meeting and working with so many extraordinary people all over the world, many of whom became and remain close personal friends.
  • The continuous challenge to “make it happen,” no matter what the circumstances, and the finite nature of the results – you know right away whether you nailed it or blew it.
  • Nothing is routine. Every experience is a unique and ongoing opportunity to learn, teach and/or accomplish something new. In over 30+ years in this business, I have never been bored.