This month’s “Member Spotlight” is a seasoned meetings and event planner from Pittsburgh, Celeste Long, CMP. This Steelers fan not only loves the game, but has a passion for the industry and antiques. Currently in a career transition, please take a moment to learn more about her.
Phone: (714) 882-9021
MPIOC: Tell us a little about yourself and how long have you been a member with MPIOC
CL: I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA and have been a corporate meeting/event planner for 25 years. I moved to California in 2010 and joined MPIOC that same year. And yes, I’m a Steelers fan!
MPIOC: What are some of your hobbies or interests?
CL: I enjoy reading, antiquing, exercising, dancing, shopping, meeting new people and hanging out with my “gal pals” every once in a while. I love classic cars and Halloween!
MPIOC: What prompted you to join MPI?
CL: I joined MPI in 1994 and I was a member of the Pittsburgh Chapter. MPI is a great resource for networking, continuing education and career opportunities.
MPIOC: What are your biggest challenges in planning events these days and what advice can you share to overcoming these challenges that you have learned?
CL: I feel that customer service is sometimes lacking in our industry. Lack of (or untimely) returned phone calls or e-mails, cleanliness at a venue, unwillingness to negotiate and poor service during the event are things that I have occasionally faced while planning and executing events. I feel that the planner and the supplier need to work together as a team so that the attendees’ experience is the very best that it can and should be. I use my gut instinct a lot when planning – if I cannot even get through hurdles with a venue contact before a contract is signed, I usually look for another venue.
MPIOC: Since becoming a member, what has been one of your highlights as a member or most memorable event with MPIOC?
CL: I am not, by nature, a shy person. However, I am always hesitant to go up to people and start conversations, especially when they are talking with others. At my first MPIOC meeting (I was not a member yet), Peggy Lamberton approached me, introduced herself and then started introducing me to other members. I sat at her table during the meeting and felt very “at home” – which prompted me to join MPIOC.
I really enjoyed the event that we had at [seven-degrees]. I like experiencing “out of the box” venues.
MPIOC: If you had a magic wand to have anything, what would be your dream job, outside of event or meeting planning?
CL: I would like to own a quaint antique store. It would incorporate wares made by my “crafty” friends and would include a spot for customers to rejuvenate and have yummy treats while shopping. A place where you could lose yourself for a few hours and come out feeling relaxed (and hopefully, shy a few dollars!!!!!).
MPIOC: With all your experience, what advice would you give future MPI members?
CL: My advice for future MPI members:
• Always treat people the way you would like to be treated.
• Knowledge is power.
• It is what it is.
MPIOC: Why do you “Buy MPI”?
CL: I think MPI is an invaluable tool in anyone’s career. It is so important to know other people in our industry and to utilize all the resources that MPI has to offer. It doesn’t matter what “chapter” you belong to – we are all one big team. There are people that I met when I was a member of the MPI Pittsburgh Chapter years ago that I am personal friends with today. And, when planning an event, I love hearing about other planner experiences and what suppliers/vendors have to offer and applying that knowledge so that I can enhance the WOW factor for my attendees.
MPIOC: What services do you provide?
CL: I am a seasoned meeting/event planner and am currently seeking a new opportunity. Some of my key competencies (creativity, self-motivation, organization with a special emphasis on customer service and superior work ethic, to name a few) can be utilized in different genres in the employment arena. I enjoy meeting/event planning as well as working with & meeting diverse groups of people, including senior & executive management. Please visit my LinkedIn profile for more insight and I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (714) 882-9021.