When most people find a job they love, working alongside people they truly care about, they feel settled and they’re not going anywhere. For Karla Bauman, however, that means it’s time to find a new, exciting challenge.
2019 has been a transformational year for Karla: she made the difficult decision to leave her role as Director of Event Management after four years.
In May, she started a new path in her career journey, now as a Director of Strategic Account Management.
She didn’t have to say “goodbye” to the team she adored (who loved her just as much, if not more) as she’ll be working with them still, just in a different capacity.
The decision wasn’t easy by any means. However, Karla knew she needed to become uncomfortable.
“On a personal level, I knew it was time for a new challenge,” she said. “I was getting comfortable in my role—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing—but I knew it was time to branch out and try something new.”
Only a few months in, Karla understands her new role as Director of Strategic Account Management well.
She helps clients position their events for success in the present, while providing strategic guidance and solutions to help them meet their goals and objectives.
Excluding a few years “sabbatical” to stay at home with her two boys, Karla has been working tirelessly to help clients since she joined Experient in 1998.
Her vast experience and passion for creativity are the key ingredients to the success of her clients’ events.
A Day in the Life
Fun fact: Karla was the first Experient (then Conferon) employee to work virtually back in 2000, and she’s been remote ever since.
While working from the home office isn’t for everyone, it suits Karla well.
“My day is what I call ‘integrated,’” she said.
Usually out of bed by 5:30 a.m. to fuel up with coffee, she starts checking email around 6 and gets going on whatever project, activity or conference calls are scheduled for the day.
With a 15-year-old son still at home, she makes sure he’s up and eating breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and back at it around 8, until about noon.
“I take few minutes to throw a ball for my two labs—who I just love—and grab a bite to eat.”
From there, she works until around 3:30 when she signs off and gets to boxing class.
From there it’s dinner, laundry and whatever else is needed for work or home.
“Then I do it all over again the next day,” she says. “Every day is unique and I like that… one day working on future hotel contracts with our sourcing team and clients, other days troubleshooting room block challenges.”
Of course, if she’s working with a global client, there are some calls and important emails that need to be answered at odd hours, but that is one of the great things about being virtual… it’s more flexible; more integrated.
On a given day she might be working through a new service opportunity with a client or have an internal network of meetings and trainings to keep on top of what is new.
“Right now, data driven insights and business intelligence are the hot topics and I have so many ideas and strategies swimming around in my mind.”
When she’s onsite, she’s still flexible, but in a completely different way.
“I am there to do whatever the team and client need me to do,” Karla says. “I am there to support without obstructing. Our operations teams are incredible and experts in what they do so I take their lead onsite. I am there to experience the event live and ensure our clients’ needs are being met in every way.”
“Just Don’t Suck”
If Karla was a professional athlete, her stat sheet would be stuffed.
In her years at Experient, Karla has pulled off hundreds of events around the world for groups ranging in size from 300 – 80,000 attendees.
In 2013, Karla was awarded the Event Planning Team Service Award, which is the highest honor given in that department.
Most recently, she earned the 2018 Pinnacle Award, which is the highest honor given at Experient.
Still in the middle of a stellar career, her advice to new meeting and event professionals is simple.
“Just don’t suck!” she said with a humorous smile. “Treat everyone around you like you want to be treated. NEVER go to your boss with a problem or complaint without having a solution in mind.”
It’s About People
For years, while she was a director for meeting and event managers, she would constantly tell her team that each person’s career—and life—is like boating down a river: you’ll come across times in the rapids where things are challenging and uncertain, but it’s a new adventure. Embrace it.
But, she says, there will also be times when the waters are still and calm. Enjoy it while it lasts and be ready for the next round of rapids.
Even in the choppiest of waters, Karla loves what she does.
Regardless of where she’s at or what role she has, it’s always people that make it worthwhile.
“From clients, to colleagues to industry partners, I get to work with some amazing individuals,” she said. “Our industry is constantly changing and evolving. It always challenges me to be fearless and I love that. It’s not just about simply adapting but looking ahead at the meetings and events landscape and how we can best use it to our advantage.”
This is How We Meet brings to life the many important roles in the meetings and events industry through the story of someone who lives it. Is there a job you want to hear more about? Let us know.