The Cato Institute, a non-profit public policy research foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C., is seeking a Conference Planner to plan and manage operations and administrative responsibilities for both in-house and off-site meetings and ensure the quality of the events align with the standards of the organization. The Conference Planner accepts assignments on an as needed basis as well as manages some regularly scheduled events.
This position is the lead planner for Cato’s Sphere Summit summer event featuring 200+ attendees for a multi-day, high-profile, on-site event, as well as for 15+ meetings, multi-day conferences and special events throughout the year.
- Draft each event’s timeline, complete tasks on time and monitor the progress of tasks assigned to other colleagues.
- Draft each event’s budget, closely monitor and document expenses and recommend adjustments as necessary throughout the planning process to ensure event effectiveness while remaining within budget.
- Create and submit specifications for logistics to applicable vendors (including but not limited to hotels, caterers, av suppliers, DMCs, shipping vendors, printers, etc.) and ensure accurate conversion of event details into the vendor’s documents and forms. Serve as the primary contact for vendors, building and maintaining relationships to achieve optimal results.
- Some events may have a hybrid component. Understanding how to manage the virtual attendee experience is helpful as well as a working knowledge in communicating technical aspects of hybrid presentation needs to hotel audio visual.
- Execute onsite implementation of logistics.
- Provide industry and meeting planner experience-based insight to policy staff regarding the implementation of newly formed events.
- Coordinate staff, speaker and VIP travel arrangements for assigned meetings. Manage attendee housing needs and be the point of contact for attendees in sharing continuous event updates.
- Oversee registration aspects of assigned events and ensure accuracy of data. Compile registration reports and distribute on an alternate days basis and maintain reports to track post event data for registration, catering, housing and other data sets as needed.
- Compile and collect printed materials (including but not limited to badges, rosters, signage, publications, marketing materials, etc.) and ensure its accuracy.
- Negotiate vendor contracts for the internal approval process.
- Provide assistance on additional Cato events when needed.
- A Bachelor’s degree with 3-5 years of meeting planning experience and proven work history of managing multiple events at one time.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills.
- Understanding of social media in event settings.
- Capable of effectively working in a fast-paced environment and meets deadlines; manages time without constant supervision.
- Exceptional attention to detail, quality and accuracy.
- Strong customer service mentality with a positive “can-do” attitude.
- Positive and professional demeanor at all times while working with staff, vendors, and attendees.
- Ability to problem solve, manage crisis situations effectively and maintain a professional composure while working under pressure.
- Proactive and stays informed regarding upcoming tasks; easily adapts if project changes scope.
- Position requires 25% of travel throughout the year and may increase.
- Knowledge of EMS and Swoogo is a plus.
Location/Region: Washington, DC (20001)