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Kathy Grau

By Kathy Grau | Sep 16, 2020

My first job (26 years ago) was as a marketing coordinator. I worked for a medical device company and arranged their participation in trade shows. I didn’t know anything about meeting panning but as soon as I started working in the industry, I knew I found my lifelong career.

I have always been uncomfortable speaking in public. I made it a goal of mine a few years ago to start being part of our industry as a speaker and/or moderator. I am still nervous every time I speak at a conference, but I really enjoy doing it and being able to share my experiences with others.

I would like to continue my MPI leadership role by becoming part of MPI’s International Board of Directors.

I started my own consulting business in September 2019 and, like everyone impacted by the pandemic, I am looking to adapt to the continuing changes in our industry. My workload has slowed down, but this has given me an opportunity to look at updating some of my forms and working on projects that have been on the back burner.

I have updated my RFP to include questions about how the hotel and staff are cleaning, preparing and interacting with attendees. I created a consent form that attendees need to agree to before participating in live events. Of course, there will be lots of changes to room setups, the registration process, meals, etc. I expect there to be a slow return to live events. Some people will be uncomfortable traveling or being in large groups. Other people may still have work-related travel restrictions.

This is a rewarding but stressful career. Trying to find the time for work, my family and me is always a struggle. As I get older, I get better, but during busy times, it is almost impossible to juggle it all.

I have a new appreciation for hospitality professionals. There is so much that happens behind the scenes that you do not know about until you become part of this industry.

I have met some great people, built my network and made lifelong friends in this industry. I love sharing lessons learned and best practices.

My previous manager, Meredith, helped me grow from a tactical person to a strategic person.  She was always in my corner and allowed me to grow and develop in my career.  

I didn’t even know about MPI when one of my suppliers suggested I attend a meeting. I joined shortly after attending the meeting and it was one of the best things I did in the beginning of my career. I met so many great people and learned so much. Being part of MPI as a member, volunteer, committee member and, most recently, part of the chapter board has helped me to build on my leadership skills and give back to the industry.

Outside of the industry, I’m passionate about my family, gardening and travel.



Kathy Grau

Kathy Grau is chief strategist of Grau Consulting LLC and a member of the MPI New Jersey Chapter.