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MPI Minnesota Profiles Planner Makenzie Cunningham

By: MPI Minnesota | May 7, 2021

MPI_21_MakenzieCunningham200MPI Minnesota profiles Planner Makenzie Cunningham, Meeting & Event Planner, Nexstar Network.

Why did you join MPI?  
I have long been interested in joining MPI, because of the amazing networking and educational opportunities. In these challenging times, where we are all physically distant, I felt a strong need to connect with other industry professionals.  

How long have you been in the meetings/hospitality industry?  
I started in the meetings/hospitality industry nine years ago. 

How did you decide to get involved in this business?  What influenced you?
My first professional job after college was in marketing & communications and 
within that role a portion of my position was assisting with meetings and events. Early on, I discovered that I had a talent for and enjoyed planning various events. During that time, I started actively seeking out a role that focused solely on event planning and that has been my focal point ever since. 

What’s the most valuable advice you’ve received about working with meetings?  
Find ways to de-stress that work for you and your schedule and be sure to utilize them. The other key piece of advice someone shared with me is that even if I am working after hours (nights & weekends)  only draft emails/responses and send them when you are within your standard working hours. If you respond at all hours, you are setting the standard that you are available at all hours. Professional boundaries lead to a more balanced life and that is important for career satisfaction and longevity.

What is one piece of advice about meeting planning you would share? 
Enjoy the ride! We spend so much time and effort planning an event and much of the time it is a whirlwind when we are onsite. Take a step back and breathe it in, recognize what you helped accomplish and enjoy it because, before you know it, it is over and you are in teardown mode! 

What is one thing about this industry that you love? 
The people! I get to meet such great people from all areas of industry and they are the most friendly, accommodating, and hardworking people I have met. In particular, this year has also shown how we persevere and how versatile our skills are. 

What is one thing about the industry would you like to see changed?  
One thing that I know the industry has been working on improving but that I would like to see change even more is making the industry more sustainable. The meeting & event industry makes a huge global impact and collectively I believe we can make a huge difference with even a little effort.

What do you do outside of work?  
I recently purchased an older home so the majority of my time is working on renovation projects. I spend a lot of time with friends & family, even if it is just virtually right now. I am continuing on my career journey and am hoping to get my CMP by next year. 

Makenzie Cunningham can be reached at


MPI Minnesota





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