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2019 15 Over 50: Betsy Bondurant, CMM

Betsy Bondurant, CMM, works in Coronado, California, as president of Bondurant Consulting. As a 2019 15 Over 50 honoree, Bondurant discusses her passion for the events industry.

What I do: My main service is providing independent and unbiased strategic meetings management support to organizations who are just starting, expanding or optimizing their SMM program. I do additional work in the meetings space, such as developing educational programing for conferences, conducting meeting department organizational assessments and providing training on how to effectively market and operate medical meetings. How I got here: I got hooked working in restaurants for several years, then decided to go after a degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, ultimately graduating with a B.S. in hotel administration in 1988. I started off in hotel sales. After a few years, I moved into meeting and trade show management in 1992 at the world’s largest biotech company. In 1999, we began developing a pioneering strategic meetings management program. By serendipity, I transitioned into SMM consulting in 2007, which I have been doing successfully for the past 11 years. Greatest career accomplishment: We had planned to go to Las Vegas in mid-September 2011 for a company product launch meeting. After 9/11, senior leadership did not want to make staff travel so far from family, so over a short 10 days, we retooled to have the meetings held in nine cities across the country, with simultaneous satellite feed from our Southern California headquarters. It was successful, and very much appreciated by everyone who was able to stay close to home in those fragile days post 9/11. (We lost one of our employees in the Pentagon crash.) Impressive stats: In my corporate position, I managed an annual average spend of $150 million with 21 percent savings. Specific improvement I’ve made: In the late 90’s I recommended to my senior leadership that we centralize meetings at the company, which we did successfully. Additionally, in 2001, I advocated to deploy one of the first meetings technology tools to support our program. What I am working on now: I love to teach, so I’m going back to my healthcare roots to conduct training for venues, planners and DMOs who are trying to sell and manage healthcare meetings more effectively.  What I do outside of work: I’m currently on the Global Business Travel Association meetings committee and MPI MD Advisory Council. I have been chairwoman of our local Make-A-Wish fundraiser for the San Diego Chapter the past four years, where we have raised more than $250,000 to grant wishes for critically ill children.
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