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2021 Connect Corporate 15 Over 50: Margaret Launzel-Pennes

Launzel-Pennes is the CEO of POP Experiential.

Margaret Launzel Pennes

Margaret Launzel-Pennes

CEO, POP Experiential
Based in: 
Los Angeles

How I got here: I am a second-generation events professional. My dad produced large trade shows and conventions, and I was on a show floor as a kid riding on the back of a golf cart from the time I was 5 years old. I guess it was in my blood. After college, every job I took I gravitated toward what the company was doing with events. I realized that there was nothing else I’d rather do, and I have been lucky to have built a lucrative career while loving every single day of work.

Greatest career accomplishment: I had been playing with the idea of opening a creative experiential agency for a very long time but was a bit apprehensive. When [my previous company] Extraordinary Events closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, I had no choice. We had some clients that needed to host events in some way, and I’d had a lot of virtual event experience so the learning curve wasn’t that daunting to me. We hired some talented and bright in-person event professionals and taught them how to deliver a flawless virtual experience. These are people who might have found themselves out of work for a long period of time. I’d like to think that my greatest career accomplishment is providing gratifying and consistent work for these people—and also giving them something incredible to add to their own career portfolios.

A specific improvement I’ve made: A commitment to sharing knowledge and experience. I have been fortunate to have provided opportunities to people who now have stellar careers in this industry. There are two interns I hired while I was at Herbalife over 10 years ago who are still there and doing amazing and complex jobs. Someone I brought into my team as a corporate events director is now in a C-level position at a very prestigious organization. I like to think that I had something to do with that—that I gave them wings.

What I do outside of work: I spend as much time as I can with my two grandkids, Eden and Isaac. Their curiosity and energy is captivating and I don’t know what I ever did without them!

What I'd tell my younger self: ‘Always hire people smarter than you are.’