As if working full time as director of meetings for the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses wouldn’t fill one’s calendar, 10-year meetings and events veteran Carrie Abernathy is involved in a full slate of industry efforts that keeps her engaged to the hilt with her meetings colleagues.

Foremost of these efforts is her role as one of the five co-founders, and current leader, of Women in Events.

“The organization was formed when a group of women came together and wanted to start a safe place for women to gather, talk and find resources to help them elevate their careers,” Abernathy said. “We wanted to challenge the fact that the meetings industry is made up of over 75 percent women yet only about 3 percent hold C-suite-level positions. We wanted to be positive disruptors and challenge the way business is being done.”

The 400-plus-member organization, made up of women and men who believe in empowering them, offers education, networking opportunities and resources to find coaches and sponsors, among other benefits.

“We recently launched our Women in Events Hall of Fame to recognize women and women-supporters in the industry,” she said. “We are hoping to change the future for women in events and provide a different type of community for our members.”

And her advice for fellow planners?

“Get involved in your community and consistently challenge the way things are done,” she said. “If you are finding you are doing something because it was the way things were ‘always done,’ then take a step back and make sure there isn’t a better solution—a smarter or more innovative way to move forward. ... Try to always look at your events from all stakeholder perspectives and that will help you hone your strategic skills.”