SDSU Meeting and Event Planning Program Graduate Now an Industry Veteran and Instructor

Elisa Trotter

Elisa Trotter

Upon graduation from college, Elisa Trotter evaluated what she was good at and what she enjoyed doing. “I realized I was very organized, I loved pre-planning, and I liked being a part of something bigger than me,” she says. “I thought I wanted to be a wedding planner so I started looking into classes about wedding planning and found the Meeting and Event Planning certificate program at SDSU. I took the course, met some amazing mentors, and started in a career that I am genuinely passionate about.”

That was nearly 18 years ago. Today, she’s a veteran of the hospitality and event industry, and an instructor in SDSU’s Professional Certificate in Meeting and Event Planning program. “I have benefitted from the relationships I made in the program, both professionally and personally. I’m looking forward to giving back to the industry that has given me so much,” says Trotter, who teaches Financial Management of Meetings and Events and Technology Tools. She answered a few questions about her career and her courses.

Please give us a brief overview of your career.
I’m an implementation consultant for CVENT, which specializes in online event management software. We partner with organizations to implement best-in-class business practices for enterprise clients. Prior to that, I led the events department at a local Fortune 500 company for six years. My experience also includes venue management, food-service/catering, tradeshows and marketing, and third-party planning. I earned my Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 2009, and the Certification in Meetings Management (CMM) designation in 2011. I’m also a member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI).

What’s a key takeaway from your course — Financial Management of Meetings and Events?
One of the key takeaways is how important budgeting is for an event. It’s important for all professionals to look at the return on investment (ROI) for their events so they can justify the event in the future or make strategic decisions to do the event(s) differently.

What kind of activities/homework can students expect?
Students will be able to know what it’s like to design a budget system from scratch. This includes understanding how to categorize and sub-categories budget items.

What’s a key takeaway from your Technology Tools course?
The key takeaway is that technology is able to help organizations streamline operational processes, create operational efficiencies, and provide valuable reporting capabilities. We explore real-life use cases and look at real-time data. Students will get a hands-on experience utilizing the Cvent platform.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I love being able to share my experiences with those who are newer in the industry and hear about the experiences that those who are seasoned in the industry have to share.

What advice/encouragement do you have for anyone wanting to enter the meeting and event planning industry?
Take some time and find out what you are passionate about, what your gifts are, and find a career that enables you to do you. The hospitality industry has so many opportunities, you can find your passion in any vertical.

Learn more about SDSU’s Meeting and Event Planning program at neverstoplearning.net/meeting.