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Meeting Planner of the Year: Meet Michelle

Recently, I was promoted from a Senior Specialist (Meeting Planner) to the Manager of the Meeting & Travel Department. My primary responsibilities include the planning and executing of high-level and/or intricate meetings as well as internal travel management for Nestlé Purina. I manage a team of three while also fueling my passion and serving on a couple advisory boards within the organization.

You were recently awarded Meeting Planner of the Year, walk us through the day you were notified of this exciting news and what it felt like?


I serve as the VP of Media and Communications for the St. Louis Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). When I was nominated for planner of the year, along with 8 other meeting planners by the St. Louis MPI chapter, I was honored and humbled, but I never thought I’d win. When my name was called as the winner, I was floored. Though I don’t suffer from Imposter Syndrome, there were some “heavy hitters” in that category, so I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be. It’s a true blessing and honor to be perceived in that manner by my industry peers.

What makes your role so unique at Nestlé Purina?


That’s a loaded question (insert smile). There is no role like that of a Meeting Planner. Imagine a 1000-piece puzzle. Shake up the box, throw it on the floor, now throw away the box, that’s my world: Daunting, confusing, sometimes stressful, strategic, and mind-boggling. That’s just one meeting—we plan and host more than 150 annually. However, when all of those puzzle pieces start to come together, there is no greater sense of gratification. When an event is done right, it’s perceived as easy. However, there are a lot of moving parts.

What’s your favorite meeting / event you have worked on to date and why?


I try to give all of my internal clients my very best, regardless of level or meeting size. However, I’m partial to the Factory Manager meetings. They are the lifeblood of the organization. If they and their teams don’t perform, I don’t eat. I’m very grateful and because of my gratitude, I try my best to “spoil” them (within budget of course)! I love designing meetings and events to “wow” them

How has Nestlé Purina supported you personally and professionally?


Personally, I’ve been celebrated by management and leadership for my philanthropic endeavors in the community. Professionally, I feel as though I’ve been able to flex my creativity and my out-of-the box thinking. I even had the opportunity to take over the Nestlé Purina Careers Instagram account for a day.

What would you tell someone who is looking to join Nestlé Purina?

I’d say remove the myth that it’s impossible to get hired here. It’s a great company with great people, a familial culture, and nice benefits. Be ready to embrace the uncomfortable and lean into your discomfort regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Take advantage of everything the organization has to offer: continuing education, DEI training/ambassador program, the nurse practitioner, Lifestyle Spending Account, massage therapist, Avis discounts, the company store, the Fitness Center, the library and the digital library, the ability to work outside on this gorgeous campus, loft discounts downtown (that’s really a thing), Dobb’s downtown discount, free parking during Cardinal games/events, personal shipping in the mailroom, and so much more.