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Sen. Campbell's Women's Conference

September 04, 1988

Daniel M. Weintraub's article on Sen. Campbell's Women's Conference (Aug. 30) does a monstrous disservice to professional conference planners by insinuating that organizing a conference isn't real work deserving of real pay.

He describes the conference as having $564,422 in expenses. "Of that amount," he writes, "$165,000 went in 'consulting fees' to West Coast Seminars, a firm owned by (Karen) Smith and (Sen. Campbell's wife) Margene Campbell."

The quotation marks around the words consulting fees give the connotation so-called, making a kind of cheap joke about the profession of conference management.

As an independent meeting planner, I can tell you that many consultants working a meeting as large as this particular conference, which has hundreds of speakers and over 10,000 attendees, would charge $1,000 per day for the complicated and detailed services rendered.

Whether the conference itself is of value to women is an entirely separate matter.

To say that Sen. Campbell's wife did not actually do any work is a serious charge. As this article is written, however, the message I get is not that she didn't do the work, but rather that meeting consultants are not deserving of consulting fees.

To expect anyone to contribute the time and expertise required to put on a meeting like this on a volunteer basis is naive indeed. And to assume that the senator's wife is an airhead unable to earn a living without help from him is to do all of us an injustice.

PEG MORELL

Cypress

Peg Morell is immediate past president of the Orange County Chapter of Meeting Planners International.

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